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Paul Robinson to celebrate 15 years of service at Millwall

© Brian Tonks
© Brian Tonks

PAUL Robinson doesn't claim to be the best player ever to have graced The Den.

But after 15 years of service at Millwall, firstly for the academy and then the first team, he hopes to have been one of the most committed.

And it is that fact which Robinson intends to celebrate during his testimonial game against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.

"When I was young I dreamed of being a professional footballer and having a career in the game – looking back now, to have achieved that, I'm very proud and delighted that it was with Millwall, a club I care so much about," he said this week.

"The fans have always been good with me but they do demand very high standards – they pay their money and they expect to see every player wearing the shirt with pride and giving their all. Thankfully that's one of the characteristics I've got.

"It's an exciting day and I'm really looking forward to it. It's a a day to celebrate my time at the club but it's also a good day for many other reasons – Neil Harris is back on the coaching staff, Steve Morison is returning to The Den and we've got some other exciting new signings like Richard Chaplow.

"Combined with all of that we've got a new manager who will want to make a good impression with the fans. It'll be a good way to finish off the hard work of pre-season and take us into the new campaign."

Given that Robinson has been dogged by injuries over the past 12 months, the centre-back will also use his testimonial to celebrate the simple fact that he is fit enough to play again.

"There were some really dark times last year, he said. "You go beyond frustration to a really deep fear that you won't get back out there. It seems like the hardest thing in the world to get back on a pitch and play football pain-free.

"What's great is that we kept trying and eventually we've got there. It's been a long, hard road to get to this stage but thankfully I'm training now day in, day out. Now all I'm worried about is how fit I am and how rusty my touch is, and that's a fantastic feeling.

"It's made me realise how fortunate I am and perhaps that the end of my career is on the horizon. Every day I'm going to enjoy myself, and every match I'm going to cherish. I'm not going to take anything for granted, as perhaps you do when you're younger and playing regularly."

Whilst the financial aspect of a testimonial is important to any player, four different charities – Marie Curie Cancer Care, the North London Hospice, Everyman and the Motor Neurone Disease Association – will also benefit from Robinson's big day.

He said: "Having been in the lower-ish leagues for the majority of my career, and at a club the size of Millwall, I am not in a position to turn money away, but I will be making donations. It's a good way of raising money for good causes. I won't be able to give it all to charity but I want to make a contribution."

There have been plenty of personal high points for Robinson during his 334 appearances for the Lions – from beating Watford, the club that released him in 1998, 4-0 on his full home debut, to scoring a vital equaliser against Gillingham in April 2008, a crucial goal in the club's fight against relegation from League One.

But understandably, promotion to the Championship at Wembley in May 2010 tops the lot.

"Scoring the goal was a fantastic thing in itself and was probably the icing on the cake," Robinson recalls. "But going into that day, the one thing I wanted to make sure of was being the first Millwall captain to lift a trophy at Wembley.

"We put that play-off burden behind us and every player achieved history on that day. To walk up the Wembley steps and pick up the trophy was a moment that I'm never ever going to forget in my lifetime.

"It was also a way of giving thanks to the fans in that moment – they've enabled me to be a professional footballer for the club I love playing for. To give something back on that special day was a great feeling."

The following year, Robinson came close to leaving The Den when Reading bid for him.

"It was close," the defender admitted. "If Millwall had accepted an offer I would have been put in a difficult situation – given the size of the two respective clubs, and financially, it would have been a tough decision to make.

"But the club stood firm, turned down the offer and rewarded me with a new deal at the end of that season. I think it all worked out for the best."

And now Robinson intends to finish his career in SE16.

He said: "That would definitely be my first choice – barring a Man United or Arsenal coming along, but I think that ship has sailed! Having been at Millwall for so long it would be strange moving onto another club, although obviously I want to make the most of my football career as well.

"It's testament to the club that myself and Alan Dunne have had testimonials in the last few years, spending our entire careers here and being well-supported both on and off the pitch by the whole club."

Robinson is already planning for what comes after his playing career – he has studied for a degree in journalism but his first ambition is to go into coaching and follow in the footsteps of Harris and David Livermore, former players who have both joined the backroom staff in recent years.

"I'm going to cover all angles," Robinson said. "I've already completed my UEFA B coaching license and I'm looking to get all of my badges done by the end of my career so that I'm set up to be on that side of the fence.

"Neil's just come back and David did the same last year. I like to think it's a conscious effort from the club to bring people back who know how this club works and know what it takes to be successful.

"If I can pass on my knowledge and things I've learned throughout my career to people trying to make their way in the game, that would be great. It would be an opportunity for me to learn a new trade and use the skills that I've built up."

But with his injury problems now behind him, Robinson's short-term focus remains firmly on playing – and he reckons he has plenty of years left in him yet.

"Physically, I have been checked from top to bottom over the past year and analysed everything to get that edge," he revealed. I know so much about how my body works now that I can put that into action and hopefully prolong my career, rather than dwell on the fact that I've missed a year."

So, above all, what does Robinson hope to achieve in the twilight years of his career? Well, promotion to the Premier League of course.

"That's the challenge every season we're in the Championship," he said. "As long as I'm at Millwall I'll be trying my hardest to achieve that. My first aim is to be back playing regularly, but I'd love to help this club get into the top flight."

Alex Aldridge

(@accordingtoaldo)

32 thoughts on “Paul Robinson to celebrate 15 years of service at Millwall

  • July 26, 2013 at 08:37
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    You don't need to be the greatest player in the world to be an MFC legend but you do need to wear the shirt with pride and give 100% commitment to the cause - in my book that makes Robbo an MFC legend through and through.

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  • July 26, 2013 at 08:41
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    He is up there with big Kitchener !

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  • July 26, 2013 at 08:50
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    Fantastic, loyal service from a 100% player & man. Carry on, Robbo

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  • July 26, 2013 at 08:51
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    Born leader an exceptional role model; thanks Robbo and hopefully there will be many more great moments in your career with 'wall. COYL!!!

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  • July 26, 2013 at 08:53
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    A great servant to the club we all love. Sorry susp8892, but can't agree with you on Kitch, simply because in my book he was (still is) the GREATEST player we've ever had, bar none. Doesn't mean there's anything wrong with Robbo, or a whole clutch of others either ... but Kitch was simply diferent class. Good luck on Saturday Robbo, shame but owing to other commitments I can't attend - hope it's a good match, and will be interesting to read other people's views on their first look at some of the new lads who'll undoubtedly be playing. COYL's!!!!!

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  • July 26, 2013 at 09:03
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    congratulations skipper

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  • July 26, 2013 at 09:29
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    Not the moment to compare our legends...
    It's time to celebrate a man who always has shown class and commitment to the club,so...100 of these days,Robbo!!!
    COYL!!!

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  • July 26, 2013 at 09:43
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    Well done Robbo. Wall through and through.Have a great day tomorrow.

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  • July 26, 2013 at 09:43
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    A rare sort of player in todays climate, Loyal. Always given us his all and I consider him one of our greats. Congratulations Robbo. I hope you have a great day Saturday and plays many more games for us down The Den.

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  • July 26, 2013 at 09:44
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    well done robbo. one of us, always will be. good luck saturday.cant wait to have a look at your new teamates . COYL!!!!!!

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  • July 26, 2013 at 09:54
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    Cripps, Kitch, Rhino, Bomber and now Robbo, we salute you.
    COYL

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  • July 26, 2013 at 10:08
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    Can't go Saturday as working but will make a donation to one of the charities , always gives 100 per cent and anyone who spend that long at a club deserves there day - be nice to see bomber have a 10 min cameo which I think he will

    All the best robbo

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  • July 26, 2013 at 10:23
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    Can't go Saturday as working but will make a donation to one of the charities , always gives 100 per cent and anyone who spend that long at a club deserves their day - be nice to see bomber have a 10 min cameo which I think he will

    All the best robbo

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  • July 26, 2013 at 10:33
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    Robbo a rare thing that playing for the same club both man and boy, and what a club it is to play for as you have stated in your artical, you more than fit the ledgend name for MFC as others from the past and you are still the only skipper to pick up a cup at Wembley but lets hope that changes.

    I will be there tomorrow hoping for a good game with all the new & not so new boys playing and I hope SL puts a team out that is as near to his starting 11 as he can, as that will give a glimps of the future at the Den.

    Have a good day dont pick up any knocks cos BB will end up making you miss a good part of the season, its also going to be hard to claim a regular place in the team now because we have some decent CB competing with you but all the bes t for tomorrow and the future Robbo.

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  • July 26, 2013 at 11:10
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    A big round of applause please!

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  • July 26, 2013 at 11:16
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    Sorry!!! Not up there with KItch but still a commited player,solid and deserves his testemonial. I do think though that he is a very good 1st devision player and its time for him to move on, because I can't see him in the first team!!

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    • July 26, 2013 at 14:58
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      @leemark: Can't you just enjoy and celebrate what the guy has done over the last 10 years for the club we all love?? He is going to be considered a Legend whether you like that or not!!!

      When he has played for us he has been outstanding, so not sure what you are basing your opinion on, weird!

      Congratulations Robbo well deserved!!

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    • July 26, 2013 at 15:21
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      @leemark: Leemark,You are correct about Robbo up there with Kitch, Kitch was a top class player and turned down moves away to bigger clubs, but Robbo is jus as commited to the Lions and like big Barry he still here.

      He is a good enough player at this level to continue, but more important than that is he is Millwall through and through, and if he is back fully fit he can only add to the side either as a starter or a replacement he will just make us a better side.

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  • July 26, 2013 at 11:34
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    Well done Robbo . One of us , NUFF SAID !!!.

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  • July 26, 2013 at 12:09
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    Going to make an excellent Millwall defensive coach when he's done playing.
    You thoroughly deserve your testimonial Paul. Good luck for the season.

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  • July 26, 2013 at 12:50
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    great loyal servant and captain and that goal at Wembley priceless. Good luck Paul.

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  • July 26, 2013 at 12:58
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    He's a really nice bloke as well. I hope he is fit this year, as I think we can give it a real go. The division is so tight, that if we get a good start, I think promotion is a real possibility. Had a few quid with PP so hopefully money in the bank. COYL

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    • July 26, 2013 at 14:59
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      @beedoscores: I'd look at Skybet as well, 4/1 to finish in the top ten, got to be worth £50....

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      • July 26, 2013 at 15:00
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        @Bradders: Sorry scrap that.... 4/1 to finish in the top HALF of the table, even better!

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        • July 26, 2013 at 16:07
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          @Bradders: The cheeky b******* have us as evens to be in bottom few. Hopefully we will show them.

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  • July 26, 2013 at 19:23
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    I Would just like to thank Robbo for all his years of LOYAL service to the club that we all LOVE.

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  • July 26, 2013 at 20:27
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    Well done skippy thoroughly deserved
    I personally can't wait to cheer you on tomorrow, great leader and very much improved as a defender with every season after you broke through the first team.
    I remember telling a friend at selhurst park that I thought you'd go on to be a future captain and that I rated you better than mark Philips, my mate said you'd be sold on at the first oportunity and Philips was the better player. As they say, the rest is history.
    Thanks Robbo and good luck for the season.

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  • July 26, 2013 at 21:11
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    What time is the match on? 3?

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  • July 26, 2013 at 23:18
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    cant make match due to work, robbo is a legend a one man team he deserves highest accolade, a true honest decent man living his dream coz he earned it. the fact the man admits that he will keep some of his testimonial money as he should, but donate to four charities proves he is an honest working class man. robbo i salute you if we had a team of eleven you we would be premiership.

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    • July 27, 2013 at 10:26
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      @thepromiselandbeckons:
      I totally totally agree with everything you said but I just hope enough people turn out to show there appreciation for someone as LOYAL & Dedicated to the Millwall cause as ROBBO & hopefully the start of something special at the Den.
      10,000 plus today would be good.
      COME ON YOU WALL

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  • July 27, 2013 at 18:16
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    Just come back from Robbos testimonial & feel a little bit disappointed at the turnout.
    However I thought we done all right against a team that passed the ball very well but created very little goal scoring opportunities.
    Still a one nill win against a team that finished eighth in La Liga last season ain't bad.
    Roll on next week when the real work begins.

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  • July 27, 2013 at 20:33
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    Well done ROBBO

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