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Category: Bryan Robson

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Juninho: ‘I should not have left English football when I did’

The little genius talks about his time at Middlesbrough, his vision for Brazilian football and his love of Heinz Baked BeansBy Yellow & Green Football for the Guardian Sport NetworkIt’s the morning after Brazil beat Peru in the Copa América final t…

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The Joy of Six: football player-managers

From Bryan Robson’s ups and downs after a cross-dressed unveiling at Boro to Attilio Lombardo’s train-wreck tenure at Palace, the dual role has mixed results

As he smiled for the cameras, Bryan Robson had the look of a man who was halfway through changing by the side of the pitch after leaving work late for his weekly five-a-side match. Above the waist, he wore a suit jacket, a shirt and a tie and he was holding a Middlesbrough scarf above his head; nothing controversial about that. But below the waist, he was wearing football shorts and socks and had a ball underneath his left foot. The baffling clash of styles raised several questions. Above all, why? Why wasn’t he wearing any shoes? Was he wearing shinpads? If he was wearing shinpads, why? And if he wasn’t wearing shinpads, why not? It was a sartorial disaster – the equivalent of serving a bowl of cereal alongside a steak; what happens when you’re too embarrassed to ask what smart casual means.

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Ryan Giggs ready to manage Manchester United, says Bryan Robson

• Robson believes Giggs should get job if Louis van Gaal departs
• ‘He’s in the right place at the right time,’ says former United captain

Ryan Giggs is ready to become Manchester United’s next manager if Louis van Gaal is shown the door a year early at the end of this season, according to the former club captain Bryan Robson.

José Mourinho has been tipped to takeover at Old Trafford but Robson says the United great Giggs, assistant to Van Gaal, would be a perfect choice.

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Where have all the blood-sweat-and-tears football captains gone? | Jacob Steinberg

John Terry’s likely departure from Chelsea feels like a potentially defining moment for the Captain, Leader, Legend species, whose existence appears under threat

A few pages into Gary Neville’s autobiography, when he is explaining how much it meant for him to play for Manchester United and how starstruck he was when he first stepped inside the first-team dressing room as a wide-eyed teenager, there is a passage about Bryan Robson that captures the essence of why supporters love the idea of a leader whose sheer force of will could turn a brick wall into dust. “Robson was my idol,” Neville wrote. “He flogged himself to the end of every game and gave blood, sweat and tears. When he burst into the box, it was like his life depended on it. Everything was a fight and a battle.”

Your dad has probably told you on countless occasions that they don’t make footballers like Robson any more: the original Captain Marvel, he was a galvanising presence who was never afraid to put his body on the line for the good of his team, cajoling, straining, never stopping to think before running into a burning building and saving the day. If he got burnt, it merely added to his aura and he ended his career as a United and England legend, albeit one who might have achieved even more if he had not spent so long on the treatment table.

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Where have all the blood-sweat-and-tears football captains gone? | Jacob Steinberg

John Terry’s likely departure from Chelsea feels like a potentially defining moment for the Captain, Leader, Legend species, whose existence appears under threat

A few pages into Gary Neville’s autobiography, when he is explaining how much it meant for him to play for Manchester United and how starstruck he was when he first stepped inside the first-team dressing room as a wide-eyed teenager, there is a passage about Bryan Robson that captures the essence of why supporters love the idea of a leader whose sheer force of will could turn a brick wall into dust. “Robson was my idol,” Neville wrote. “He flogged himself to the end of every game and gave blood, sweat and tears. When he burst into the box, it was like his life depended on it. Everything was a fight and a battle.”

Your dad has probably told you on countless occasions that they don’t make footballers like Robson any more: the original Captain Marvel, he was a galvanising presence who was never afraid to put his body on the line for the good of his team, cajoling, straining, never stopping to think before running into a burning building and saving the day. If he got burnt, it merely added to his aura and he ended his career as a United and England legend, albeit one who might have achieved even more if he had not spent so long on the treatment table.

Continue reading…


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Louis van Gaal has Manchester United hierarchy’s support, says Bryan Robson

• Former captain says manager experienced pressure at other clubs
• ‘The title is still there, though I believe we aren’t good enough to win it’

Bryan Robson insists Louis van Gaal retains Manchester United’s support, claiming the Dutchman can deliver success when under pressure.

The manager’s position at United has come under intense scrutiny this season, especially with the club at one stage going five Premier League games without a win.

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When Paul Gascoigne played for Radcliffe Borough against a Man Utd XI

On 24 July 2004 Gascoigne flew in from Germany, where he had been playing in a charity game with Michael Schumacher, to run Radcliffe’s midfield while barely moving from the centre-circle

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Bryan Robson: Roy Keanes book unwelcome and unnecessary

Robson says Keane should focus on positives John Barnes: what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas Roy Keane takes aim at Uniteds old boys mafia Continue reading…

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Bryan Robson: Roy Keanes book unwelcome and unnecessary

Robson says Keane should focus on positives John Barnes: what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas Roy Keane takes aim at Uniteds old boys mafia Continue reading…

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Bryan Robson: Roy Keanes book unwelcome and unnecessary

Robson says Keane should focus on positives John Barnes: what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas Roy Keane takes aim at Uniteds old boys mafia Continue reading…

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Roy Keane takes aim at Manchester Uniteds old boys mafia

Roy Keane says former players reluctant to criticise United Paddy Crerand and Bryan Robson still on contracts at club Keane: The stuff Ferguson fed the press was basic lies Continue reading…

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Memory Lane: 1980s footballers at home in pictures

As time and tide wait for no man, including footballers, we thought its time to check out the homes of some footballers of the 1980s, including a couple of players featuring in our look at 1970s footballers at home Continue reading…

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The 10 goals of the season in the 1980s

Match of the Days annual goal of the season award featured some classics in the 1980s, with Bryan Robson, John Aldridge and Kenny Dalglish all honoured. Who was unlucky to miss out? Continue reading…

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How will Wayne Rooney measure up? 12 key post-war England captains

Roy Hodgsons choice as England captain has some tough acts to follow, notably Bobby Moore and Gary Lineker Wayne Rooney named England captain Continue reading…

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Bryan Robson: England have no outstanding candidate as captain

Steven Gerrards international retirement leaves vacuum It does worry me a bit for Englands future, says Robson Continue reading…

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An A-Z of the Mexico 86 World Cup

From Argentina to Zico via Gary Lineker, Diego Maradona and Pique the mascot, here are 26 memories from Mexico 86 Continue reading…

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Louis van Gaal would be good choice as Manchester United manager, say Bryan Robson and Louis Saha video

Former Manchester United players Bryan Robson and Louis Saha discuss the expected appointment of Louis van Gaal as the new manager of the club. Robson says appointing the Dutch national team manager would be a good move as Van Gaal’s teams always play …

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Jamie Jackson on Man Utd’s midfield

Where next for David Moyes as the club continue to seek a like-for-like replacement for the long-gone Roy Keane?

The old chestnut about Manchester United and their vulnerable midfield grows ever more relevant. Going down 4-1 to Manchester City might have been marginally more acceptable to David Moyes and the supporters if his side had made the 166th derby a contest.

The truth of the hiding that Wayne Rooney and company took at the Etihad Stadium is that from the start until interest wavered following Samir Nasri’s goal to put City 4-0 ahead after 50 minutes, the home team punched holes through the champions at will.

As the post-mortem starts, there may be despair at the paucity of options Moyes has to freshen up a midfield that was steamrollered by Yaya Touré in particular. Shinji Kagawa, Anderson, Tom Cleverley, Ryan Giggs and, possibly, Phil Jones all come with various caveats that make this a puzzle that should have been solved before the transfer window closed.

The drubbing handed out by Manuel Pellegrini’s fast and muscular band is seen as a final confirmation of the summer folly of purchasing only Marouane Fellaini, who was left appearing off the pace and possessing questionable positional sense, which is hardly what £27.5m should buy.

The drab 0-0 draw with Chelsea at Old Trafford, the 1-0 defeat at Liverpool and now the humiliation at City mean that against two title contenders and a top-four pretender United have managed only a point, illustrating why Moyes wanted to recruit Cesc Fábregas from Barcelona.

The opening of the great void at United’s centre can be traced back to Roy Keane’s departure in 2005, with Owen Hargreaves’s infirmity (summer 2008) and the need for Paul Scholes to come out of retirement (January 2011) staging posts in what is a perennial topic for fans.

Hargreaves and Scholes are name-checked because since Keane left they were the two prime candidates identified by Sir Alex Ferguson for the role of midfield linchpin that had also been occupied with distinction by Bryan Robson, Paul Ince and Nicky Butt.

The question again posed by Sunday’s capitulation is who, if any, of the current gang can be the midfield general, with Michael Carrick a classy yet passive presence, and Fellaini only three appearances into his career at the club.

He and Carrick appear first-choice for Moyes’s engine room. While each was supine against City, serious questions will be asked of Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia, two dedicated wingers who continually neglected their tasks of closing down and tracking back. As City’s attack posse of Touré, Fernandinho, Jesús Navas, Nasri, Sergio Agüero and Alvaro Negredo terrorised United, Young and Valencia went missing in action. Yet Nani, who is erratic, and the callow Wilfried Zaha, are no bankers as better replacements.

With Carrick and Fellaini too similar for a central pair – each are instinctive holding operators – Moyes gazes at his alternatives and sees the 39-year-old Giggs, Cleverley, who is still to prove he can be a midfield don, and the often disappointing Anderson. Another is Jones, but both player and manager are minded he is best in defence.

Kagawa is the most intriguing of Moyes’s alternatives. Yet as a No10 by choice, who so far has not been fancied by the Scot, there appears little chance of him dislodging a Rooney now recast as the main man following the sparkling form that continued against City.

Might Kagawa prosper further back? Alongside Carrick in a two, or in a midfield trio if Moyes was to realign the shape to 4-3-3? These are some of the considerations that may cross the manager’s mind as he decides how best to recover from a beginning that has yielded only seven points from his first five matches.

As Nemanja Vidic, the captain, said: “We have to bounce back. That is the way we have to think. We have lost and there are some things we can improve on but the most important thing is to win the next game.” Rooney, whose late free-kick took him to a record 11 in the fixture, complains of the sloppiness that cost United.

“The way we conceded the goals, one just before half-time and two straight after, is not good enough,” he said. “We know we have to improve on that, to stop giving these sloppy goals away and capitalise on some of our good play.”

Those goals were shipped because of a United midfield that waved City on to David de Gea’s goal.

In the resource deficit Moyes faces here, he sees why Ferguson would field Rooney further back. The ploy harvested match-winning performances, as with last season’s 2-0 victory at Stoke City where, alongside Carrick, Rooney beat him 81 to 75 in completed passes, while again illustrating the requisite zest and vision.

Yet the 27-year-old’s disquiet at being played out of position by Ferguson means he can be no solution for Moyes, and that encapsulates the manager’s problem: as he seeks to stop United being overrun again, from where – and how fast – can he find one?

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