It was surprising to read on the World Game website that Perth Glory boss Tony Sage is looking to offer Marquee man Robbie Fowler another year’s contract. Despite Fowler’s seven goals in 15 starts, it is clear that his best years are well and truly behind him.
There is no room for sentiment in football, when a player’s time is up, as a business and as a team moving forward you have to accept that and bring in a replacement. This is even more appropriate in the A league where the clubs are limited by the number of players they can have in their squads.
Fowler has been a huge success from a marketing perspective, with we are told memberships to the Perth Glory at an all time high. The question is will those members who bought memberships on the back of Fowler signing be back next year? Many who know the game are unlikely to sign up again and we believe the club would being doing well to keep fifty percent.
The coaching staff has tried to accommodate an ageing star. They have tried playing him in the hole behind a front two, but he no longer has the legs to play that role as effectively as required and leaves them a man short in midfield when the ball is lost in the final third. He is no longer quick enough to play on the last man, the pace that used to get him in front of a defender is no longer there, and in such a role Branko Jelic is a better option.
There is no doubt that Fowler’s vision is still outstanding, so too is his awareness, and he still knows where the goal is, but as has been evident this season, it takes more than a couple of magical passes or touches in ninety minutes to win a game.
As stated before we have been baffled that he has played ninety minutes on so many occasions this season, and question whether this really is utilizing him in the best way.
Should the club sign him for another season, we believe it will be a mistake, despite his goals this season. However there are still a few games to go, and if he can show that he can close down defenders and restrict the opposition from playing out from the back and assist his team mates defensively a little more, while still finding the back of the net, then maybe it might be worth considering, but it would be a very brave move.
Sadly it is time to say “Thank you for the job you have done and we appreciate it, but the coach feels he wants another type of player.” Let us not forget that the coach decides the players he wants, not the owner, CEO or anyone else at the club. If administrative people start choosing and signing players then the club is doomed.