ISL 2020-21: Can Robbie Fowler make a mark with East Bengal?

It will be interesting to see how well Robbie Fowler manages his squad as SC East Bengal embark on a new journey in the ISL…

East Bengal made a last-minute dash into the Indian Super League (ISL) this season after Shree Cement limited picked up the majority stakes in the club. 

However, being the newest entrants in the league, the club and their new management did not have much time to assemble their squad but it must be said that they have done a decent job so far.

The process started with the hiring of a high-profile coach in Liverpool Robbie Fowler. The former England international’s arrival was a signal of intent, given his high stature. Fowler brought in a big team of backroom staff including a set-piece coach in former Blackpool manager Terence McPhillips something which Indian football had never witnessed before.

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Robbie Fowler and backroom staff

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While Fowler did not have much say in the selection of most of the Indian players as they were recruited much before even the investors came on board, the foreign contingent has been assembled as per his wishes.

The Englishman brought in players who had the experience of playing in England for a very long time. The recruitment of former Norwich City winger Anthony Pilkington, former Southampton defender Danny Fox and ex Birmingham City midfielder Jacques Maghoma have been the notable additions to the Red and Golds squad.

The Indian brigade has a few big names like Jeje Lalpkehlua, Balwant Singh and Eugeneson Lyngdoh who have not been at their best recently. Jeje, however, has been out of action for the last one and a half years because of an injury. 

East Bengal

Fowler’s last assignment was with A-League side Brisbane Roar last season. Roar were a struggling side before the Liverpool star came on board and had finished second from the last on the league table during the 2018-19 season.

The English coach brought in wholesome changes in their roster and turned Brisbane Roar one of the top sides in Australia last year. They finished fourth in the league and made it to the play-offs.

Robbie Fowler, Tony Grant

While it could be said that he lacks extensive managerial experience, his recent track record is extremely good and the Kolkata giants will hope he comes good. With his colossal stature and reputation as a legendary footballer, Fowler is expected to command respect from the squad. 

East Bengal’s success this season will depend on Robbie Fowler’s man-management skills which will be put to test.

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