Friday, 6 January 2012

The Rise & Fall of Paul William Robinson

England's number one, so went the not most complicated of chants. Spurs history of 'keepers has been a slightly chequered one, from the greats of Ditchburn and Jennings through to the lesser well remembered Mimms & Keller.
Since possibly Ray Clemence Tottenham never again had a solid reliable stopper between the posts, this coupled with our then legendary dodgy and ever changing defence hardly helped matters.
If anything our goalies have been.....well....just above average....what they lacked in ability they made up for in crowd interaction (Erik the Viking) or an of the time trendy middle parting (Ian Walker)
Sure Walker was England's number one briefly but the way he smiled to himself every time he let a goal in didn't help but make him less than convincing.
Every top club had a top 'keeper, 'build from the back' is the saying isn't it? But it wasn't until the signing of Robbo that we felt at last we had found our missing piece.

I remember hearing of Robbo early on, Nigel Martyn was number one @ Leeds Utd at the time and was considered to be up there with David Seaman as far as goalkeepers went (he was even voted Leeds Utd's Best Goalkeeper of All Time by the fans), but some midweek cup heroics started to get Robinson noticed and when Martyn upset the then Leeds Boss El Tel  he stepped up and never looked back.

Robinson's last season up North wasn't the best - after all Leeds were relegated, but Spurs had obviously been keeping tabs on him, for the sometime maligned David Pleat was quick enough to snap him up for just £1.5m pounds.

Being between the sticks @ White Hart Lane makes a player the closest relation to the hard core support - both emotionally & geographically, we ask him the score, to give us a wave even, he throws his gloves into the crowd & a bond is built - I was there when the Park Lane faithful sang 'Happy Birthday' to him even unfurling a banner in his honour (sad but true!)
To have a decent 'keeper again was a novelty as a Spurs fan and how good was it to sing to any travelling set of supporters that we had "England's Number One" in goal?

Inevitably though confidence plays a huge part on a player's form and goalkeeper is a position where every mistake is magnified and analysed. Robbo just never recovered from his mishaps and it was a shame to see his decline. In a world of 'If onlys' a Paul Robinson in his prime could have given us that extra push we needed when Harry first took over and with our new number one Brad Friedel still going strong in his forties, who's to say we won't see Robbo's return?

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