When I was an English-language teaching assistant in a small town in Castilla-La Mancha in the 1990s, one of the first things students would ask me was: “Do you know Robinson?”. It took me a while to find out that Michael Robinson was an English ex-footballer who had made a living for himself as a pundit on Spanish TV. To my amazement, he had been a striker in the great Liverpool side of the mid-1980s. The reason I, a Liverpool fan, hadn’t heard of him before was that he had been a squad player who rarely got a chance to feature in big games (a couple of players called Kenny Dalglish and Ian Rush also happened to be vying for the same position).
Robinson it turned out, was a talented TV presenter and commentator, who was respected for his professionalism and loved for his enthusiasm and warmth, which helps explain the outpouring of feeling when he died of cancer recently, at the age of 61.
This is the piece I wrote for The Irish Times about his career in Spain.
And here’s something a little less formal I wrote a while back. It’s called ‘Michael Robinson’s Calling’.