When Robbie Fowler rejoined Liverpool as a player for a second spell in January 2006, the excitement and joy in his words and on his face were clear for all to see, such were his emotional links with the club he came through the youth system with.
Almost a decade later, Fowler has now signed another new contract with the club—becoming an official ambassador earlier this month and representing Liverpool in a variety of ways, including being out on the current United States preseason tour.
Officially becoming an @LFC ambassador today. Excited for new role with the Club, starting with our USA Tour kicking-off on Sunday— Robbie Fowler (@Robbie9Fowler) July 18, 2014
Speaking to Fowler, it remains obvious that he is delighted to be around the club and that he'd do anything within his power to help out in any way.
Best hattrick ever.... Feels so good to be representing the club for the third time— Robbie Fowler (@Robbie9Fowler) July 18, 2014
"Everybody knows my association with the club, and this role lets me stay involved," Fowler said. "I helped out beforehand, too, but signing the contract makes it more special, continuing my relationship with the club. I've gone from youth player to first-team player, and now I represent the club with organisations, charities and giving a familiar face to new fans along the way."
Along with Ian Rush, Fowler works with the community side of the club to appear at functions and charities, getting to see a side of the football club's tour that most fans don't get to appreciate. Indeed, not every club even takes on board this side to a trip abroad. Naturally, the emphasis is on the first team and fitness levels, but Liverpool get hugely involved locally, visiting hospitals or charities, foundations and individuals and more besides.
Fowler recalls a trip to Perkins School for the Blind in Boston as a particularly standout visit and lauds the work of those behind the scenes in the community side of the club, led on this trip by Forbes Duff.
In previous years, Fowler has been part of the Liverpool team heading to Thailand, and the reception the Reds always receive in Asia is well-documented, but the former striker has nothing but praise for the adulation and efforts given by the crowd stateside, too.
"The support has been unbelievable," Fowler said. "When you think that football still isn't the dominant sport here, the buzz around the games and the atmosphere with the chanting and cheering for the lads is amazing. There have been hundreds of people at the open-air training sessions, and clearly people have travelled from all over to get to the games.
"You notice the atmosphere at the matches, the World Cup viewing figures were through the roof, and big signings like Frank Lampard and David Villa will again help the interest and growth in the league kick on. The standard is probably better than most people realise, to be honest."
For Liverpool, Fowler states that there is very little he has to do to actually raise awareness, with the club brand being one of the most recognised on the entire planet. Even so, he acknowledges that with the owners hailing from the States, it's a natural progression for the club to put in work across the Atlantic and look to let more fans experience what supporting the Reds is all about.
One of the more recent examples of that is the team playing at some of the most iconic stadiums in all sporting circles on the planet. Brendan Rodgers' side featured at Fenway Park, home of Boston Red Sox, two years ago and again last week while last summer, they played at the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Next up is Yankee Stadium, home of baseball side the New York Yankees, where Liverpool will play Manchester City.
Fowler himself was at the ground for the tournament draw of the International Champions Cup and freely admits he misses being around the players and being involved at matches featuring at such an iconic stadium.
"They're great sporting arenas even though they're not football grounds as such," said Fowler. "I'd still love to be a part of it again now. If Brendan needs me he knows he's only got to give me a shout!"
As for the City game itself, Fowler doesn't necessarily believe it'll be a barometer of the season ahead but still indicates that players—at all clubs—want to win every game, regardless of it being a preseason fixture.
"Getting into a winning habit makes the next game that little bit easier. The players want to do well and show we can compete with these sides whenever possible, and that doesn't change now."
Looking to the season ahead, Fowler has full faith in Rodgers' work so far and believes the boss can continue the good progress made over the last two seasons.
"Brendan wants to strengthen, he's brought in players who can play to a good style from home and abroad, and we're getting a good side together," Fowler said. "I don't want to make predictions or place any expectation on next season, but I'm happy with the way things are shaping up, and I'm sure we can surprise a few teams along the way, though everyone else will be feeling the same way, too, of course."
For now, Fowler will be pleased to continue with his off-field work for the club as they continue their tour around the United States. Once the season kicks off, though, club ambassador or not, he'll still very much be just another supporter urging the team on to go one better than last season.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!