A few months ago East Bengal made the headlines after a last-moment entry into the Indian Super League (ISL). The expectations of the fans skyrocketed when Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler took charge of the 100-year-old club in their debut ISL season.
Fowler had a roller-coaster ride with East Bengal and finished 9th with only 17 points from 20 matches. East Bengal had a leaky defence as well as struggled to create chances. Their first win of the season came in the 8th match against Odisha FC.
What is more surprising is that Fowler being the man in charge of the team always refused to take accountability for the losses. He instead found faults in the players, referees, or the limited time for preparation before the start of the season.
Robbie Fowler’ controversies filled season:
After a nightmare start to the season, Fowler saw himself tangled in controversies.
“We will coach the players because in all fairness few of them have probably never been coached before and that is what we are doing. We will try and make our Indian players better and that takes good coaching and I don’t think they had that in the years gone by,” – Fowler stated following East Bengal’s 3-0 defeat against Mumbai City. This comment sent the Indian football fans into a frenzy.
Fowler has openly criticized the quality of refereeing in ISL on several occasions. He even received a four-match ban and Rs 5 lakh fine for supposedly abusing the ISL referees. Although it is true that the referees were unfair to the Red and Gold brigade in some instances but Fowler putting up that as an excuse for losing matches could be entertained for long.
I’ve been relatively happy in terms of the way we performed. Again, it’s our expectation levels – I don’t know why they were as high as they were because if you look at the last 10-15 years in the I-League, the club hasn’t won the league.” – Robbie Fowler told ISL
The Englishman’s constant complaining on how the Indian players are not well trained and referring to East Bengal as “a team that was built for the I-League” has made the Liverpool legend not only lose the dressing room but also the fans.
With the lack of substantial managerial experience and a crybaby attitude, it won’t be a surprise to see the Liverpool legend’s East Bengal stint cut short.
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“It’s a fantastic club and everything is in place for whoever goes to be successful. It’s a good job to inherit, we all know how good the chairman is” – Fowler on his own podcast.
The East Bengal coach has 1 year left on his contract and seems to be already looking for backup options. How long will his stay be in India is something only time will tell.
The Kolkata giants don’t deserve to be languishing at the bottom of the table with only 3 wins in 20 matches. Even though one can argue over the preparedness of the team due to its late entry into ISL, Fowler is very much accountable for the below-expectation performance of the club which just celebrated their 100 years of existence. Although early, looks like it is time for a reset in the managerial department.