Former Liverpool and England striker Robbie Fowler has signed a two-year deal with new Australian A-League side North Queensland Fury. The 33-year-old forward, whose goalscoring exploits once saw him idolised on the red half of Merseyside, will be the Fury's marquee player as the club makes its debut in the A-League later this year.
Fury officials described the signing as a major coup, which showed the club, based in Townsville, was intent on making a successful start. "Robbie is a legitimate international superstar of the game and there's no doubt he will give us every chance of winning," Fury chairman Don Matheson said.
"It's taken a lot of work to make this happen, but it was worth it because I really believe having him playing for North Queensland Fury will change the way people think about the A-League." He did not reveal financial details involved in the contract, which commits Fowler to playing in the 2009/10 and 2010/11 seasons.
Fowler scored 120 goals in 236 league appearances for Liverpool and also played for Leeds United, Manchester City, Cardiff City and Blackburn Rovers, where he was released late last year after a short stint.
The striker, who turned down a chance to play in the A-League for Sydney FC in 2007, said he had been impressed with the football set-up at the Fury, as well as the lifestyle that playing in Queensland offered his young family. "It's a huge decision for my family, but it's also an opportunity to continue my football career in a truly wonderful part of the world," he said.
Under the A-League rules, clubs can sign a marquee player whose wages are exempted from the team's salary cap as a means of raising the sport's profile in Australia.