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Book Review: A fascinating insight into 'Robbo'

As former Manchester United captain Bryan Robson fights his battle to overcome throat cancer, it becomes relevant to have a look at his 2007, 302 page paperback autobiography ‘Robbo’ in which he reveals a fascinating insight into his days with England and United. He straddles several unique eras in football, from the seventies through to Ron Atkinson in the 80’s then on to the reign of Sir Alex Ferguson, the coming of Eric Cantona and the advent of the Premier League as we know it today. Robson was nicknamed ‘Captain Marvel’ by his late, former England manager Sir Bobby Robson which aptly described a colourful, aggressive and vibrant legend.

Robson is widely remembered as a fearless, inspirational captain for both club and country whose presence lifted team mates and intimidated opponents. At his peak, he was acknowledged as the most complete midfield player in the country and played at the highest level despite a series of devastating injuries.

He began his playing career at West Bromwich Albion, then moved to Manchester United in 1981 for a then record British transfer fee of £1.5 million. He soon became captain, and enjoyed regular Cup success, eventually winning the Championship. He also won 90 caps for England, 65 of them as captain.

His autobiography reveals a fascinating insight into his days with the England and United camps and characters such as Paul Gascoigne, Gary Lineker, Roy Keane and Ferguson. He puts the record straight on the ‘drink culture’ that Sir Alex sought to stamp out at United and describes his pain when he discovered he was surplus to the manager’s requirements.

Robson candidly reflects on the highs and lows of his football life, and discusses incidents on the pitch as well as some of the clashes that happened behind the scenes. Statistics also reveal how Manchester United and England frequently won when he played, and frequently lost when he didn’t.

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