MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler has been appointed coach of A-League club Brisbane Roar, taking his first serious management role in the Australian top flight where he enjoyed a two-year stint as a player.
Fowler, who was briefly player-coach of Thai side Muangthong United before retiring in 2012, would take over the struggling Roar from the 2019/20 season on a two-year deal, the club said.
“I’m really looking forward to the challenge and am determined to bring success to a club that has such a proud history in the Hyundai A-League,” Fowler said in a team release on Tuesday.
“I’m really keen to get started and make a difference.
“My family and I have already experienced living in Queensland, so I’m really happy to be returning and being part of the Brisbane Roar family.”
Capped 26 times by England, Fowler skippered North Queensland Fury in 2009/10 before the Townsville-based team collapsed under debts, then transferred to A-League rivals Perth Glory the following season.
He proved a popular drawcard in Australia and was top scorer at both clubs before heading to Thailand.
The 44-year-old faces a big challenge to rebuild the once-mighty Roar, who have endured a miserable season and are ninth in the 10-team league with only four wins from 26 games.
Former boss John Aloisi resigned from the three-times A-League champions in December and caretaker Darren Davies has proved powerless to lift a team who suffered a 6-1 humiliation at home against the Newcastle Jets last weekend.
Fowler will attend the Roar’s season-ending game against Adelaide United at their Lang Park home on Thursday.
The Roar said they had undertaken an “extensive, detailed and robust appointment process” before settling on Fowler, who has coached at the Liverpool academy but boasts little senior management experience.
“(Brisbane) is confident that we have appointed an outstanding person and someone who is hungry to succeed,” Roar CEO David Pourre said.
(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)