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A-Z of West Midlands Football

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: April 23, 2014

A very young Bryan Robson

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He made just 27 appearances for 'Boro, yet twice guided them into the Premiership as manager, in 1995 and 1998, and also took them to three Cup finals, sadly losing them all – the FA Cup (1997) and the League Cup twice ('97 and '98).

He signed some star players for 'Boro, including the Brazilian Juninho, Paul Gascoigne, Nick Barmby, Paul Merson and the Italian Fabrizio Ravanelli.

He retired with 832 competitive appearances under his belt (for club and country) and claimed 172 goals.

Briefly with Nigeria as manager/coach in October 2003, Bryan then served as manager of Bradford City (November 2003-May 2004) and then, following the sacking of Gary Megson, he returned to The Hawthorns as manager in November 2004.

He immediately brought in Nigel Pearson, the former Shrewsbury Town, Sheffield Wednesday and Middlesbrough defender and now boss of Leicester City, as his assistant. His first game in charge of the Baggies was against Middlesbrough in the Premiership, which Albion lost 2-1. His third was against Manchester United.

He finally recorded his first win as Albion boss in a third round FA Cup tie at Preston (his 11th game in charge) and overall he did a good job as boss at The Hawthorns. He helped the Baggies avoid relegation at the end of that 2004-05 season when, having been bottom of the table at Christmas, Albion beat the drop by defeating Portsmouth 2-0 at home in their very last match to pull off what was described at the time as the 'Great Escape' as no team had ever propped up the table in December and avoided demotion five months later.

After leaving The Hawthorns Bryan took over as manager of Sheffield United (May 2007-February 2008); he then returned to Manchester United as the club's ambassador, (March 2008), was national team coach of Thailand (September 2009-June 2011) and is still associated with Manchester United (at 2014).

* His book, entitled 'Robbo: My Autobiography' was released in May 2006. He has also been the subject of the TV programme This Is Your Life, and was a contestant in the BBC's Super Stars programme, screened in January 2005.

Bryan underwent surgery in Bangkok on 3 March 2011 for throat cancer. Thankfully all went well and I understand he is now doing fine.

Seven years earlier, in the summer of 2007, he formed a specialist sports company, Robson Lloyd Consultancy Ltd, with an aim to build community sports academies with long-lasting benefits for small Football clubs.

In March 2010, The Daily Telegraph published an article claiming that retired England footballer Steve McMahon and Bryan had used their celebrity status to encourage investors to purchase Green belt land plots in Hounslow with a very limited chance of return. On 18 July 2011, on an episode of the Channel 4 television programme Dispatches entitled 'How to Buy a Football Club', Bryan was secretly filmed by reporters during an undercover investigation. In the film, he describes how the reporters, who posed as businessmen, could break the strict Football Association rules that prevent individuals and/or groups from owning multiple football clubs. He also lists a number of clubs he considers as prime targets for take over. Nothing came of this.

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