Paul Robinson was mulling over his career and time at Spurs. October 15, 2005 sprang to mind.
It was his 26th birthday and the fans had a special welcome for ‘England’s number one’.
Below: Robbo with his birthday banner at Spurs Lodge - October, 2005
“I always remember the day we played Everton on my birthday,” he recalled. “There was a huge banner and thousands of fans were singing ‘happy birthday’ to me! I’ve never experienced anything like that.
“I’ve a lot of special memories in my time at the Club. Spurs will always be my team!”
We spoke to ‘Robbo’ ahead of our last Premier League match against Burnley, his fourth and final club of a 21-year career that started in Leeds United’s Academy back in 1996. A whisker away from 500 career appearances and 41 England caps to his name - 37 during his time at Spurs - the popular goalkeeper finally called time following persistent back problems.
Below: Robbo in action for Burnley last season
He explained the situation. “I had a back operation four years ago because I suffered awful sciatica. I had a slipped disk but I get no back pain whatsoever, it’s all down the back of my legs.
“Two months before the end of last season, the same thing happened to my back again, so I had an epidural at the end of last season and another half-way through the summer.
“I said to the manager (Sean Dyche) ‘if I can’t do myself justice, I can’t do you or the lads justice’ and that I wouldn’t just sign again for the sake of signing. If I wasn’t right, I wasn’t right.
“I gave it until a week or so before pre-season and I said to the gaffer ‘look, I missed the last two months of last season, I’ve had two injections and I’ll start this season in the treatment room, someone is telling me something, I think that’s it’. I think he really appreciated that honesty.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my career, 21 years and the most enjoyable time of my career was obviously at Spurs. The last 18 months at Burnley was brilliant as well, like a breath of fresh air for me.”
Below: Back to 2005 - Robbo celebrates our 2-0 win against Everton on his 26th birthday - October 15, 2005
Robbo joined us from Leeds in the summer of 2004 and was an instant hit with fans. He was an instant hit with England as well and he’d just about nailed down the number one spot on the international stage within six months of joining us – a position he would keep for three years, taking in the 2006 World Cup along the way.
He famously scored against Watford in the Premier League in March, 2007 and then helped us lift the League Cup against Chelsea in 2008, eventually departing for Blackburn later that year.
Below: Golden moment - Robbo with the League Cup in 2008
It’s the relationship with the fans that will stick with him though and one he was reminded of again for the final time at White Hart Lane in May, when he was a guest at the Finale against Manchester United and a chorus of ‘England’s number one’ belted out from all sides of the stadium as he was introduced.
“I had such a special relationship with the fans,” reflected Robbo, who would often throw his gloves into the crowd after matches. “It was brilliant for me and the best time of my career. I loved it at Spurs.”