Former English football star Michael Robinson, who began his career at my home city club Preston North End, has taken steps to become a Spanish national.
“I’ve started the process of getting Spanish nationality,” said Spain national radio and television broadcaster Robinson, affectionately known as ‘Robin’ in Spain.
Striker Robinson, 61, kicked off his career at Preston in 1975, joining Manchester City in 1979, with Brighton, Liverpool and QPR, moving to Osasuna in 1987, prior to taking up his media career at TVE in 1989.
Robinson made over 300 club appearances and was capped 24 times by the Republic of Ireland during his illustrious career, playing 57 games at Club Atlético Osasuna, based in Pamplona, before hanging up his boots.
During 1990, to the present date, Robinson has been the voice of Canal+, along with co-presenter Carlos Martínez, amongst other shows.
Robinson, who has won two Premios Ondas – ‘Airwaves Awards’ – and the Vázquez Montalbán International Journalism Award, was part of Liverpool’s European Cup winner’s squad in 1983-84.
Robinson, at the forefront of late-night sports show ‘El Larguero’ – The Crossbar – in 1989, later joined Canal+ as co-commentator for live football broadcasts.
Robinson also co-hosted the highlights show El Dia Después – The Day After – after tactical analyst Jorge Valdano left the show to become the manager of CD Tenerife.
The British Hispanic Foundation in Madrid, dedicated to promoting relations between Spanish and British society, presented the Amigo de Honor award (pictured) to Michael Robinson in 2019.
“Michael Robinson is worthy of this recognition. He exemplifies in his personal and professional life the values and ideals of our foundation – integration, tolerance and respect towards others – maintaining his culture and his traditions,” said president of the foundation, Fidel López.
“Michael is well recognised in Spain, not only for his professionalism, but also for his personal attributes such as his honesty, his credibility and his sympathy,” said president López.
Robinson, son of parents who ran a pub in Leicester, and moved to Blackpool to run a Guest House, says people have ‘time for each other’ in Spain, and he loves Spaniards.
Robinson, who spent his boyhood days on Blackpool’s Golden Mile and won schoolboy football honours, followed in the footsteps of his father Arthur, who played at Brighton, Aston Villa and Wrexham.
Robinson, who earned a few bob working at Blackpool train and bus stations, carrying holidaymakers bags to their hotels and guest houses, was signed by Preston manager, former England and Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton.
After Charlton resigned, Robinson (pictured) played under Harry Catterick and Nobby Stiles at Deepdale, pocketing a pittance wage in today’s terms, of little over a fiver a week.
At the time of his transfer to Manchester City, aged 19, in 1979, Robinson’s pay packet had swelled to £30 at Preston, where he played 48 games – ballooning to £330 under cigar-smoking Blues gaffer Malcolm Allison.
“I enjoy everything about Spain – and the way the Spanish interpret life,” said Robinson, who left Preston in a £750,000 move to City, becoming the most expensive teenage signing in British history at the time.
“I came to Spain in January 1987. I didn’t know if I was going to be here forever,” said Robinson, who revealed in 2018 he had a malignant melanoma, found at an advanced stage and had metastasized.
In the wake of the UK coming out of the EU on January 31, 2020, in his quest to be a Spanish National, Robinson said: “I refuse to be a foreigner in a country that has opened its arms to me.”