Niall Quinn recalls Michael Robinson as an 'absolute gentleman and gangbuster striker'

Michael Robinson's former Republic of Ireland teammates, Niall Quinn and Mick McCarthy, are among those to pay tribute after the former striker died, aged 61.
Niall Quinn recalls Michael Robinson as an 'absolute gentleman and gangbuster striker'
Michael Robinson. Photo: INPHO/Billy Stickland

Michael Robinson's former Republic of Ireland teammates are among those to pay tribute after the striker died, aged 61.

FAI interim CEO Niall Quinn and Mick McCarthy, who recently stepped aside as Ireland manager, recalled the livewire centre-forward for his impact on and off the field during their international playing days.

“Michael was an absolute gentleman and a gangbuster striker who loved playing for Ireland, that was apparent the first time I met him in my first Ireland camp,” Quinn told FAI.ie.

“My initial introduction to Michael Robinson was as an Ireland fan, standing on the terraces at the old Lansdowne Road and watching him bust a gut for Eoin Hand and that great team that nearly made the World Cup finals in 1982.

“Michael was brilliant in those days. He wasn’t maybe as silken-skilled as Don Givens had been before him in that centre-forward role but he was energetic and so selfless in how he played in the green shirt.

“I’d say he was a gangbuster striker who left everything out on the pitch and all the fans really loved that about him in those great games against the likes of France, Spain and the USSR when he really made a difference.

“I was lucky enough then to room with Michael when Big Jack called me up for that Icelandic triangular tournament in 1986. From the moment I met him as a player, Michael couldn’t do enough for me.

“He was a class act back then, well dressed, smartly presented and with the coolest watch I’d ever seen. He knew about life as well as football and I’ll always remember him sipping decanted wine in Iceland when the rest of us were downing pints after winning that tournament.

“Michael went on not just to play in Spain but to master the language and become one of the country’s most successful broadcasters ever which shows you the measure of the man.

“This news today that he has lost his battle with cancer is dreadful and the thoughts of all his former colleagues and the Association go out to Michael’s family. May he rest in peace.”

McCarthy added his admiration for Robinson's post-playing career, becoming a successful businessman and broadcaster in Spain.

“One of my earliest memories of Michael is sitting on the bench at Lansdowne Road in 1984 and watching him tear down the right wing before setting up that great goal for Mickey Walsh against the USSR at the start of the 1986 World Cup qualifiers.

“It was a great finish by Mickey but the powerful run and determination of Michael made that goal. That run said as much about Michael as a player as anything else he did. I was lucky to play alongside him for a couple of years after that and he was a great player for Eoin and for Ireland.

“Michael only played twice for Jack but he was with us in Iceland for the real start of the Jack era and that was fitting. Not long after that tournament he left English football for Spain and Osasuna and that was a big deal as well in those days.

“Very few players would have taken a chance like that but Michael did and not along did he adapt so well to Spanish life, he became a huge broadcaster and a very successful businessman. I was full of admiration for the manner in which he did that and will always remember him as a great footballer and a real pleasure to know away from the game as well.

“Michael’s death comes after a brave fight against skin cancer and he has been taken too young. Our thoughts are with his family now and with those supporters who enjoyed everything he did for Ireland and for the clubs he served so well.”

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