Monday, 30 January 2012

The Fowler Out Campaign

Today the “Thunderdome Blog” and “Muangthong United Replay” begin the "Fowler Out" campaign, an ongoing struggle to express our fears for the damage Robbie Fowler is doing to Muangthong United and a push for the club to remove Fowler from his position as both player and coach for the good of the club, its players, its staff and its fans.

This campaign has not been undertaken lightly. Thai fans are not keen on criticism of players or expression that could be perceived as negative. However, after careful thought we have decided that we must continue for many reasons.

Firstly, Robbie Fowler is not Thai, he is English. Naturally enough, he is most likely to understand and react to feelings expressed from a western culture.

Secondly, much of the problem with Fowler is down to his continued absence from the club and Thailand as a whole due to his constant travel to England of which local fans may be unaware. Likewise, his continued outpourings on Twitter that show almost total disregard for Muangthong and even Thailand may be lost on Thai fans.

Lastly, we simply feel that something must be done. We have nothing but admiration for our Thai friends and family and the positive, loyal support they show. However we also feel that sometimes being positive and supportive means recognising a serious problem and dealing with it. Robbie Fowler is a serious problem.

I first expressed my concerns over Robbie in this article. Please read it to understand how the worries first began to grow from the very poor team performances and some of the dressing room problems that occured. However, since then the problem has begun to look worse. In my previous article, I praised Robbie's character. Yet since then he appears to have shown at best a lack of interest and at worst full disregard for Muangthong United and possibly even Thailand as a whole.

In short these problems are:

1) Being unwilling or unable to offer more than cursory words to press conferences after team defeats.

2) Openly applying for other jobs, including the Northern Ireland job, within days of being appointed coach.

3) Ignoring, possibly even trying to hide or display embarrassment of his team, role and location on social media. Including messages on Twitter expressing disappointment at missing UK TV shows at the exact time MTU won an FA Cup match and broke a losing streak. The only acknowledgement of Thailand he has made during his numerous tweets was a swipe at Thai referees.

4) More seriously, deserting his team and responsibilities. Fowler recently left Thailand on a ticket paid for by the club and missed two league games for his team. Although the stated reason was to attend Gary Abblett's funeral - which is totally understandable - Robbie stayed away for at least another two weeks and sent out tweets discussing TV shows while his team were struggling to gain points in league games that Robbie is paid a huge salary to prepare them for.

5) Most serious of all, deserting the team for, possibly, the entire pre-season. After our first trophy-less season in five years, we have one month to prepare for next season. Robbie will spend that month in India, collecting another huge sum of money to play in a promotional tournament.

6) Terrible performance. In less than half a season under Fowler, we've suffered more defeats than the last two seasons in total.

Taken alone, these points may be forgiveable or misunderstandings. Taken together, it's hard not to sense contempt for the club, and that cannot fail to cause us major damage. In short, this must stop.

What now?
The most important action we - and you - can take is to make others aware of the points above. Blogs may be humble forms of media, but there are few English sources of information on Muangthong United and Fowler's arrival has increased readership of those sources. In other words, we can make a difference, however small it may be.

We also aim to get articles translated into Thai and welcome any help anyone can offer.

Want to help? Here's what you can do:
1) Make people aware of the campaign, especially Thai or western media. Link to us or copy and paste these articles.

2) Join us simply by writing articles, letters or social media messages of support.

3) Boycott games, but be sure the club and fellow fans know why.

4) If you can, assist us with translation.

We wish to be clear that our protest is against Robbie Fowler's status at the club. We remain loyal fans of Muangthong United as a club and a team. Before, during and after games we will be one hundred percent behind everyone else at Muangthong. We will express our support for the team as loudly and positively as possible.
Quilins, chai-yoo.

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