PAUL Robinson knows only too well about the perils and pitfalls of football management.
How could he possibly not when he has worked under 16 full-time bosses during his distinguished 16-year career?
Such has been the turnover of managers during his time between the posts for England, Leeds United, Tottenham Hotspur and his current club Blackburn Rovers, for whom he will make his 200th appearance at Wolves today (3pm), you would imagine that the last thing he would want to do when he does eventually hang up his gloves is go into such a cut-throat business.
But, speaking ahead of his landmark match at Molineux this afternoon, that is exactly what he intends to do.
“If you look throughout my career, through Leeds, through Tottenham, through England, and through here, I think you’ll find there have been a lot of managers,” said Robinson, who has worked under Paul Ince, Sam Allardyce, Steve Kean, Henning Berg, Michael Appleton and current boss Gary Bowyer at Ewood Park.
“I was at Leeds when the merry go round was going, Tottenham had a few while I was there and, as well as the England managers, here has just capped it off! I’ve seen a few managers off in my time!
“But it’s something I fancy.
“I never fancied it until I worked with Sam Allardyce and I saw his man-management skills and the way that he was.
“But now I fancy it and I’m currently doing my coaching badges.
“I want to play for three or four more years and the way I feel now, I can do that.
“But management is something, as I get older, I will look at doing.
“I’m not too sure about coaching. I think if I was a manager I’d need a good coach with me.
“I can sit and watch a game and say, ‘that’s wrong, that’s wrong and that’s wrong’ and ‘we need to do that, that and that,’ but I’d need to sit down with a good coach on a Monday and say, ‘you take that and you take that’.
“Then I can be the big bully on a Thursday or Friday picking the team!”
For now Robinson’s sole concentration is on cementing his place in the Rovers starting line-up.
After recovering from a blood clot on his lung that threatened his life, the former England number one was thrust dramatically back into first-team action on January 4 for the little matter of a televised FA Cup tie at home to Manchester City.
Robinson went on to make a further 22 appearances last season.
But even though he was on the losing side in just four of the those appearances, helping Rovers finish within touching distance of the play-offs, it was not until the summer, and after his first full pre-season in two years, that he has began to feel like he was getting back to the goalkeeper he was before injury and debilitating illness.
And it is clear that Robinson, who reckons the world-class save he produced to deny Lewis Grabban at Norwich City last week is one of the best he has made, is determined to make most of his opportunity.
“If you want to take it to the extreme then, yes, I’m lucky to be here, but looking at it more realistically, I’m just looking forward to and enjoying playing again,” said the 34-year-old, who is full of praise for the job Bowyer is doing at Rovers.
“I still feel I’ve got a few more years to give and given the way I’m feeling at the moment, I could go on for a bit longer.
“I just wanted to get back playing and playing to a level I knew I could. It was difficult coming back from injury and illness as it took me a while to get back fit and break into the team again as I’d been out for so long.
“Your mind still wants to do everything but the rest of me didn’t follow, if you see what I mean, and if I ever get back to that stage, but this time not through injury and illness, but through my age and not being able to do it, well that’s when I’ll have to look at it.
“But hopefully that won’t be for another three or four years at least.”
But for now Robinson, who is in the final year of his Rovers contract, is focusing on capping a landmark personal achievement with three points at Wolves today.
“Somebody told me this week that it will be my 200th appearance as I wasn’t aware of it,” said the 41-capped England international, who was Ince’s first signing of his ill-fated Rovers reign.
“It’s nice for it to have come around, it could have come a bit earlier, given everything that’s happened, but it’s here now and it’s a great achievement for me and something I’m really proud of.
“It’s my seventh season here – the longest I’ve been at any of my three clubs – and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.
“There have been some really good times, some really bad times and there have been some very in-between times, but it’s a place I’ve really enjoyed playing my football at.”