On Monday, the Reds welcome the Reds to Anfield: Osasuna, los Rojillos, a club against which we have never played a competitive match and with which we nevertheless have a lasting bond, through a much admired personality.
One year in Liverpool. Two and a half years with Osasuna.
For most careers, for most people, those fleeting times spent in clubs might just be footnotes along a career spanning nearly 15 years, but for Michael Robinson they are. the cornerstones of his accomplishments, his unique blend of athletic and personal life and how he is remembered in the football world.
Robinson’s lone campaign with the Reds turned out to be one of the best of all time: 1983/84, a triple season under Joe Fagan.
He may not have been a guaranteed start, but he scored three goals en route to League Cup glory, played the initial final against Everton at Wembley, faced Roma in winning the final of the European Cup and scored a hat-trick against West Ham. among six goals as part of the Reds Premier League title-winning squad.
This is more than most get in a lifetime.
He then played the last two years of his career in Spain, signing for Osasuna – soon joined by another ex-Rouge, Sammy Lee – and after retiring at 31… just stayed. He loved Spain, and while on the pitch he had perhaps only been two years and a little in La Liga, it essentially formed the basis of his second career as a world-class broadcaster, a personality of the highly respected television and authority at all levels in Spanish football.
For a non-native to be so accepted, understood, and listened to – especially with a less than perfect accent – it takes incredible personality, work ethic, and talent, there’s no doubt about it.
Michael Robinson died last year, succumbing to a battle with cancer. The Reds’ clash with Osasuna is a tribute not only to what he accomplished on the pitch, but to the hugely impressive person he was so clearly off the pitch.
A center-forward who during his playing days might not have the confidence to reach the heights others believed he could, off the pitch and in front of the cameras it was a complete reversal: a presence, a panache and a personality to hold. over millions in a second language.
If you frequent Twitter or other social media sites these days, you will probably know (or at least know) Josep Pedrerol: the one with heavy sighs, serious and dramatic backing music, too long pauses and obviously fakes – the fury when something three or four alarm emojis occurs in Spanish football.
Robinson was the Pedrerol of yesteryear, when presenting and speaking went hand in hand with knowledge – direct and implied – and insight: just as suave, just as opinionated, but with much more credibility and fewer clips made for bravado streaming. which were clearly too theatrical to be taken seriously.
Some have called Robinson a Spanish Des Lynam, which isn’t bad for an Englishman who has represented the Republic of Ireland internationally.
As Spanish sports journalist Andy West explained, and as perhaps a few working in broadcasting on these coasts would do well to integrate it, Robinson has always loaded his work with his expertise and offered viewers an experience. enriching, without ever letting his knowledge enter the way of the real pleasure of watching and listening to his programs.
“Robinson’s popularity stemmed from his expert talent: he was fabulously perceptive, making every word count, and possessing a unique ability to explain complex tactical ideas in a straightforward and easy-to-understand manner. [His] the shows were also imbued with an endearing sense of humor, combined with a natural charm and a sense of fairness. His partnership with his longtime comment box colleague Carlos Martinez will always be cherished by Spanish football fans. “
It is perhaps sadly poetic that Robinson’s last game for the Spanish media took place while watching the Reds: our, ultimately unsuccessful, return leg of the Champions League against Atletico Madrid in March 2020 , just a few weeks before his death.
This match was also, until back-to-back matches with Athletic and Osasuna on Sunday and Monday, the last time a significant number of supporters were at Anfield.
The outcome did not turn out the way Kopites wanted it to, nor probably Robinson, despite all his love for Spanish futbol, wanted either.
Speaking some 18 years before his death, Robinson said The independent in plain words what really made a great club.
“Manchester United’s legacy in European football is screwed up. Lately, they’ve won a European Cup, and that in the dying seconds. Yet they have passed through English football. Look at Liverpool. They also went through English football, but back when the English league was the best in the world. They have won four European Cups in eight years. They left a legacy.
United have since added another. Liverpool have added two more. European royalty is counted all over the continent, you know.
If those words left in doubt as to why he had signed for the Reds years earlier and continued to hold them in high regard, another turn of phrase didn’t:
“I have never seen a shirt weigh so heavy. I felt like a fool playing for Liverpool. I thought all my teammates were much better. When they signed Paul Walsh, who I thought was a great player, I went to Joe Fagan and said: “I never want to feel bitter towards Liverpool, so will you let me go?” He told me to talk to QPR, and when I finally left Anfield on Christmas Eve when the first fans arrived for a game against West Ham, I cried like a baby. Even now, the biggest allegiance of my life, outside of my family, is to Liverpool. “
He came, he won, he went and made an even bigger and better career for himself. Michael Robinson, nunca camino solo.