Roar talent to benefit from Fowler influence
ARCHIE Thompson knows the A-League landscape like the back of his hand.
The diminutive striker was there at the start - the 2005/06 season - scoring eight goals for the Melbourne Victory.
Thompson, who featured 224 times for the Victory, scored 90 goals and won three championships before leaving the club after 11 seasons at the end of the 2015/16 campaign.
He has and always will be an A-League fan and can't wait for the new season to kick off.
"This is going to be the best A-League season ever," the Fox Sports analyst said.
"I've said that lot of times at the start of a new season, but I honestly do believe it.
"There is some much to be excited about this time round.
"The game is moving forward dramatically right now.
"All the clubs have recruited well this season and they've invested heavily as well in their facilities as well which lifts the professionalism and quality of the game.
"Some great new players have signed as well - it's going to be an exciting season."
Thompson expects the usual suspects "Melbourne Victory, Sydney and Perth" to be challenging for the title again this season, but there's one team in particular he's telling fans to keep an eye on.
"I'm keen to see how Brisbane go this season," Thompson said.
"I think there's only two players left from the starting 11 last year but they've recruited well and look solid right across the park.
"I think they'll do well this year, I hope they do well."
The biggest factor in Brisbane's performance however could be the man at the helm - Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler.
"I've always been a fan, he was one of the best players in the world when he was playing," Thompson said.
"And I think that (status) flows over when players like him take up managerial roles.
"He's not alone there at Brisbane - he'll have his own (coaching) team around him - but when you are a player like he was I think the players are more open to listening and trying to make his ideas work because of who he is and what he has done.
"And it sounds like he might coach like he played.
"He was a naturally-gifted player and pretty much given free rein on the field.
"Some players need structure but others thrive when someone shows enough trust in them to let them go out there and just play what's in front.
"I think he (Fowler) will be great for Brisbane and the league."
Archie Thompson's players to watch:-
Besart Berisha: "I was at Western United a few weeks ago and they were talking about signing a striker. At the time I thought 'Besart is looking for a new club, he'd be the perfect fit'. He's exactly the type of player you want at a new club: passionate, professional, a proven goal-scorer and obviously knows the A-League. I think he'll help them hit the ground running and lead that team going forward."
Alessandro Diamanti: "I'm really excited about Diamanti. He's played at the highest level in Italy and been part of the Italian national team. I think he has goals in him and is one of the best signings we have seen in the A-League for a few seasons now."
Elvis Kamsoba: "I think Elvis is going to light up the A-League this season. He played for us (Melbourne Victory) last season and went away to the Africa Cup of Nations. He's better for both those experiences and I think he'll be a standout this season."
Andrew Nabbout/Scott McDonald: "A few Socceroos have returned this season and I think these two guys are going to be great additions for their clubs."