Belfast Telegraph

Feeney will be a winner, says Liverpool great Robbie Fowler

By Steven Beacom

Robbie Fowler has revealed that he has started to take a special interest in Irish League football with one of his best buddies Warren Feeney trying to restore Linfield to former glories.

The two, who share a great sense of humour, became close pals when they played together at Cardiff in 2007 and have stayed in contact ever since no matter where their travels have taken them.

For Robbie that included spells in Australia and Thailand while Warren played in England, Scotland and Wales before returning home to Northern Ireland in the summer to replace the legendary David Jeffrey as manager of Linfield.

Given the fact that so far this season the Blues have had to play all of their games away from Windsor Park, due to the ongoing re-development work at the stadium, Feeney, bar a shock League Cup defeat at Ballyclare Comrades, can be reasonably content with his early weeks in charge.

And one thing is certain, he'll always have the backing of his mate, who has an impressive awareness of what is going on at Linfield.

Note: This interview with the Liverpool hero was the day after the Blues had drawn 0-0 at the home of champions Cliftonville.

"I have so much time for Feeno. He is a big, big mate of mine. I want him to do superbly well at Linfield. If anyone deserves to achieve success it's him because he works so hard at his job," said Fowler, speaking from Liverpool.

"I speak to him all the time and I'm totally behind him in whatever he does. Obviously that wasn't a bad result last night against Cliftonville."

"Good knowledge Robbie," I reply, a little surprised that he was so well informed.

"Well, he's my mate isn't he?" came the quickfire answer in that unmistakeable Scouse tone.

"I speak to Feeno all the time and try to keep across what's going on over there. I know that Linfield had to start this season playing all their games away from home because Windsor Park's being re-developed and looking at the results, I reckon Linfield have done well so far.

"I was actually trying to watch the Cliftonville v Linfield game last night, but I couldn't get it anywhere."

Fowler, who could follow Feeney into management after applying for the vacant post at his former club, Leeds United, continued: "It's a big job for Feeno because Linfield's such a big club in Northern Ireland and have achieved great things in the past but I'll tell you this, he's definitely got the cojones for it and I know he is determined to win lots of trophies over there and bring success back to the fans."

I suggest that with a few of Linfield's strikers injured, the boss could do with someone who knows where the goal is.

"Yeah, I know that but my days are long gone now mate," said 39-year-old Fowler, who in terms of big time footballers is just about as genuine and down to earth as they come.

He may be a Red with his Liverpool connections, but don't be surprised to see him at Windsor some time this season supporting the Blues and friend Feeno.

A return to Windsor would bring back happy memories.

"In pre-season games we used to play at Windsor Park all the time. My first foray into Northern Ireland was for the Milk Cup years and years ago. That was my first European trip!" he said with a chuckle.

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