Paul Robinson has been the seldom seen kid at Birmingham City this season. Indeed, when people have seen his name on the team sheet in the last few games, there have been a fair few that have probably gulped with apprehension.
Not me though, I was glad that our Club Captain was properly back in the fold. In fact, I thought that his inclusion in a Blues Starting XI in the league was long overdue. When a defence is looking shaky (and ours has been shaking like it is in the epicentre of an earthquake), you want someone who isn’t going to be intimidated, someone who isn’t going to wilt and someone who is going to pass that stoicism on to others around him.
And his solidity, his doggedness and his tenacity has been more than noticeable. He has been one of our best players (if not our best player) in the past few games; a plucky defeat against Reading and a much-needed win against Fulham. He has been a spearhead in what have been by far our most stable defences compared to the other backlines that Gianfranco Zola has put out as Blues manager. I think the last three games have shown our manager that for all the flicks and tricks, flair and fancy stuff…sometimes you just want a defender who, in the words of Neil Warnock, “will head it and f***ing kick it”.
So why some people seemed surprised when Mr Zola says he is planning to give him a new contract is baffling to me. I don’t know why he wouldn’t; even in his late thirties, if he can still be that defensive H-Bomb to obliterate an opposition’s attacks, if he can be the spike to burst any bubbling threat from the other side’s Number Nine and if he can inspire others around him to be the same, then even if he can only do these things sporadically it is just common sense to keep him available as a player.
But even when not on the pitch, I don’t think his positive contribution to the club simply stops. The advice he passes on to other players, particularly the younger ones, can potentially be invaluable. Be it an informal word in the dressing room, instructions given during in the more structured environment of a coaching session, or be it simply being a visible example of how a top professional should behave on a daily basis – what he has to offer can only be good.
Moreover, I think Robbo has earned a place at this club for the service he has given the club down the years. He wasn’t thumping in goals in more fruitful days of Joe Bradford or Bob Latchford; in fact, for a lot of the time the teams has been involved with have been pretty hopeless. But he has always been a beacon of hope and pillar of strength in those dark days for the vast majority of Blues fans. There are a few reptilious saddoes who have hated him since he simply gave a right of reply when there were those giving him mindless abuse after a defeat at Bournemouth a couple of years ago and there are a few even sadder cases who hate him because of a slightly over the top tackle on a Blues player when playing for the Albion over a decade ago. To be quite honest though, most of them belong at V***a Park. Proper Blues fans can only hold him in the cult hero category, players like Bradford and Latchford have been held in and we should aim to keep someone like that around as long as he can be of service to us.
What do you think, does Robbo deserve a new contract? Comment below or tweet us @bcfcfollowers!