Former England international and Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler has been appointed the head coach of East Bengal for a two-year tenure, team’s principal owner Hari Mohan Bangur said on Friday.
“We have signed the contract last night (Thursday) and Robbie Fowler is expected to join the side directly in Goa within a week,” Bangur, who has acquired a majority stake in East Bengal, confirmed the development to PTI from Dubai.
“As of now, we have offered him a two-year contract which could be extended in due course,” Bangur said.
Fowler’s name was doing the rounds for more than a week, but the announcement was caught in the logjam of transfer of power from East Bengal to Shree Cement Limited and was made less than 24 hours after the impasse ended on Thursday.
“We have already lost some valuable time but I’m not bitter about it. It’s a process and it takes time. We are handicapped as we are short on preparation, but hopeful about making up for it. We will put up a competitive squad which will be announced in a couple of days,” Bangur said.
Former India captain Rennedy Singh will be Fowler’s deputy. Rennedy is a former East Bengal captain also.
The owner and managing director of Shree Cement Limited, who has acquired a majority stake of 76 per cent, further revealed that the team will be known as SC East Bengal as they along with Mohun Bagan make it an 11-team ISL.
“It could be Sporting Club East Bengal or Shree Cement East Bengal as per your interpretation. We as a corporate group and as per the guidelines we cannot prefix ‘Shree Cement’ to East Bengal so we have decided to name the team as ‘SCEB,” he said.
Premier League’s all-time seventh highest goal scorer with 163 strikes to his name, the former English striker was a product of Liverpool youth academy and made his senior team debut in 1993.
He has been the third-higest goalscorer for the Reds where he played till 2001 before switching allegiance to arch-rivals Leeds United and then Manchester City.
In his managerial career, Fowler was with A-League side Brisbane Roar FC last season when they finished fourth.
The 45-year-old Fowler also coached Thailand’s top division club Muangthong United in the middle of his playing season there and guided the team to third place.
East Bengal last month entered the ISL in their centenary year, joining arch rivals Mohun Bagan — in the top tier.
The club’s journey to the ISL was facilitated by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who played a pivotal role in getting Shree Cement on board.
The seventh edition of India’s top-flight football league is slated to be held closed-doors at three venues of Goa from November third week because of the COVID-19 pandemic.