Robbie Fowler was gazing out over a field of dreams when Jamie Carragher suddenly took him back to the glory days.
“Do you remember what you did to Xabi Alonso?” Carragher said. “I say one thing: it was like the thing Pele does in Escape to victory. It was a rainbow movie… you put it on Xabi’s head and rolled it into that little goal. Everyone has gone completely crazy!
With a smile, Fowler replied, “I can’t believe you remember this! I’ve been waiting for 15 years for someone to say that! It was my first time doing a Melwood lap when this happened. It was always a place that made you feel special.
Liverpool legends Jamie Carragher and Robbie Fowler have taken over management of Melwood
Carragher and Fowler (pictured together in the center) during a training session at Melwood in 2006
Carragher and Fowler have played over 1,000 times for the Reds between them and have won multiple trophies with the Reds
Fowler and Carragher have shared many great moments at the legendary former Liverpool training center, but the one they reunited on Friday morning, back to where it all began, has the potential to be the most important to date.
The two legends have made a deal to become the guardians of Melwood, after completing negotiations with Torus, the North West Housing and Regeneration Company which had purchased the historic West Derby land in Liverpool in August 2019.
It is not just a business transaction or a foray into ownership. Fowler and Carragher combined their respective academies, which were based at opposite ends of the city, to form a hub that will now operate from Melwood.
Their ambition is to provide educational and sporting opportunities for adolescents in the Liverpool City area; it won’t just be a football issue, as Olympians Steve Parry and Beth Tweddle will operate respective swimming and gymnastics centers from the facility.
“We are deeply rooted in the city,” said Steve Coffey, general manager of Torus. “Melwood is an iconic site. It was really important that we didn’t just build houses. We wanted to protect history. Maintaining a strong sporting bond has always been high on our list of priorities. “
Liverpool faced stiff criticism from local residents for the way they handled the sale of a site that had been at the heart of a community since 1950, so seeing two men who started their respective careers there has over 30 years has been successfully received.
Jurgen Klopp’s first team left Melwood for a new £ 50million resort in November
Liverpool have reached a deal to sell Melwood to Torus property developers in 2019 for £ 10million
Many will wonder why the future of a training ground has sparked so much debate, but Fowler – sitting in what was the former players’ canteen – provided an explanation. It’s a place that matters as much as Anfield in Liverpool history and the thought of flattening it has left him clueless.
“We’ve been successful in different parts of the city with the things we do,” said Fowler, one of Liverpool’s greatest strikers. “But to merge and come together to create something that could be even more successful is huge.
“Everyone knows what Melwood is. Everyone knows the history, the tradition. For us, there will always be this link. It’s brilliant. There are a lot of other people involved, it’s not just the two of us. But it’s a beautiful day for both of us. It really is. ‘
Carragher added: “Maybe (as a player) you took it for granted. You see it as a workplace. But it’s much more than that. Maybe you need a break to realize how special this is. I found this – walking around again I started taking pictures of things that I had been going through every day for 10 years! “
Olympic heroes Steve Parry and Beth Tweddle will also launch a sports facility from the facility
Torus will build on part of the site, but it will be social care homes for people with dementia and the PFA has discussed with all parties the possibility of purchasing housing that former players living with the disease could. use.
“Now we are here as a joint academy, we can help as former footballers get involved in dementia projects,” Fowler said. “The field of action for us and for the PFA, if it is possible to do it, is wide and it is something in which we want to be involved.
Both men understand the importance of the story. Carragher, who this week paid Chris Lawler – a 1960s Liverpool squad giant – for a hip replacement, and Fowler plan to have a Melwood party called the ‘Old Boot Room’ where old players can meet and chat about the good old days.
It was something Fowler and Carragher enjoyed doing yesterday morning; 20 years ago this weekend, they participated in the realization of the famous hat-trick of the Cup under the direction of Gérard Houllier and the return home stirred the memories.
“Not bad for a boy from Toxteth and a boy from Bootle” by the sea “… we’ve come a long way, haven’t we? Carragher said.
“Yeah,” Fowler said. “Who would have thought! It’s important though, we both gave chances and took them. So it’s good that we can give others an opportunity in the future.