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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan 25, 2010

Fowler to stay with Fury

Upset Fury boss Don Matheson has stressed Robbie Fowler will continue to play under North Queensland coach Ian Ferguson for the remainder of the A-League season.

But how long their association continues after next month remains a mystery after neither captain nor coach answered questions about their controversial rift on Monday.

It was Matheson who fronted the media in Townsville alone after holding mediation talks with both Fowler and Ferguson following the former Liverpool star's dumping on the weekend.

The Fury chairman apologised to the club's fans and blamed a communication breakdown for the "embarrassment" of Fowler watching Saturday night's 1-1 draw with Brisbane from the Dairy Farmers Stadium stands.

Matheson said he disciplined both during their meeting but would not reveal details of sanctions from the incident, sparked by Ferguson's bizarre plan to use his marquee signing as an impact weapon from the bench.

"The position was Fergie felt (Fowler) was refusing to play," he said. "When the team sheet went up Robbie was not on the team sheet and at no stage did Robbie feel he refused to play.

"I've been very tough on the two of them but the bottom line was it was a complete misunderstanding."

Matheson admitted the explanation sounded "clumsy" but adamantly stated both were committed to honouring their contracts at the club.

Fowler, who has nine goals but only one for the last 11 rounds, is contracted for another season while Ferguson has two more seasons after their inaugural campaign.

The injury-hit Fury sit ninth on the A-League table and remain an outside chance of making the top six for a play-off berth with three rounds remaining.

Matheson felt the need to support both men due to their efforts in helping the expansion club deal with adversity.

"Given Fergie's constraints with injury I think he's done a fabulous job with this team," he said.

"Given everyone thought we would be the whipping boys of the competition I think they've done a great job.

"I think Robbie has done a fantastic job for the league and our club and I think that alone deserves to give them an opportunity to see that through and maintain that good work for the rest of the year."

While speculation was rife Fowler would return to England this week, it's now expected he will lead the Fury against Newcastle on Saturday night in Townsville.

"Robbie is not only going to captain but he will play the rest of the season and he will continue to stay at North Queensland, to see out his time here," said Matheson.

"He is disappointed with the view (from) a lot of people in the media who continue questioning his commitment, and his wife Kerrie, about their belief in wanting to stay here in Townsville.

"They're committed to staying here, they enjoy their friendships and Robbie is very passionate in remaining the captain here."

Ferguson told the Townsville Bulletin on Monday he was prepared to resolve the feud and move on.

"I don't hold grudges, anybody who knows me will tell you, I'll deal with a situation head-on, we'll confront it, and once it's done it's done," Ferguson said.

"Robbie's the same. We've had a couple of ding-dongs before, he's moved on, I've moved on."

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