According to dusty religious scripture, God's return will be preceded by Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse inflicting untold misery across the land. But Early Doors took a peek out the window this morning and couldn't spot any signs of war, disease or pestilence, at least no more than you would expect in the poky corner of south-west London it inhabits.
Which is strange, because God is most certainly returning. Don't worry, ED hasn't joined an apocalyptic cult in anticipation of an imminent rapture, with beakers of Kool-Aid at the ready and hundreds of disciples in tow - but have you heard the good news? Robbie Fowler — nicknamed God by Liverpool fans, and part-time horse racing enthusiast and landlord extraordinaire — is signing for Blackpool.
At the ripe old age of 36, and four years after ending a truncated spell at Blackburn Rovers to seemingly bring the curtain down on his career on these shores, the man once hailed as the finest natural goalscorer since Jimmy Greaves is back in his native England.
Having exhausted his employment opportunities in Australia and Thailand, seen a proposed move to the West Bengal Premier Soccer League collapse and run out of Chechen warlords to perform for (more on that later), Fowler is now poised to join the Championship side on a deal until the end of the season.
Though nothing has yet been formalised — and, given Fowler's last attempted transfer saw a $350,000 move to Kolkata fall through in rather farcical circumstances, he is unlikely to be jumping to any conclusions — manager Ian Holloway is certainly approaching the deal with his usual boundless enthusiasm. In fact, it came as a crushing disappointment to ED that he stopped short of using a convoluted metaphor about a drunken fumble in a taxi when revealing that a deal is close to being done.
Holloway confirmed the news on Thursday afternoon: "It's brilliant to have someone like Robbie at the club. He looked terrific in training and I don't think he's that far away from being fully fit. Has he got some quality, can he play a pass, can he score a goal? Yes he can. I still think he wants to play and he's got undoubted quality."
Fowler's imminent arrival will ensure that Blackpool have a veritable Dad's Army in attack, what with the 38-year-old Kevin Phillips already in place. It would have been a formidable strike partnership back in 1999, and ED is now hearing (made-up) rumours that Holloway is looking to recruit Benito Carbone and Hamilton Ricard as back-up. With Stefano Eranio pulling the strings in midfield, what could go wrong?
But though Blackpool are clearly excited - and ED hears Fowler is already scouting around to see how many streets he can buy in the area - news of the striker's return to England does have a rather sad aspect to it too.
Though undoubtedly a great story, it reminds ED of the process by which Fowler became one of England's lost talents. It is still perplexing to think that a player with such an unmistakable aptitude for finishing has just seven international goals; the last of Fowler's 26 England caps came in 2002, at the age of just 27.
Described by more attuned observers than ED as the finest finisher of his generation, Fowler's first spell at Liverpool was of course utterly brilliant. From the moment he scored five on his second appearance in a League Cup fixture against Fulham it was clear the Scouser was a special talent indeed.
In 1995 and 1996 he was named Young Player of the Year as he continued to score with daunting regularity, earning a call-up for Euro 96 as a result. It seemed England had its answer to Ronaldo in the shape of the Toxteth Terror, who was taking Premier League defences apart on a weekly basis, hitting double figures in five of his first six league campaigns and becoming the fastest Liverpool player to reach 100 goals for the club.
With the goals came sporadic bursts of controversy: his membership of the much-derided Spice Boys set; his punishment for pretending to snort a line of cocaine when celebrating a goal in 1999; his fine for revealing a t-shirt in support of the Liverpool dockers; the homophobic taunting of Graeme Le Saux.
After this prolonged early flourish, Fowler's career began to be gripped by the law of diminishing returns. Under Gerard Houllier he began to be pushed onto the bench to accommodate Emile Heskey and Michael Owen, and though he helped win the Plastic Treble in 2001 he was not long for this world at his beloved Liverpool.
We know what happened next. Largely unproductive spells with Leeds, Manchester City, Cardiff and Blackburn, when, outside of his beloved Liverpool, he struggled to find form and inspiration. Though Rafa Benitez summoned him back to Anfield for an 18-month spell in between his time with City and Cardiff, during which he showed flashes of his old talent, by this time he was almost a spent force, his international career having fallen firmly by the wayside too.
The expiration of his deal at Blackburn saw Fowler become that rarest of things: an English player abroad. Lost to the nation he slipped from the national consciousness as he embarked on a career in Australia, with Perth Glory and North Queensland Fury, and then Thailand with Muangthong United, the club he briefly became player-manager of in 2011.
Only briefly did news of his exploits make it back to these shores, most notably in May 2011 when Fowler was one of a number of stars to play in a controversial match to open a new 30,000-seater stadium in Grozny, Chechnya, at the invitation of President Ramzan Kadyrov. Fowler played alongside Steve McManaman and Luis Figo, while Kadyrov, strangely enough, bagged a hat-trick.
Kadyrov - who randomly owns lions and tigers, never a good sign in ED's experience - is no friend of Amnesty International having been linked with various human rights abuses, but as a pragmatic Fowler said at the time: "Politics aside, we are not here for that. We are here to play football, solely football."
That is all Fowler has ever really wanted to do. It has been a long, circuitous road for the striker since leaving Blackburn and England in 2008 but it is good to see him back, even if in doing so ED can't help but be hit by pangs of what might have been.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "This is media, Frank know me, and I never said about him! I said generaly! I only talked about coaches and players in general. Always CFC.'" - David Luiz takes to Twitter to deny suggestions that he "slammed" or "savaged" Frank Lampard. For the record, here is what the defender says, and frankly ED can't see anything wrong with it at all. "No one has to be someone's father or son in a football club. There are no privileged people there. He (Lampard) simply has to listen to the coach when he gives orders and take them. No player can forget that they are just an employee of the club."
FOREIGN VIEW: The Asian Football Confederation has backed a FIFA investigation into Bahrain's 10-0 World Cup qualifying win over Indonesia in midweek. The mauling in Manama raised suspicion because Bahrain needed a huge turnaround to have any chance of reaching the fourth round of regional 2014 qualifiers. Bahrain needed to beat Indonesia, Qatar to lose to Iran and also make up a nine-goal differential on the 2022 World Cup hosts.
FIFA's security department launched a routine probe, supported by the AFC in a statement on Friday. "(The) AFC supports the routine investigation launched by FIFA," it read, promising to "assist FIFA and cooperate closely with the world football governing body".
COMING UP: We preview every Premier League game this weekend as well as the big matches from across Europe and in the SPL. Jim White and Paul Parker both file their latest columns and the Fantastist will be back at 3pm for another fantasy chat.