MADRID: Former Liverpool and Republic of Ireland striker Michael Robinson has died at 61.
Robinson, who also played for Manchester City, Brighton, Preston and QPR, helped Liverpool win the European Cup, First Division title and League Cup in his only full season at Anfield in 1983-84. He finished his career with a two-year spell at Spanish club Osasuna and remained in the country following his retirement, going on to become a well-known broadcaster.
Robinson revealed in December 2018 that he had been diagnosed with a malignant melanoma.
Liverpool’s former Spain internationals Xabi Alonso and Luis Garcia posting their condolences on Twitter.
Alonso wrote: “You’ll never walk alone Michael!! Rest in peace.” Garcia wrote: “R.I.P Michael Robinson. The Liverpool legend that got in all the Spanish homes with his fantastic commentaries every Weekend !! #YNWA.”
Robinson’s former club Liverpool said on Twitter: “We’re deeply saddened by the passing of former player Michael Robinson, aged 61.
“The thoughts of everybody at Liverpool Football Club are with Michael’s family and friends at this sad time.”Rest in peace, Michael.”
The Spanish ffederation said in a statement: “The RFEF wishes to join the pain of the football world over the death of Michael Robinson. All of us who form this institution wish to express our condolences to their family and friends. Rest in peace.”
When Michael Robinson signed for Liverpool he was told by chairman John Smith: “We don’t sign great footballers, we sign people who are great at football.”
Fifty-two appearances later the player could vouch for that with winners’ medals for the European Cup, Division One title and the League Cup – an average of one trophy every 17 matches.
However, those people who were great at football meant his career at Anfield lasted less than 18 months after finding it difficult playing second fiddle to the brilliant Ian Rush-Kenny Dalglish partnership.
Robinson had been a boy on the Kop in the 1960s after his father, also a professional footballer, and mother moved from Leicester to Blackpool.
After spells at Preston, Manchester City and Brighton, Robinson – a losing FA Cup finalist with the Seagulls – found himself flying to a hotel in Holland in the summer of 1983 to be greeted by Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan, Smith and club secretary Peter Robinson after a £250,000 fee was agreed.
“I will never forget what Mr Smith said,” Robinson, who forgot his passport for the flight and required his future wife Chris to race to the airport with it, recalled.
“‘Michael, at Liverpool we don’t sign great footballers, we sign people who are great at football’.”
Having already wrapped up the league and League Cup in his first season, Robinson found himself coming on as an extra-time substitute in the European Cup final against Roma in their own stadium with the score at 1-1.
He declined the opportunity to take a penalty in the shoot-out but Alan Kennedy ensured the club’s fourth European Cup came home with them.
The arrival of Paul Walsh that summer signalled the beginning of the end for Robinson and by December he had left for QPR and the dream was over.
Two years followed at Osasuna, with Robinson admitting he did not know where it was in Spain or that it was not a place in its own right.
Having arrived not speaking a word of Spanish he went on to mentor another ex-Red Steve McManaman when he moved to Real Madrid and impressively carved out a successful career as a television sports presenter, a role which resulted in Real Madrid president Florentino Perez trying to get him fired because of his criticism of his club.
Robinson’s media work was not limited just to football. He would go on to cover cycling, tennis and rugby union amongst other sports, while he voiced the Ugly Sister in the Spanish version of Shrek 2.
It was during a media appearance on Spanish radio in December 2018 he revealed he had an incurable, advanced malignant melanoma.