I love Paul Robinson. No, not the peg-legged arch villain from Neighbours, nor the impostor that plays for Bolton. I’m referring to the real Paul Robinson. The one that used to play in goal for Spurs.

The reason I love Paul Robinson so much is because of his relationship with the fans. It doesn’t take much of an effort from a player to get the crowd on his side, but surprisingly few of them bother to interact with the supporters in any way. It’s worth the effort though. Look at how Didier Zokora got people to ignore the fact that he was useless for so long by doing that silly dance.

Robbo always made an effort and because of this, became a cult figure with the Park Lane crowd. From where I stand (because all seater stadiums aren’t actually forcible if you just show a little collective solidarity) I can’t see the scoreboard. This was never a problem when dear old Robbo was around. Whenever you asked him the score, he would display it via the medium of his hands.

Unlike other players, he never took the chanting of his name for granted. On every occasion he’d give us a thumbs up to let us know that he appreciated our support.

In his first couple of seasons at Spurs he was terrific for us. It was always clear that he was never going to be Pat Jennings when it came to dealing with crosses, but his shot stopping was exceptional. He became England’s number one, which the Park Lane would remind him of whenever they had the opportunity.

Then in his third season, Robinson’s form started to become more erratic. He got a lot of stick after a Gary Neville pass back bobbled over his foot and into the net, while on duty for England against Croatia. The incident seemed to have an effect on his confidence at club level, particularly when it came to crosses.

In his fourth season things went from bad to worse. Martin Jol was sacked early on and his replacement Juande Ramos wasn’t the type of manager to shore up the defence, which might have helped to rebuild Robinson’s confidence.

Robinson was eventually dropped for Radek Cerny and though he won back his place to play against Chelsea in the Carling Cup final, his season and Spurs career, ended in failure. His last game for Spurs was a 4-1 home loss to Newcastle, in which the fans’ favourite did not exactly cover himself in glory.

In the summer of 2008, Robbo joined Blackburn Rovers. Juande Ramos and Tottenham replaced him with Heurelho Gomes, who would go on to make a string of errors in his first few months at the club. It wasn’t until Harry Redknapp took charge and appointed Tony Parks as a goalkeeping coach, that Gomes’ form started to improve. Is it impossible that a manager like Redknapp might have been able to restore Robinson’s form in a similar manner?

I guess we’ll never know. Instead we’re left with a date in the diary that is always a little more special for fans in the Park Lane than it really should be. It’s the day when Paul Robinson and Blackburn Rovers come to White Hart Lane and we all get to show him how highly he is still regarded at Tottenham.

It was a great shame that Robbo picked up an injury in the first half, because during a pretty boring start to the game, the only thing that was lifting our spirits was the chanting towards our former goalkeeper. “You’re Spurs and you know you are” we sang. Robinson’s grin told us that we weren’t far wrong.

I leave you with a video that sums up Paul Robinson and his relationship with the Tottenham crowd. We’re away to Slavia Prague and the Spurs fans start a chant: “Robbo, give us a song…”

Having got the man’s attention, a call of “shush” quietens the mob. Though separated from the crowd by an athletics track, Robbo’s Yorkshire accent comes booming towards the stands: “Stand up if you hate Arsenal…”

Paul Robinson. Tottenham legend.

TottenhamBlog are looking for new writers. CLICK HERE to find out more information.

SHARE

15 COMMENTS

  1. Nice post, the vid made me laugh too. I would still love tyo have him at the club, but i think that he wouldn’t make it as our number1 goalie. But Redknapp would rebuild his confidence and he would improve. Would take him back any day.
    Oh and I must say I Was really happy to see that Huddlestone signed a new 5 year deal with us today.

  2. Good Video – Steffen Freund was another player who was very average but became a firm favourite with supporters because of his interaction with them

  3. Like most, if not all, I gave Robbo a great reception and was sad to see him depart the pitch prematurely on Saturday. He’s a top bloke and definitely had a rapport with us as fans.

    That said, I’m glad he wasn’t playing in Lilywhite. Gomes is a much better keeper than Robbo ever was and ever will be. I still remember the nightmares of having Robbo between the sticks – especially the anxiety attacks at every corner/free kick.

    He served a purpose and he’ll always get a lot of support from the WHL faithful, but he’ll only ever be “England’s Number One” on the terraces.

  4. Robbo loves Spurs that is clear to see, even when we played Leeds a few weeks back (his hometown club and who is supported as a boy) he said he had divided loyalities. I was sad to see him leave, yes he had some bad performances that year but I seem to recall so did most of the team. He has what it takes to be a top keeper and I would love to see him back at the Lane

  5. As a Spurs fan, I also hold Paul in high esteem. He has had his bad days like most footballers but he has also made some fantastic saves during his years at the Lane, particularly in our match against Chelsea in the Carling Cup final a few years back which we won. It was thanks to Paul. We all love him despite the fact he is no longer playing for us. Who knows if he will not come back to us one day?…

  6. At the Slavia Prague game Robbo also joined in when the fans encourgaed a young woman to lift her top and get them out for the lads. To chants of Whooooooo Robbo lifted his top which got a huge cheer anyone watching at home on TV must have wondered what the Spurs faithful were cheering about.

    Another Time in Braga I met Robbo outside the team hotel just after the Wet Spam game and he was still smiling and said to me and my mate to win against them like that was better than 5-0 absolutely watching their hearts break was brilliant for the faithful and Robbo knew it

  7. Great video! That’s hilarious! Unfortunately I feel it was the correct decision to have him move on, both from Spurs’ point of view and from Robinson’s. Both club and player needed a change. Really was a top bloke though, and has been missed. Hope you recover from your injury quickly Paul!

  8. “particularly in our match against Chelsea in the Carling Cup final a few years back which we won. It was thanks to Paul.”

    You must be joking – Drogba’s opening goal from a free kick came from a very basic positional error from Robinson, beaten on his own side by a low side-foot as a result of straying too far behind his wall as usual. And that was despite Drogba having narrowly missed the same corner from a similar free kick a few minutes earlier.

    Robinson is a good bloke and had a great relationship with the fans, but had significant weaknesses as a keeper. As well as being poor on crosses he didn’t make enough of the difficult saves – yes, he had great reactions for shots that were within reach and a good height, but this was more than offset by poor positioning and lack of agility which meant he was never that likely to pluck one out of the top corner and was very vulnerable to well struck low shots.

    Gomes might have made a few high-profile errors but overall he’s a much better keeper, as is born out by both our goals against column and his own stats since he took over. He lets in a far lower proportion of shots on target, and regularly makes genuinely goal-saving, wouldn’t-have-expected-him-to-get-to-that saves of the sort we rarely saw from Robinson.

  9. As fas as I remember, (unless we are referring to different matches) in that Carling Cup final against Chelsea which we won, Woodgate, through a fine header, scored the only goal of the match. Paul had been able to keep a clean sheet. I have never said that Paul is a better keeper than Gomes (in fact, I do not think so). They both have their strengths and weaknesses. One thing to note, however, is that Paul is excellent at kicking the ball far out (in this he is better than Gomes) and has even been able to score once. I am only trying to be fair to Paul who will always be fondly remembered by all the Spurs fans, including myself. Paul knows this and he is still very close to us despite the fact he is no longer playing for us. As the no. 1 England goalkeeper for several years while playing for us, he will be remembered as a legend for Spurs.

  10. JOHN ADAM – we won the Carling cup final 2-1.
    0-1 Drogba free kick
    1-1 Berbatov penalty levelled it up and it went into extra time 2-1 Woodgate scored the winner.

  11. Loved that vid! Saved it in my favorites list quite some time ago.

    I will always reserve a special place in my heart for Robbo. The fans loved him. The players did too. If it wasn’t just for that last run during his career at Spurs, then he would still be around today leading the chants.

LEAVE A REPLY