KIERON BOWIE cannot wait to embark on his giant adventure in the Big Smoke.
The Raith Rovers wonderkid is gearing up for a life-changing move to London after Fulham thrashed out a £150,000 deal for the precocious forward.
While the transfer was agreed in January, he will formally join the Cottagers in June – capping a truly remarkable rise from the Fife Elite Football Academy to English Championship giants in the space of a whirlwind 18 months.
He will primarily be seen as an academy prospect at Fulham but there will be scope for Bowie, on occasion, to work under Craven Cottage boss Scott Parker and share a training pitch with star names like Aleksandar Mitrovic, Stefan Johansen and Tom Cairney.
Nevertheless, he admits that the biggest upheaval will be swapping sleepy Kirkcaldy for bustling London.
Speaking about the switch to Fulham for the first-time, Bowie said: “It’s an exciting mix – I’m really looking forward to it but it’s only natural that there are some nerves as well.
“It’s a big upheaval aged 17, moving away from home for the first time and adapting to a new club and country.
“It’ll be my first time away from my parents, so there’s the usual things like cooking and cleaning and living on your own that you need to get your head round.
“Plus there’s the fact that London is a wee bit different from Kirkcaldy! It’s bigger, louder, faster and, after growing up in a Scottish town, it’ll be strange living down there. But you’ve got to be excited; got to embrace it.
“Regardless of what city I’m in, my main focus will be on the training pitch and I’ll be looking to make a positive impression.
“The idea of working under a guy like Scott Parker and getting a few sessions with players like [Aleksandar] Mitrovic is amazing. I can’t wait. My time at Raith has been a dream and there’s still part of me pinching myself that I’ve got this opportunity.”
Before saying farewell, Bowie’s intention was to fire John McGlynn’s men to the League One title – they lead Falkirk by a point – and win lift the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup final against Inverness, which was due to take place on Saturday.
However, he is now facing up to the increasing likelihood that he may have played his last game for the club amid major doubts regarding whether the 2019/20 campaign will be completed.
Should that prove to be the case, it would leave the precocious attacker with a pang of regret.
Bowie rued: “If I don’t play for Raith Rovers again, this would be a rubbish way to end things.
“I owe the club so much, they’ve given me so many opportunities and I wanted to finish on a real high by winning the league and lifting that trophy.
“We would have had the [Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge] Cup final on Saturday as well, which was another occasion all the boys were buzzing for.
“It’s disappointing for myself and the rest of the boys, but more so for the fans.
“These big matches and occasions are for them – and it’s a shame they are missing out.”
Nevertheless, Bowie struggles to articulate the debt of gratitude he owes Rovers and, in particular, manager McGlynn.
The former Hearts and Livingston gaffer saw enough potential in the raw, but physically explosive, apprentice to hand him a first-team debut against Montrose in February 2019. Bowie was 16 years of age at that point.
He has not looked back since, getting 39 senior games under his belt and rippling the net 10 times already.
“My progress has been down to the manager and his willingness to put me in the team, work with me and help me improve my game every day,” lauded Bowie. “He was brave enough to give me a chance in the team at 16 years old, which not all managers would.
“His man-management has been great. There have been times when he has taken into account my age and not been as tough on me but, when it’s needed, he’ll make it clear that he expects better.
“The gaffer has high standards that he wants me to meet, he knows how well I could do in the game – so it all comes from wanting me to reach my potential. I owe him a lot.”