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A-Z of West Midlands Football

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: April 16, 2014

By Tony Matthews

  • Bryan Robson

  • Phil Robinson

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PAUL ROBINSON, described as a left wing-back, scored five goals in 238 appearances for West Bromwich Albion before joining Bolton Wanderers, initially on loan in 2009, before signing permanently after a season..

Born in Watford in December 1978, he started his career with his hometown club, signing as an apprentice in April 1995 and turning professional in February 1997. He switched to Albion for £375,000 in October 2003, signed by manager Gary Megson to 'put pressure' on Neil Clement.

An all-action, strong and committed player, he was admired by many. He loved to push forward when the opportunity arose but annoyingly he accumulated far too many yellow and, indeed, red cards, which resulted in several suspensions, certainly when he was at Vicarage Road.

In all fairness, he became far more disciplined after moving to The Hawthorns and helped Albion regain their Premiership status at the end of his first season with the club. His first goal for the Baggies was a dramatic last minute equaliser against Aston Villa (away) in April 2005 (1-1). Skippering Albion in the 1-0 defeat to Derby County in the 2007 Football League play-off final at Wembley, he spent three years overall with Bolton, and after a loan spell with Leeds United and a trial with Toronto FC in Canada (August 2012) he joined Birmingham City on a one month contract, signing permanently for the Blues in October 2012.

Capped three times by England at U21 level before joining Albion, Paul passed the 660 appearance-mark at club level in 2014.

PHIL ROBINSON was equally adept in defence or midfield and always gave a good account of himself on the field of play.

Born in Stafford on 6 January 1967 and educated at Rising Brook High School, he represented Staffordshire & District Schools before joining Aston Villa as a junior at the age of 14. He progressed through the ranks and signed professional forms in January 1985. He made only three appearances in the claret and blue strip before transferring to Wolves for £5,000 in June 1987. Ninety appearances and nine goals later he moved to Notts County for £67,500 (August 1989) before having a loan spell with Birmingham City (12 games during March-May 1991).

Thereafter he played for Huddersfield Town, Northampton Town, Chesterfield, Notts County (again), Stoke City and Hereford United (as player-coach). He retired in 2002 to become manager of Stafford Rangers, having amassed 554 club appearances, scoring 51 goals.

He won the Fourth and Third Division championships with Wolves in successive seasons in the late 1980s, was a member of the club's Sherpa Van Trophy winning team, helped Notts County gain promotion from Division Three and Blues win the Leyland DAF Cup in 1991. He is now involved in physiotherapy.

STEVE ROBINSON scored twice in 94 first-class games for Birmingham City between June 1991 and February 2001. A midfielder, born in Nottingham in January 1975, he played Nottingham schoolboy football before moving to St Andrew's and after a loan spell with Peterborough United, March-May 1996, he left Blues for Swindon Town, later assisting Lincoln City, Worksop Town and Grantham United.

TOM ROBINSON was an inside-left who made just ten first team appearances for Birmingham during his five-years with the club: 1928-33.

Born in Coalville, Leicestershire in February 1909 and now deceased, he joined Blackpool on leaving St Andrew's and was later a player with Chesterfield, Lincoln City, Northampton Town, Gillingham, Walsall (scoring one goal in 15 games in season 1937-38), Tonbridge Wells and Nuneaton Borough, retiring during WW2.

WILLIE ROBINSON was a very effective utility forward, able to play in any front-line position. He scored 32 goals in 86 appearances for Walsall whom he served in three separate spells during a period of six years: 1907-13. Born in the town in 1888, he also assisted Lincoln City (1908) and Derby County (1909). Willie died circa 1945.

BRYAN ROBSON, OBE, was a dynamic midfielder who could also defend when required! He scored 46 goals in 249 appearances for Albion before joining Manchester United for a record £1.5 million in October 1981.

Born in Witton Gilbert, Chester-le-Street, County Durham in January 1957, he played for Chester-le-Street Council and Birtley Comprehensive Schools, Washington & Chester-le-Street Schools, Chester-le-Street Cubs FC (May 1970), had a trial with Burnley, Coventry City and Newcastle United before signing for Albion as an apprentice in April 1972, turning professional in August 1974.

He was a guest player with Happy Valley in Hong Kong in July 1980 before his transfer to Old Trafford (recruited by his former Baggies' boss Ron Atkinson).

An aggressive competitor with an endless supply of dynamic stamina, 'Robbo' had awareness, was creative, possessed excellent passing skills and a powerful shot, was a superb header of the ball and had an appetite for hard work.

He made his Football League debut against York City in a Second Division match in April 1975, in front of just 7,566 spectators at Bootham Crescent. He also played in 58 second XI games for Albion and netted 15 goals.

He went on to captain England over 60 times in 90 senior internationals, scoring 26 goals, including one inside the first half-minute in the 1982 World Cup clash against France in Spain. One of the finest midfield players in world football, he participated in three World Cups for his country and besides his quota of full caps, he also appeared in two 'B' and seven U21 internationals, having earned youth honours as a teenager.

He won medals galore with Manchester United including successive Premiership titles (1992-93 and 1993-94), three FA Cup final victories (1983, 1985 and 1990) and European Cup-winner's Cup success (1991), also collecting a League Cup runner's-up medal (1991)... all this after he had helped Albion win promotion from the Second Division under manager Johnny Giles, a former United player of course.

'Pop' as he was also called, starred in 465 first-team games for Manchester United (100 goals scored) before joining Middlesbrough as player-manager in May 1994, retiring as a player in May 1997, but remaining as manager until June 2001.

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