MICHAEL ROBINSON 1958-2020

Michael Robinson has Spanish TV audience in hysterics explaining why "being a dickhead has its benefits"

Michael Robinson was an adopted Spaniard. His efforts to learn the language and his sense of humor endeared him to the country he called his second home.

Football fans in England and Spain were saddened to learn of the death of TV pundit/producer and former player Michael Robinson today. Robinson arrived in Spain in 1986, in the days before internet, mobile phones. The striker was taking a giant leap into the unknown, joining an historic Spanish side - but one that wasn't that well known abroad, at least back in England. 

And he didn't have a word of Spanish - just a phrasebook. 

Robinson lapped up the new, Spanish culture and way of life. Learned the language, customs and intricasies of life in Pamplona - the city which hosts the running of the Bulls during San Fermines, the fiesta that inspired Ernest Hemingway's The Sun also Rises.

Spanish people appreciated his efforts to fit in, be like them and embrace their culture. Soon enough, he was one them. An illustration of how his humour got across and how approachable and likeable he was is in this clip of an appearance on Spanish television in which he gave his theory on why being well read doesn't automatically make you clever and vice versa, if you aren't high brow.

“I first started to wonder about whether I might be a dickhead when I was quite young – but I was quite good at football so it didn’t matter. And when I started playing football, I began thinking, maybe I’m a bit of a dickhead because I wasn’t really that bothered about winning – but at the same time, I hated losing… All of my doubts were confirmed to me later when I came to Spain, to Pamplona because I couldn’t understand a single word anyone said… People would speak to me and I wouldn’t have a clue what they were saying. So I thought to myself, ‘So many dickheads here – thousands! Or maybe... maybe I’m the dickhead…” And anyway, even if I was, I felt ok about being a dickhead, I didn’t mind - because nobody expects anything from a dickhead… ‘Ah, he’s just an idiot’. It’s much better for other people to think you are a dickhead because, whatever you do… it’s a surprise! And it makes people think, ‘Well, maybe he’s not a dickhead after all!’ But if it’s the other way around, and you try to come across as educated and clever, people expect things from you. And that’s a pain. No, no, I’d much rather be a dickhead and my early suspicions were correct, I am one! and it's great!”.

 *Disclaimer: The Spanish word gillipollas, literally 'dickhead', means fool or idiot and is used frequently in everyday conversation and isn't as strong as the English equivalent.