RIP Michael Robinson

Sammy Lee: “Michael Robinson was just such a big personality”

Sammy Lee, who played with Michael Robinson at both Liverpool and Osasuna, remembers the player and commentator, who died on Tuesday morning.

Sammy Lee: “Michael Robinson was just such a big personality”
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Sammy Lee (Liverpool, 1959) played in the midfield for Liverpool from 1976 to 1986, where he met and became friends with Michael Robinson, who died in Tuesday morning. The two went on to play for QPR and Spanish side Osasuna after leaving Liverpool.

With an outpouring of tributes from around the footballing world, Lee spoke to AS English to share his feelings on such a sad day.

What was Michael like?

The thing about Michael is, he was just such a big personality. When he came to Liverpool he came into a very good football side and made a fantastic contribution to the football club, but for me personally it was more than that. He was just an absolutely terrific guy in every sense of the word and this is a sad, sad loss to the football fraternity.

How did he impact your career?

I’ve got to be honest when my time at Liverpool was up as a player he was very, very instrumental in getting me first down to QPR when he was down there, and then even better for me, on to Osasuna in Spain. He was crucial in all of those decisions, and he was massively important in my post-Liverpool playing and coaching educations.

Leaving Liverpool was tough?

We went down to London first and when you leave Liverpool it doesn’t matter where you go it’s going to be difficult no matter where you go. Michael first helped make it happen because he was very influential in getting me down to QPR and then helping me to adjust to life down in London – it was so important because it wasn’t a very easy time for me personally and professionally. Leaving the club you’ve supported and been with all your life is massive and Michael really helped me.

What was your time together in Spain like?

He was excellent with me - it’s always difficult leaving the club you’ve grown up with and supported all your life, but that time comes to everybody and both Michael and his wife Chris made it so much easier for me and my wife.

After Liverpool it was the best experience I had as a player because it introduced me to a new culture and it really started my love for coaching because I was very fortunate to go over to Osasuna in Pamplona and the people there were just absolutely, absolutely fantastic to me and Michael. That was my best experience in football as a player after leaving Liverpool.

Football meant everything to Michael

Yes, he had a passion for life and football. and I think that came out in his broadcasting, came out in his football knowledge and came out in every conversation I had with him.

And his broadcasting career after injury?

He made the best of that and he created a second career in punditry over there and he was loved, and rightly so because he had such a passion for it. He loved life and the major parts of his life were his family and football and he was passionate about both, he really was.

People here in Spain are absolutely devastated...

He was so enthusiastic. It shone out from him in everything he did, both in his playing days and his later career. They loved him in Spain for that, I know they did.