Author Topic: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001  (Read 8532 times)

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How do you define your favourite goal? Do you have to have seen it ‘live’ to appreciate its quality? Does it have to be one of the best you've seen? Does it have to have been scored in a big game rather than be the 3rd goal in a routine home League win? Does it have to be scored by a favourite player? Or, can it be a combination of the above, used as a shameless device for me to think up a suitable opening paragraph?... Let’s go with that!

Despite the relative lack of success, growing up in the 90’s had many enjoyable moments for a teenage Liverpool fan. The emergence of one Robert Bernard Fowler definitely at the top of that list. It had it’s fair share of nightmares too though. Barely a season went by without an embarrassing cup defeat at the hands of some shit town journeymen. Bolton (shudder), Bristol City (shake), Middlesbrough…always fucking Middlesbrough. There had been isolated successes of course – an FA Cup win in 1992 and League Cup triumph in 1995. But as the new century dawned Liverpool by our lofty standards were in the middle of a trophy drought.

As for me, I was still waiting patiently for the opportunity to witness Cup success. I had seen Alan Hansen nonchalantly raise aloft yet another League Title in 1990 but apart from that my trophy watching experience was bare. In 1984 my Dad had taken my older brother to Maine Road to watch the League Cup Final Replay versus Everton. In 1987 the golden boy got the nod again to watch us play Arsenal at Wembley. I was assured that it was my turn next. 1988 and 1989 came and went without so much of a sniff of a ticket. As did further finals in 1992, 1995 and 1996. In February 2001 we demolished Crystal Palace in the Semi Final second leg to book a trip to the final to play another lower League peril – Birmingham City. I had been to all the home games in the cup run but having been denied a Final ticket many times over in the past expectations were low. I was setting off to travel the world a few days after the final and my thoughts were largely pre-occupied by that.

Then, a week before the final, my Dad finally came good on his 14 year old promise. He’d secured an extra ticket, the minibus was booked and finally I was off to my first ever Cup Final. It wasn't to be Wembley, due to it getting a rebuild all cup finals for the next few years were to be played at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium. We didn't know it at the time but it was to be the start of a beautiful five year love affair between Liverpool fans and the Welsh capital incorporating two FA Cup Finals, Three League Cup Finals, Three Charity Shields. A wonderful stadium that would give us plenty of thrilling moments and several sore heads.

After a never ending journey through Welsh market towns and a boozy pub lunch we arrived in Cardiff in high spirits. Birmingham were a decent Championship side but surely we were ready to end our trophy hoodoo. Gerard Houllier had established a fine squad, full to the brim with internationals and well stocked in every position.

Even with the freshly acquired Jari Litmanen ruled out through injury (surely not!) picking on form gave him the luxury of leaving Michael Owen on the bench, with Robbie Fowler and Emile Heskey leading the line. The central midfield oozed class with Gerrard and Hamann orchestrating. Out wide a couple of more surprising picks with Smicer and the newly signed Igor Biscan getting the nod over the likes of Barmby and Murphy who had both been instrumental in our cup run. The rock solid defence of Carragher, Hyypia, Henchoz and Babbel inspired confidence even with the slightly flappy Sander Westerveld in goal. Birmingham’s strikers personified their style of play. Geoff Horsfield and Dele Adebola were big and strong, but slow and limited. They were surely just happy to be part of the occasion. We’d have these!

The game kicked off and pre match optimism soon made way for mid game pessimism. Birmingham were well drilled and we were struggling to make any inroads. Then out of the blue, and as had been so often the case in the previous 8 years, Robbie Fowler conjured up something from nothing. A long punt forward from Westerveld was flicked on into Robbie’s path. In the inside left channel, with not a lot on, speed of thought met wonderful technique and before half the stadium even knew what had happened Fowler had sent a delightful dipping half volley over Ian Bennett and into the Birmingham net. Captain for the day, Fowler ran off to a delirious bench where he was mobbed for his instinctive genius. Liverpool had four strikers at the time, all had different strengths. It’s fair to say that this was a goal that only Fowler could have scored. The awareness, the confidence and of course most importantly of all, the sheer quality to spot the opportunity and tuck it away as if it was a routine tap in from inside the 6 yard box.

We were on our way! Finally I’d be seeing us win a Cup Final. At long last I was on the march with Kenny’s Souey’s Roy’s Gerard’s Army, we were all off to Wemberley Cardiff and we’d really shake them up when we won the FA League Cup. I’d celebrate by spending the next 4 months travelling the Southern Hemisphere! Could life get any better?

Well, in the short term it could get worse. With a routine 1-0 victory in our grasp we got our act together, remembered that we were Liverpool FC and never did Cup Finals the easy way. Why brush aside a team in 90 minutes when you can make everyone have a collective heart attack and win it in 120 minutes plus penalties? Deep into stoppage time a clumsy tackle from Henchoz had David Ellary pointing to the spot. In an instant celebration turned to recrimination and we had to deal with the prospect of another half hour. Both sides threatened, Liverpool hit the woodwork, Birmingham forced an outstanding save from Westerveld.

In the end it went to penalties. As ever things were never done easily. A German (Hamann) missed! Carragher scored after a run up from somewhere near the halfway line. Finally Westerveld saved from a young Andy Johnson! I turned and hugged my brother. Finally, and an hour or so later than planned I had seen us win a cup. What’s an extra hour when I’d been waiting my whole life? The fact we did so came down to a goal from my teenage idol.

With such a back catalogue it’s hardly a shock to say Robbie has scored better goals. But in identifying a favourite you need a few factors as I listed above and this ticked them all: A goal of top quality, scored by my favourite player of the time, in my first cup final. It’s hard to beat that for a real thrill. The fact that it helped break the trophy drought and set us up for what would be an incredible season just made it even sweeter looking back.

I left for Thailand a few days later. By the time we were winning the FA and UEFA Cups I was in Sydney and Christchurch respectively. It was a time of life and a season that I will never forget. And that beautiful, arcing, top spinning half volley from our genius of a number 9 is the goal that always flashes through the mind when thinking back to that wonderful time.



Thanks Robbie!  Merry Christmas!
« Last Edit: December 3, 2014, 02:12:54 pm by C(r)osby Bill »

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #1 on: December 3, 2014, 09:35:07 am »
Happy 3rd December Rawkites. This was a great match because we won silverware and it'd been a while.
Yep.

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #2 on: December 3, 2014, 09:43:19 am »
Happy 3rd December Rawkites. This was a great match because we won silverware and it'd been a while.
6 years to be precise

far far too long

wonderful goal and a great post
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #3 on: December 3, 2014, 10:06:15 am »
If asked yesterday, all I'd remember was that we won the game. Wouldn't have recalled this goal. Now I do. Thanks for reminding me! :)

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #4 on: December 3, 2014, 10:26:13 am »
I remember seeing Carragher walking up to take a pen and thinking "what the fuck is he doing?" Definitely going to miss.

Then watching him run up and I swear my heart stopped, to then watch him rifle it into the top corner! Arguably the best penalty of the shootout
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #5 on: December 3, 2014, 10:29:03 am »
Good post, thanks Crosby Nick.

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #6 on: December 3, 2014, 10:31:59 am »
I remember seeing Carragher walking up to take a pen and thinking "what the fuck is he doing?" Definitely going to miss.

Then watching him run up and I swear my heart stopped, to then watch him rifle it into the top corner! Arguably the best penalty of the shootout

So true! I remember turning to my brother and we both just looked at each other as if to say "fuck, we're going to lose this" having thought we would be fine. Superb penalty though!

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #7 on: December 3, 2014, 10:45:57 am »
Yeah.  Great stuff Bill.  Superb post.  Thank you.  I have great memories of Cardiff and of that game in particular because it kicked it all off .  Five years.  Dear Robbie.  It seems incredible now.  So many memories.  Buying  a silver balloon in the shape of the European Cup.  Looking out the window of the HaHa Bar and watching the Rafatollah being carried past Cardiff Castle in the early morning mist.  Damn near fucking seen me off that did.  Coffee being sputtered everywhere.

A few hundred lads booting a football up in the air - and when one lad's shoe came off booting that up in the air as well.

But the shopkeepers actually seemed to like us.  And we paid normal prices for everything not like the fucking nasty wembly vans.  Aye.  Great memories of Cardiff.  Shame we had to go back to that soul less shithole. 

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #8 on: December 3, 2014, 10:56:48 am »
Cheers Maggie! What was great about Cardiff is the fact it's bang in the city centre and the pubs are right next door as opposed to Wembley. I went to all our League Cup Finals and the Chelsea one could and should have been the favourite. I remember seeing the Rafatollah there too, plenty of pre match ales, into the ground and then Riise scored within 40 seconds. Our end was absolutely rocking at that point. Shame about the ending.

But yeah, this game, and Robbie's goal kicked it all off so thought it deserved a write up.

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #9 on: December 3, 2014, 11:18:59 am »
Cheers Maggie! What was great about Cardiff is the fact it's bang in the city centre and the pubs are right next door as opposed to Wembley. I went to all our League Cup Finals and the Chelsea one could and should have been the favourite. I remember seeing the Rafatollah there too, plenty of pre match ales, into the ground and then Riise scored within 40 seconds. Our end was absolutely rocking at that point. Shame about the ending.

But yeah, this game, and Robbie's goal kicked it all off so thought it deserved a write up.

Indeed it did and what an excellent write up it was.  The start of glory again.  Who could imagine what we did in five years.  But you are right about Cardiff.  The stadium is sensational and because of its situation has a welcoming feel.  And everyone was so damned - nice.  Bizzies and stewards and shopkeepers and everyone.  Made a change from being seen as scum in some bleak hole in an industrial estate, hated and targets to be ripped off.

Yeah.  Loved Cardiff.  A shame to leave.  Thank you  for reminding me of the wonderful memory.   :-* :wave
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #10 on: December 3, 2014, 11:45:37 am »
Incredible goal it was. One fitting for the journey we were on that season.

The League Cup gets its fair amount of stick but it's given us some great moments, not least that strike from Robbie.

Here's hoping we get to the final again this season for a recreation.

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #11 on: December 3, 2014, 12:19:28 pm »
The only thing I remember from that game is that goal and thinking why Carragher took the 6th penalty.
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #12 on: December 3, 2014, 12:54:38 pm »
Your description of your older brother as 'golden boy' resonated with me. I'm the eldest of three, and I've endured years of similarly petty sniping from my younger brothers ;)

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #13 on: December 3, 2014, 01:07:33 pm »
Well-written, Crosby Nick. Made me watch the highlights of that game, had forgotten how cheeky Robbie took his penalty :) Never got why some LFC fans refer to the League Cup as a Mickey Mouse cup as it has brought so many good memories over the years :)
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #14 on: December 3, 2014, 01:17:12 pm »
I also remember Smicer missing an absolute sitter and Hamann smashing the post in extra time.

A very young Andy Johnson was upfront for Birmingham.

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #16 on: December 3, 2014, 02:02:20 pm »
Excellent mate, great read.

And how very true about us always doing things the hard way in finals, doesn't matter if it's Birmingham City or AC Milan.
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #17 on: December 3, 2014, 02:02:47 pm »
The Smicer sitter rings a very distant bell now but can’t quite picture it? Think it was at the end where the penalties were? I remember Did smashing one against the post and then slamming the ball away in frustration just before/after. And late on Bryan Hughes (?) almost chipped Westerveld to score from far out. After quite a cagey 90 minutes it all opened up late on.

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #18 on: December 3, 2014, 02:03:24 pm »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cf9RbaFPxM0

Memory lane... ;D

Almost expected Drury to say 'Calm Down, Calm Down, a goal for all of Liverpool'.
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #19 on: December 3, 2014, 02:10:53 pm »
As for me, I was still waiting patiently for the opportunity to witness Cup success. I had seen Alan Hansen nonchalantly raise aloft yet another League Title in 1991 but apart from that my trophy watching experience was bare.

No wonder, since he lifted the league title in 1990 ;)
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #20 on: December 3, 2014, 02:12:15 pm »
No wonder, since he lifted the league title in 1990 ;)

What! How did that get in there! Shocking error, duly amended.

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #21 on: December 3, 2014, 02:42:22 pm »
Excellent post Nick :D
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #22 on: December 3, 2014, 02:50:49 pm »
What! How did that get in there! Shocking error, duly amended.

Especially considering it was the greatest day in history!
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #23 on: December 3, 2014, 02:52:50 pm »
Especially considering it was the greatest day in history!

Someone's birthday? :D

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #24 on: December 3, 2014, 02:56:53 pm »
Someone's birthday? :D
probably his day of birth, the kiddo
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #25 on: December 3, 2014, 06:05:03 pm »
Great post mate and first tribute to the year of cup gathering.

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #26 on: December 3, 2014, 06:38:24 pm »
Nicely done mate. :)
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #27 on: December 3, 2014, 07:04:00 pm »
Ahh brilliant. As a student I didn't stand of getting close to a ticket to this one. I remember vividly throwing empty plastic coke bottles against the wall in my student halls as we all expected Birmingham to crumble.

Credit to them they didn't. Credit to us we won  :)
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #28 on: December 3, 2014, 07:56:50 pm »
Slightly too young to have actual memories of this game but started a trophy haul in a fantastic season. May not have had the memories of Alaves or even turning Arsenal over in the last 10 minutes, but it was great to end the trophy drought.

Also, the Millennium is a far better stadium than Wembley. Great memories  :)

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #29 on: December 4, 2014, 09:16:34 am »
i think i had my first ever driving lesson the morning of the game

i watched it with a united fan who is in the middle of a big rant about how shit robbie fowler was.

sure enough fowler smashed this one in and we never let him live it down. i loved the commentary too "FOWLERS HIT FOWLERS GOAL"
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #30 on: December 4, 2014, 11:30:55 am »
I totally get what the OP is trying to say. Another great read.  :)
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #31 on: December 4, 2014, 11:33:23 am »
i think i had my first ever driving lesson the morning of the game

i watched it with a united fan who is in the middle of a big rant about how shit robbie fowler was.

sure enough fowler smashed this one in and we never let him live it down. i loved the commentary too "FOWLERS HIT FOWLERS GOAL"

I think United hammered Arsenal 6-1 the same day. When Arsenal had the likes of Stepanovs and Luhzny 'gracing' them.

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #32 on: December 4, 2014, 11:37:50 am »
I think United hammered Arsenal 6-1 the same day. When Arsenal had the likes of Stepanovs and Luhzny 'gracing' them.
Yeah, the very same day, thought it can't get any worse when I saw the scoreline and soon after Birmingham scored. Happy memories :)
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #33 on: December 4, 2014, 11:44:53 am »
Was in Cardiff that day! What a brilliant year that really was.... Thanks Crosby Nick for that nice memories  :thumbup :scarf
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #34 on: December 4, 2014, 11:47:09 am »
I think United hammered Arsenal 6-1 the same day. When Arsenal had the likes of Stepanovs and Luhzny 'gracing' them.
never realized it was the same day

a mate of mine was in a pub in dublin. said when birmingham equalized a united fan jumped up infront of him screaming and shouting. some other lad took exception, walked up and just hit the guy. in my mates words "biggest haymaker i ever saw, the united fella flew about 20 foot"
yer ma should have called you Paolo Zico Gerry Socrates HELLRAZOR

Offline Bing Crosby was a prick

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #35 on: December 7, 2014, 09:47:55 am »
Was in Cardiff that day! What a brilliant year that really was.... Thanks Crosby Nick for that nice memories  :thumbup :scarf

No problem mate. As you say, just such a great season with so many memories. It was a great year for me too, saw some incredible places on my travels. The only downside was missing out on an FA Cup Final ticket (and my glory hunting Mum going instead!).

As well as the three cup finals you had the Gary Mac Derby Free Kick, Robbie's overhead at Charlton to seal Champions League, doing the double over United...it was a relatively brief period but for those two seasons from 2000-2002 we were superb.

Offline nicholasanthony

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #36 on: December 7, 2014, 09:54:38 am »
Nice one, Nick.

Offline Bing Crosby was a prick

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #37 on: December 7, 2014, 09:59:24 am »
Nice one, Nick.

I saw us beat United at home in some bar in Melbourne. Knew I liked rhe place for some reason! Dis the Great Ocean Road tour rhe next day after about three hours sleep and feeling sick as a dog!

Offline Mutton Geoff

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #38 on: December 7, 2014, 04:04:32 pm »
we pulled that one out of the fire . Good OP
A world were Liars and Hypocrites are accepted and rewarded and honest people are derided!
Who voted in this lying corrupt bastard anyway

Offline MichaelA

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #3 - Robbie Fowler vs Birmingham City 2001
« Reply #39 on: December 4, 2022, 10:15:25 am »
Bump  ;D