EAST BENGAL HAVE APPOINTED former England international and Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler as their new head coach.
While the club's new investors, led by Hari Mohan Bangur of Shree Cement, considered and interviewed multiple prospective coaches for their inaugural ISL stint, Fowler was the prohibitive favourite from the start. And in the end, he won the coveted position to helm the Red and Golds.
Fowler, who during his playing career spent 9 years at the Liverpool first team along with the likes of Manchester City, Leeds United, Cardiff City and Blackburn Rovers, also made 21 appearances for England.
In 2011, while he was playing for Thai club Muangthong United, he was appointed as their manager, marking the beginning of his coaching career. He held that position till March 2012. Next year, he became a coach at the Liverpool Academy, the very institution that developed him as a youth player.
He returned to a prominent role as head coach in 2019, when he became the head coach of A-League club Brisbane Roar. Under his coaching, the club finished 4th in the 2019-20 season of the Australian league, earning a place in the AFC Champions League Qualifying Play-offs of 2021.
Coaching staff for East Bengal
Head coach: Robbie Fowler, Assistant: Anthony Grant, Set piece coach: Terence McPhillips, Goalkeeping coach: Robert Mimms, Sports Scientist: Jack Inman, Physio: Michael Harding, Analyst: Joseph Walmsley, Indian Assistant Coach: Renedy Singh
Earlier this summer, East Bengal ensured their participation in the Indian Super League after bringing on board Shree Cement as the principal investors, will field their team under the brand name SC East Bengal; a re-branding similar to what their arch rivals Mohun Bagan adopted. Both clubs, widely popular in their part of the world, will bring the fierce rivalry of the Kolkata Derby that's set to become the centre-piece of the ISL going ahead.
But the Red and Golds' investors have expressed their intentions of bringing the club international success in AFC Champions League or AFC Cup, and Fowler, as a manager who has helped Brisbane Roar qualify for Asia after a few years, fits a bill for that ambition.
East Bengal last won the national top division league in 2003-04 and they have not won a major national trophy since their Federation Cup triumph in 2012. But the club has stayed consistent with their performance in the I-League and challenged for the title on multiple occasion. The legions of EB fans are hopeful that with a new, more professional management in charge the club will turn around its fledging fortunes and emerge as the national champions again.