Robbie Fowler – East Bengal have the best fans in Indian football

The new East Bengal boss is excited about the squad he is buidling…

East Bengal head coach Robbie Fowler is hoping to find the right balance of foreign and local talent in his squad for the seventh of Indian Super League (ISL) which is all set to begin on November 20, 2020. 

The Liverpool legend, who considers East Bengal fans as the best set of supporters in Indian football, stressed on the importance of developing Indian players in addition to making use of the skillset of the foreign contingent that that club has brought in this summer. 

The Red and Golds have brought in six foreign players and the former Liverpool legend also hinted at the signing of one more foreigner. The coaching staff and players are currently in quarantine in a hotel in Goa and are expected to start training next week. 

In an online interaction with SC East Bengal’s Instagram handle, Fowler said, “​(The pandemic) has been tough but to try and get a lot of people happy again and to play football, this (quarantine and bio-bubble) is a little bit of sacrifice that we all do. That is the big pitch here, we want people to try and enjoy a little bit of normality and enjoy football. It is something that we want to do so that we can get to that training pitch.”

When quizzed about his decision to come to India and sign for the Kolkata-based club, Fowler responded, “Why SC East Bengal? My answer is why not? You look at the history of the club, the trophies, probably the best fans in Indian football. I know the history, I know how passionate the fans are. It is a challenge, and it is one that is accepted.”

East Bengal recently made the switch from I-League to ISL and Fowler has reminded that the team will its Indian players to perform.   “You are not going to get perfection straightaway. You need to keep progressing the local players. As much as we have had foreign players and managers come into the ISL, there is a lot of Indian talents as well.

“We will look to develop a competitive team and try and develop Indian talent as well. We all hope the league can get better, the ISL and as management, we think we can better.”

The former Brisbane Roar manager also shared his thoughts on the club’s foreign signings so far. 

“The players who we have brought in are exceptional. We have got plans to bring one more player, everyone will find out pretty soon. There is something for everyone to look forward to. We want to enjoy football. We want the fans to enjoy what we do, that means we have brought in very very good players. 

“When building a team, it is about getting the spine of the team right. Scott Neville and Danny Fox are both excellent players. Anthony Pilkington and Jacob Maghoma in midfield are both strong and competitive players, technically very good. We wanted to build a competitive team and players who are comfortable getting the ball when there are players around. We never just signed because of the good names, all these players are good players. 

“Matt Steinman is an excellent player, for me, he was one of the standout players in the A-League. He can control a lot of areas on the pitch, particularly that midfield. He is a player, in all honesty, I would have loved to take to my last club. 

“I wish I had some of the attributes Aron Holloway has as a player. I think with us bringing him here, he will hopefully show us the belief that we have in him. I think we have a real player (in our hands).”


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