He’s Back – And As Busy As Ever
Stowell Checks In During Hectic Pre-Season
This has been a big weekend for Mike Stowell and family. Yesterday, he was back at the club for whom he played 448 League and cup games. Today, a major celebration in the garden, gazebos and all, to mark the fact his wife turned 40 a few days ago.
All things considered, we think we did well to catch up with him and enjoy half an hour of his time at the Walsall hotel Leicester used for their ‘pre-match’ before heading to Molineux.
It was only last Sunday that the popular former keeper arrived back with the East Midlanders’ squad from Hong Kong, since when he has also been in the dug-out for a midweek game at Luton and a follow-up friendly at MK Dons on Friday.
“I am a bit tired,” he said over coffee. “On top of the heat and humidity in Hong Kong, it has been a busy week, with no day off.
“But it’s that exciting time of the year when everyone is preparing for the start of the season and we crack on with a game at Burton on Tuesday and then our only home friendly, against Borussia Monchengladbach on Friday.”
With Leicester’s famous title triumph still fairly fresh in the memory, it is worth reminding ourselves of the schedule we described when interviewing Mike last summer.
On top of a goodwill visit to Thailand, the 2015-16 Premier League winners squeezed a training camp in Austria plus close-season fixtures in Los Angeles, Glasgow and Stockholm before the Community Shield.
“We have been back to the same place in Austria this summer and have visited there several times now,” added the 52-year-old. “I went to the country twice with Wolves as well – it seems perfect for us because the facilities are so good and there isn’t anything else to do apart from work and rest.
“Things have been a bit quieter this summer and the club took us to Monaco for four days at the end of the season. The trips we made in the Champions League were also a big part of 2016-17 for us and we got ourselves up to some incredible highs for those ties.
“Now it’s all about being in the best possible shape for the season, which starts for us on a Friday night at Arsenal.”
Stowell, whose Molineux visit was marked by his appearance at the post-match press conference in place of his boss Craig Shakespeare, had visited Hong Kong with Everton early in his playing career.
And, during a recent tournament that pitted Leicester against Albion and Liverpool, he noticed big changes, both with the stadium and the backcloth.
“The ground was actually on the site of the old one we played on around 30 years ago, when we also had a few days and a match in China” he said. “It looked a different place this time.”
The Leicester first-team coach and keeper specialist wouldn’t have been the only member of the family fielding football questions at today’s festivities.
His eldest girl, Charlotte, has been working as a sports therapist at Watford’s academy and his and Rachel’s daughter, Ella, who was watching at Molineux with mum yesterday from the directors’ box, is in the ladies’ academy at Bristol City.