Sunday 14 October 2018

'Gobby' bares his soul

The new book by Michael Calvin State of Play reproduces a long interview with Karl Robinson in which the former Charlton manager explains the 'principles' with which he approaches the task of management. It is hardly profound and illuminating, but Calvin describes Robinson as 'young but hugely experienced. A progressive coach, a developer rather than a dictator.'

What it doesn't mention is that 'Gobby' couldn't keep his mouth shut, although he could always talk a good game, even if any resemblance between his remarks and what happened on the pitch was largely coincidental.

Apparently, Robinson phoned Calvin from a M25 traffic jam to say he was on his way out. It would seem that Lee Bowyer had asked Harry Kewell, his former Leeds teammate, about rumours that the Australian consortium intended to bring in Kewell as manager. As it happened, Kewell turned out to be a mirage like Skippy the kangaroo who was supposed to be the new mascot.

However, Calvin reckons that once Kewell confirmed his interest, Robinson's fate was sealed.

The author does acknowledge that Charlton is a club with 'impassioned support [much reduced], a productive youth policy [certainly for selling on] and a viable chance of promotion.'

Calvin also gives it large to Roland, describing his as a 'disrespectful, contemptuous form of investment.' Robinson told him: 'When I came into the club I was told that it was only 1 per cent of his life. His concept was, "I've got millions in this business, and millions in that business. I've got so many other things to take care of." That's immediately translated as "you don't really matter." So you've an owner that basically has said "You're nothing to my life."'

During Robinson's 16 months as supremo, Roland never attended a match and his much vaunted 'live feed' seem to consist of a helping of moules et frites. Robinson visited him twice and they spoke on the phone six times.

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