the real fa cup

Interview – Paul Robinson

After Saturday’s warm up of watching our adopted Dulwich Hamlet try to get promoted we’re off to Wembley to watch our kind of adopted Northern side try to win the FA Vase.  Again.  How many professional players do you know who’ve played at Wembley?  It’s a select club. This chap has, twice, and will be doing so again on Sunday. He’s scored too, an even more select band. 2010 was quite a season for Football Pubcast’s ‘Man Of The Year’ and Whitley Bay midfielder Paul Robinson and we had a chat with him about … errr … football … and I didn’t even make any Neighbours gags.

As is fairly usual, we go for the Shoot! angle openers to ease our guests in.

Nickname: Robbo
I guess there’s no point in asking who you support, gonna be Toon all the way I imagine? Yeah the Toooon!
Job: Sage UK, it’s computer stuff and I have no idea what I’m doing!
Car: Navy Ford Focus

Who is your football hero and why?
Probably Gazza ‘cos he was the one I used to want to be when I was younger, not so much now!  So Gazza or Peter Beardsley … Beardsley’s the best player I’ve ever seen. An absolute class act!

25633_429512833708_768893708_5485211_328780_n.jpg What’s your favourite goal?
Either the winning goal in the last minute in last years Semi Final v Barwell. Or my goal at Wembley last season.

What level in the league do you reckon you could have made it to with the right break?
Premiership, probs playing just off Rooney for Man Utd! Ha! Naaa, who knows, you need so many things to go in your favour, right club at the right time with the right people. But I do wish I’d known at 18 what I know now about attitude and the way to approach things etc.

Who is your most difficult opponent?
We weren’t direct opponents in terms of position, but I played against Rooney when he was 15 when he was at Everton. It was an under 19 game and we lost 2-1 and he scored both! Even then you could tell he was gonna be a star.

Would you swap another Vase final for promotion?
Absolutely no chance. Vase all day long!

. .. and playing at Wembley must be immense, every boy’s dream?
Yeah it’s a bit special like!  [Damon: I am getting quite jealous at this point] Would be even better if it was full, but 10k plus will do I suppose! Haha.

How did you find out we’d nominated you for the Football Pubcast’s ‘Man Of The Year’?
I think it was Michael who does the Whitley Bay website who first told me about it.

Did you think you’d win?
I didn’t think I’d win to be honest, it was just nice to see my name next to some amazing players! Sneijder won the treble and played in a World Cup Final and my name was next to his! I’m sure the other players in the list didn’t lose too much sleep over it!

Knowing dressing rooms, I bet you got a tiny bit of stick when you won it?
I got a lot of stick, but most people must have voted as I somehow won!

How cool was it to beat £35million Andy Carroll and how much does that make you worth?
Andy Carroll is brilliant in my view, maybe not worth 35 million. God knows what I’d be worth! Couple of packets of crisps and Mars Bar maybe?!

Have you ever scored from the half way line? [In our nomination for Paul, much was made of his long range efforts]
Yeah I scored last season against Norton from the half way line, caught it sweet and it ended up going in. I’ve had a few go close as well but for every few that go close, there’s more that end up going nowhere near!!

Who is the Bay’s dressing room joker?
There’s a few to be honest, its a good team spirit. Gav Fell our coach is never, ever far away from any banter flying around tho!

– A direct question from the Bell End Choir – and I am quoting this word for word –
“How does it feel to be back at Wembley in front of legions of your adoring fans?”
Haha … its going to be great to be back in front of them as we never thought we would do it again, I just wish we could fill the whole of Wembley stadium with the Bell End Choir! Ninety thousand worth of Bell End Choir would be something special!

Do they ever give you any grief?
Haven’t had any grief from them yet and long may it continue!

This weekend is all about the Vase. The FA take a lot of stick but we think they deserve a lot of credit for keeping the Trophy and Vase finals at the home of English football. Would the Vase be as special without a trip to Wembley?
Yeah they defo do deserve credit, I noticed the Football League Play Off finals [I think we’re talking Conference into League here] aren’t even at Wembley this season due to the Champions League Final, so to still have the Vase and Trophy there is massive for us non league players. The Vase would lose so much of its appeal if the Final was anywhere else, in my eyes. A national cup should be played at the national stadium.

Have you got a goal celebration lined up in case you score on Sunday?
I tend not to do goal celebrations! It’s been a while! Possibly the Shearer classic, one arm in the air??!

Are you going to give a score prediction or is that tempting fate and, if you win, can we come to the party?
No predictions but this will be our toughest game at Wembley, without doubt. And yeah, course you can come to the party, we’re at the … <venue deleted, we don’t want any dodgy pasta being served up on Saturday night>

Is (Bay legend*) Mark Taylor going to be around on Sunday?
Yeah, Tayls is going down, he’ll be in our hotel and be at the game as well.

What would you be doing this weekend if you weren’t playing at Wembley?
I would be doing whatever my girlfriend Laura told me to do as I’ve been out the house loads lately and she’s had our two kids to look after all on her own without me! She calls herself a half single parent! Nice! I would try and sneak a game in somewhere tho’!

We did ask Robbo if he wanted to ask us a question but I think the answer will get us both in trouble, so I’ll leave it for now.


*Mark Taylor, long serving Whitley Bay left back and 2009 Vase winner who was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. Volunteers and his colleagues wanted to give something back and here’s where you can too Mark Taylor Fund.

FA Vase Final, Sunday 8th May, 3pm – Coalville Town v Whitley Bay. Tickets £25

Thanks to Ian Kinnon for providing The Bell End Choir question.

  1. Great interview with a fantastic player and top bloke.

    And all together now: “Robbo loves the Bell-End, Robbo loves the Bell-End, la la la la”.

  2. Great player and even better lover.

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