Why Robbie Fowler isn’t the coach Brisbane need

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The merry-go-round of speculation surrounding Brisbane Roar’s coaching situation appears to slowly be coming to a stop.

And where it looks to (maybe) be ending – with Robbie Fowler – is something few could have seen coming just months ago.

There’s no doubting Fowler’s pedigree as a player – he’s one of the greatest strikers the Premier League’s ever seen.

But as a coach? It’s nearly a complete unknown.

Fowler has experience in academy roles in England with both Bury and Liverpool.

His only other coaching experience came in a brief stint with Thai Premier League side Muangthong United as a player/manager.

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While his time coaching in England looks nice on paper, the role and workload of an academy coach is vastly different to that of a head coach – so much so that it hardly bears comparison when discussing Fowler’s viability for Brisbane.

He does, however, bring his household name.

One of the few ways appointing Fowler can be construed positively is the leverage he could potentially bring in attracting marquee signings to the club.

In a climate where interest in the A-League is appearing to decline, the publicity a name like Fowler’s could bring to both the club and league is also appealing.

Any such hype is only temporary though – the publicity sugar-hit Fowler could bring is not a substitute for actually addressing the issues which have put the league into decline.

Whether he fits into Brisbane’s timeline as they return to being competitive is another legitimate question.

It makes sense if the Roar look to build internally – continuing to promote young talent like break-out star Dylan Wenzel-Halls – as well as adding high-upside free agents who can form a competitive team once given time to develop.

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In a situation such as this, where winning immediately isn’t a prerogative, rolling the dice on someone like Fowler makes some sense (although rolling the dice on a young NPL-based coach makes easily as much sense).

If Fowler flops, ‘oh well’, the publicity boost is nice, and the Roar can move on to a more established coach with proven success.

If he succeeds, the Roar look like geniuses.

This is assuming Brisbane (one of the A-League’s perennial achievers) are happy to risk write off yet another A-League season experimenting with Fowler.

Given the league’s propensity for quick rebuilds (due to high squad turnover and the heavy impact marquees can have) it seems unlikely Brisbane would be willing to accept a year of potentially losing for Fowler’s sake.

This is especially apparent with Marco Kurz – a coach with mixed success in the A-League which the club has been linked with previously – becoming available after this season.

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I’m by no means Kurz’s biggest fan, but he’s a much safer option than Fowler if Brisbane are looking to become immediately competitive next season.

This is all still speculation – Brisbane have no need, and are unlikely, to announce their new coach until this A-League season is over.

Whoever it may be, I think the risk posed in signing the coaching unknown which is Robbie Fowler would, more likely than not, end in tears for the Roar.

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Ben Paynter
Loves Brisbane. Loves a pint. Loves a 'Kevin Muscat Bad Tackle' YouTube compilation.