Bryan Robson OBE

Bryan Robson was most recently a global ambassador for Manchester United.

Robson was simply Captain Marvel, a colossus that stood astride the game when playing. His box-to-box lung busting runs, desire to win and energy, made him the finest midfielder of his time, and when his playing career finished many expected him to continue in the same vein as a manager, but life is not that simple, and the road to success is full of twist and turns, as Robbo has found out.

Though in his first job, he was a relative success, managing Middlesbrough for seven years, from 31st May 1994 until 5th June 2001, taking them from one of their lowest points at Ayresome Park through an emotional journey that included a move into a new ground, three cup finals and establishing the Teesside club back among the elite of English football, he has since experienced life on the other side as a footballing outcast.

His playing career was begun with West Bromich Albion before a then record £1.5 million move to Manchester United in 1981. He went on to captain United to numerous League and Cup glories during an unforgettable career, picking up three FA Cup winners' medals, two Premier League Champions' medals and a European Cup Winners Cup medal, and he will always be remembered as a legend at Old Trafford.

He took up his first managerial post with 'Boro during the summer of 1994, beginning as player/manager before hanging up his boots in January 1998. He last played for Boro at Arsenal on New Years' Day 1997 becoming the oldest ever player to appear for the first team.

In his first full season in charge he led the club back into the Premier League as they moved into their new home at The Riverside, and within four years he had taken them to three cup finals.

The 1996/97 season was the ultimate rollercoaster ride for the Teessiders as 'Boro made two trips to Wembley and were relegated. Their first final defeat came in the League Cup final where they drew 1-1 with Leicester City, losing 1-0 after extra time in the replay at Hillsborough; the second was in the FA Cup, where they lost out to Chelsea, 2-0, a week after losing their Premiership status.

Robson guided them back into the top flight the following season, as First Division runners-up, and managed to keep them up until his departure at the end of the 2000/01 season.

With the consistent backing of his chairman, Bryan played a crucial role in bringing top quality players to the club, helped greatly by his own reputation as one of the game's greatest players throughout the 1980s, winning 90 England caps, 65 as captain.

After leaving Middlesbrough, Robson himself expressed his desire to return to management, or even coaching, if the right offer came and was linked with several posts before his appointment at the Bradford and Bingley Stadium.

He spent some of his two-and-a-half years out of the profession back at his former club, Manchester United, where he helped with training at the invitation of his old boss Sir Alex Ferguson. He also worked as a pundit on televised games, particularly during the 2002 World Cup.

It seemed likely that Robson's next job would come in the international arena in fact, as he came very close to becoming the manager of the Nigerian national team in November 2003. However, the appointment never materialised, reportedly for financial reasons, and just a few weeks later Bryan became the new manager of Bradford, filling the vacant post left by Nicky Law's sacking.

He was joined at the Yorkshire club by another ex-Middlesbrough manager, Colin Todd, who was brought in to lend his considerable coaching and managerial experience to a club that was in desperate need of a change in form and fortunes.

On the day their appointments were announced, the new duo at the Bradford City helm were faced with the task of lifting the club from second bottom of Division One, with a team who had won just three of their first 19 games of the season.

In November 2004 when he was appointed as the new boss of West Bromwich Albion, taking over after Gary Megson's departure.

West Bromwich Albion were Robson's first love, as that was where he began his playing career, back in 1974 as apprentice. He made his league debut the following year against York City, and the rest as they say is history. Within five years he had been handed his first England cap against the Republic of Ireland and following more than 225 appearances for West Brom (including 46 goals) he moved to Manchester United in October 1981 for a British record fee of £1.5million.

Robson signed a 12-month rolling contract and brought England Under-20 coach Nigel Pearson in as his number two, in November 2004.

In the 2004/05 season, Robson defied all the odds to help keep West Brom in the Premier League with a 2–0 home win over Portsmouth on the final day of the season.

After leaving West Brom in September 2006, Robson was manager of Sheffield United from May 2007 to February 2008, before later becoming the manager of Thailand.

Honours (1)
  • promotions
    • Middlesbrough:
      • Promotion to Barclays Premiership, (1995-05-17)
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