This was Robinson’s last interview at AS: “I should pay to play for Liverpool”

first_imgMichael Robinson has passed away this Tuesday, April 28, at the age of 61. AS wants to remember the last interview he gave the newspaper, just before the 2019 Champions League final between Liverpool and Tottenham at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid.Have the two best teams reached the final?I would say not. In recent years it is rare that the team that wins the European Cup is the best. In the last one Liverpool won in Istanbul, we came from being runners-up in the city: Everton was fourth and we fifth. Last year, without going any further, Madrid was more than 15 points behind the leader and Liverpool was fourth. Of course, this season Liverpool has been a worthy competitor in the Premier League, losing a single match and adding 97 points … And with that it was second!Do you have any scientific explanation that the four finalists were English?Football science is uncertain. For many years the Premier has had more money than any other league. The difference is that before, great footballers from all continents were signed but ended up playing a kind of English football with their Victorian canons. Now, the money from English football is no longer even English, and they do not look so much at footballers as at the architects of football.Coaches?It is the ideologues of football that have brought about the change. Sarri and Emery are two diametrically opposed coaches. Pocchetino and Klopp are very different. And Guardiola is different from the previous four. But they all do different football than what was played before in the Islands. If you don’t want to go to the market and you have a great technician, you can make up for it. This is the case of Tottenham with Pocchetino.How is the historical relationship between Liverpool and Tottenham?It is in the 60s when Liverpool begins to stand out. And then, Tottenham was way over the top. He had won a double, it was a clamorous team with a great striker, Jimmy Greaves. They had Dany Blanchflower, Dave Mackay, Cliff Jones, a winger who said he was as fast as Gento … And when they came to Anfield, they hardly ever beat us, but we all said, “Hey, these are coming …”.And later?The reign of Liverpool and Tottenham began, without going into a decline, it ended up being a team that was in the top ten but not above all. Then came Osvaldo Ardiles and Ricardo Villa. And they had a great midfielder, Glenn Hoddle … And they had become a rather cupbearer team and without regularity. It was always an attractive set, yes.And the idiosyncrasy of each of the clubs?Tottenham they say is the team of the Jews. And in fact Levy is the president of the club. They have a terrible rivalry with Arsenal, which was more of the aristocracy …And Liverpool?We were the poor and we even had to rent Anfield, because the owner was Everton. We ended up being the club of the working class. We call Everton the Toffees, the caramelitos. I still remember, when I was a child, that there were two ladies who had big baskets and threw candy to the public. And while that was happening, in Liverpool they were singing the songs of the Beatles, “I love you ye-ye-ye …”. More than a sporty environment, there was an irreverent one.Does Liverpool still smell like that?The owners are Americans, but I think so. It is waterproof in that sense. It would be even to a sheik, and it is because he will always have the same type of follower charged with romance. You see Anfield empty and it might seem, I don’t know, La Romareda. But once full it becomes La Scala in Milan.Liverpool have two finals in a row. Is it the start of a network cycle?Last year, against Madrid, there was no adult team. This one now is. They are a very good team. Alisson, Van Dijk, Fabinho have arrived … And I don’t see fatigue, but an evolving team. Let’s get more, there is Liverpool for a while.How much blame is Klopp?All He has an irresistible charisma. It’s hard not to love him, especially in bad times. He has a lyrical speech that he likes there.And Pochettino?He has made a very author team. And he has done it without signing. His seems to me more artisanal. I see him as more flexible, he is chameleonic, he has several styles, and I put a seven on all of them. Klopp only has one, but I give that one an eight or a nine.Let’s talk about his Liverpool … What did Robinson have to be the highest paid man in Liverpool?(Laughs) It was so because he came from Brighton, who had a lot of money and I was his scorer. They signed me 10 years! When Liverpool wanted to sign me they did not want to offer me less. But I didn’t ask for it.How was your signing?It was a summer of many rumors. Seville, United, Everton. Liverpool was the only one who hadn’t left. When my coach told me, I was surprised. He said: “You have to introduce yourself to Sir Johns, the manager of Liverpool, who is in Amsterdam with his team.”And there he went.And Sir Johns said to me, “How much money do you want?” My answer was clear: “I should pay to play here …”. And they ended up giving me something more than what I was charging, which was already a lot.And his companions?Well, I ended up being a really popular guy in the locker room, because because of me they ended up raising everyone’s salary (laughs).Do you remember the first time you entered that locker room? I joined La Línea in a summer tournament with Dinamo de Bucharest, Cádiz and Atlético. They were having dinner and I was nervous. I didn’t know whether to say hello or ask for an autograph …And what happened?There was a very large table and there was a hole next to Souness, I didn’t know what was for me. I admired them all so much! I had light belly. And look, it just so happened that he always scored goals against Liverpool. The thing is, Souness started talking: “I say on behalf of all the defenders and Grobbelaar that we are delighted that you are here.” And everyone started laughing. And he did something that was stupid to me, he introduced me to everyone saying their names … As if I didn’t know them!Was there a good spirit in that Liverpool?There was an inverted snobbery. I remember that we had one of those new coaches that came out, with TV … But they put one that didn’t work and they never changed it! After the matches, all the teams stopped for dinner in a restaurant. We used to do it anywhere to eat fish and chips in greasy papers. And we were clearly the best team in the world! Robbie Fowler was forced to sell a yellow Ferrari …Was ostentation an insult to that humble hobby?The day after my first workout with them I saw that my socks were hard, dirty. I looked at the second coach thinking it was a hazing. And the next day the same, and the next … And there were those who said to me: “I was surprised when I saw you make an entrance in the mud, staining yourself that way …” And they explained it to me: “There is a washing machine, but when we started being serial winners, in ’58, there was not. Mrs. Johns was the one who washed it next door once a week.”Didn’t they wash clothes because it was like that in ’58 when they started winning?It was an entity loaded with superstitions. Liverpool had its chef, something unthinkable at the time. We always traveled by plane with the same pilot, Burny, and with the same crew. There were hostesses who had already retired and were still coming. And never in Liverpool hotels were they allowed the typical chocolates that put you on the pillow …Why?Because in ’74 he inexplicably lost against Ajax. We got four. And Shankly found only one explanation: that they had been drugged with something in the chocolate. And since then he has not eaten anything in a hotel that was not made by our chef.Do you remember what coach Fagan said to them before the final against Roma in ’84?Yes, almost everything. He spoke at the hotel, we had stayed in some kind of low-end Holliday Inn. After lunch he asked Ruben, the scout, for the report from Roma. Ruben took out a piece of paper …Was the scout Spanish?No, no … Ruben was a Scotsman with bottle-butt glasses … And he was the scout! (laughs)Wow …It was a phenomenon. I remember how he took out that very wrinkled paper and ironed it with his hand. It was written in pen.It was another time.Fagan pulled out his glasses, which were missing a pin. It was all very funny. And he could not read what he put there … “The doorman is Tan … Tancredi”. At the third name he got tired and threw the paper away.AND?And he began his speech: “They will play with eleven. I don’t think they want to start at a disadvantage. There will be another 70,000 in the stadium, but they don’t play. And know one thing, I think you are the best soccer players in the world and they don’t They know how happy they make me as their coach. But also know that this will not be enough for them to win. To do so, they will have to behave well, do what they should. It is in their hands.Very credible …And then he put the icing on the cake: “As it is most likely that they win, I give them permission to redistribute themselves in the rooms now, because then we will come back drunk and I do not want to be confused. Come on up, do that and rest for a couple of hours.”Do not tell me.And there was a funny one who asked: “Can we take advantage of this time to be with our women?” And he replied: “Sex before a game does not bother a player. What bothers him is looking for him until four in the morning the day before a game.”How did you live that famous penalty shootout?It is very numbered, the truth … Fagan turned around with his cigarette and said: “Fix yourselves.” What I do not forget is the feeling of fear that I had as the penalties advanced and I saw that there was a possibility that I would have to shoot mine, which had the sixth. I was already thinking about the townhouse that would buy me in Mongolia to erase me from the map. It was a nightmare.Until Allan Kennedy marked his.With the ankle!Did you recognize it?He could not do the opposite, because we all saw him. The Olympian was speechless. Margareth Thatcher, due to violence problems and that, had not allowed our hobby to travel. We played against 70,000 Romans. And I think Souness was the only captain of a European Cup winning team that was not awarded the trophy. He directly ripped it from where it was located and showed it to 80,000 asses. People left fast. We took a lap of honor … Only in front of the Press! We felt like a command that had entered the enemy lines to take that Cup.last_img read more