Former Brighton and Hove Albion striker and FA Cup finalist dies

Posted On 28 Apr 2020 at 10:26 am

The former Brighton and Hove Albion striker Michael Robinson has died in Madrid at the age of 61.

Michael Robinson

Robinson, who played in the 1983 FA Cup final and replay, had been suffering from an untreatable melanoma.

He ended his playing career at Osasuna in Spain in 1989 and became a TV pundit, winning plaudits for his fluency and the way that he explained the game.

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Born in Leicester and raised in Blackpool, the Republic of Ireland international came to Brighton from Manchester City for £400,000, having started his career at Preston North End.

Robinson – or Robbo to the fans – became a Goldstone favourite and scored the winning semi-final goal against Sheffield Wednesday that took Albion to Wembley.

In the FA Cup final against Manchester United, in the final minute of extra time, with the score at 2-2, he passed to Gordon Smith, the scorer of Albion’s opening goal.

The BBC commentator Peter Jones famously said: “And Smith must score.”

But he didn’t. And Albion – already relegated from the top flight – lost the replay 4-0, with Smith and Robinson among the departures as Brighton adjusted to life in the Second Division.

Robinson went to Liverpool for £250,000 where in his first season the Reds won the league cup, the league championship and the European Cup.

He later joined Queen’s Park Rangers before his move to Osasuna where a knee injury ended his playing career.

Robinson’s family announced his death on his Twitter account, saying: “It is with tremendous sadness that we inform you of Michael’s death.

“We feel a great emptiness but will always have innumerable memories, full of the same love that you have shown him.

“We will be eternally grateful to you for making this man so happy. He never walked alone. Thank you.”

Michael Robinson

A week ago Robinson tweeted: “For all of you who are asking, I am still fighting. Thank you all very much for your interest and your expressions of affection.

“I see that I will never walk alone. I hear you like Anfield: ‘You’ll never walk alone!’

“Thank you from the heart and good luck in the lockdown.”

Albion chairman Tony Bloom said: “All of us at Brighton and Hove Albion were extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Michael Robinson.

“He still holds the club record for the most top-flight goals with 37 in the old First Division.

“For Albion fans of a certain vintage, we remember Michael in a blue and white shirt at the Goldstone, playing with enthusiasm, tenacity and endeavour, yet always with a big smile on his face.

“His place in our history books should not be underestimated. To score 19 top-flight goals in his first season with the club – and 43 goals in 133 appearances in total – speaks volumes for Michael’s ability but it will be the 1983 FA Cup run for which he will be particularly remembered.”

Robbo, as he was known, scored twice against his old club Manchester City in the 4th round, he teed up Gerry Ryan’s goal against Liverpool at Anfield and scored the winning goal against Sheffield Wednesday on that sunny semi-final day at Highbury.

Bloom added: “I still have the post-match image of Michael in my head, celebrating the victory with that radiant smile beaming across his face.

“With his undoubted quality, it came as no surprise when Liverpool signed Michael. During his spell on Merseyside he won the League Championship, European Cup and League Cup medals – what a tremendous haul.

“A highly successful post-playing career as a TV sports personality made him a huge personality in Spain, where his loss has also been felt.

“To read tributes from the likes of Rafael Nadal, Sergio Ramos and FC Barcelona reveals the esteem he was held in throughout the country.

“In fact the wonderfully warm tributes that we have all heard and read today are a reflection of the impact made by Michael, not just at the clubs he played for but throughout the football family and beyond.

“On behalf of the football club, I would like to pass on my condolences to Michael’s family and friends at this particularly sad time. We are thinking of you all.”

  1. Michael Hunt Reply

    One of Brighton’s best players in the former era. Met him once in the Springfield pub in those halcyon days of 1983, shortly before the FA cup semi-final against Sheffield Wednesday in which he scored the winner. Lovely guy – may he rest in peace

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