Paul Robinson: The Lonely Life of the Goalkeeper

In part two, Paul Robinson tells how Leeds United’s glorious ride came to its crashing end. It was a time of layoffs and fire sales, and he movingly describes how financial implosion affects a football club. But he sympathises with then chairman Peter Ridsdale, a man who loved the Whites, a man who was only guilty of chasing his dreams.

After Leeds, Paul formed a second love – Tottenham Hotspur. He won the League Cup there and managed to switch off from his little son’s illness when he crossed the Wembley white line. Happily, Robinson junior is now thriving as a talented cricketer. At Spurs, Paul loved playing behind Ledley King – his favourite centre-half, and under Martin Jol – a tremendous man manager. There’s also great chat about coping with mavericks like Dimitar Berbatov and Mark Viduka, and how Leeds at last now face a brighter future.

Paul could be described as the goalkeepers’ goalkeeper – a man who has pondered the psychology of the role. He knows the torment that follows a blunder (it was timely that I caught up with him just hours after Adrian’s nightmare performance for Liverpool against Atlético, as described in part one). You need to have a golfer’s mentality, Paul says, to immediately put the last mistake behind you. Don’t go chasing the game, don’t try to make up for it or you’ll make things worse. He learned this the hard way – playing for England he was unfairly blamed for a crazy Croatia goal and it took him nearly two years to get over it.

Enjoy.

Graham.

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