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Blackburn Signs Paul Robinson For £3.5 Million


Three of my most vivid memories of Paul Robinson are (1) the back pass from Gary Neville that bounced past Robinson into the net against Croatia, (2) the long range free kick when Robinson scored for Spurs against Watford, and (3) the time when I saw Robinson play in goal for Spurs against Blackburn in November, 2006.

Robinson’s fortunes has changed considerably since that cold night in Lancashire. But the reason that Robinson stood out for me that night was at the beginning of the second half at Ewood Park. When Robinson was heading over to the goal to place his goalkeeper’s bag in the rear of the net, the Rovers fans started spontaneously singing at Robinson. “England’s number one; England’s, England’s number one.”

Robinson, clearly appreciating the singing, turned around and applauded the thousands of Rovers fans standing beside me in the Blackburn End.

It’s rare in modern day football to hear fans applaud a member of the other team. This one shining example shows how classy Blackburn fans are and how well Paul Robinson should fit in with his new club who signed him for a fee of £3.5 million.

Robinson is no Brad Friedel, who appears likely to move to either Aston Villa or Manchester City. But for Robinson, his move to Blackburn is a perfect opportunity to start all over again, regain his confidence and try to fight for the opportunity to be the number one goalkeeper for England once again.

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  1. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    July 27, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    It’s a fact that Guzan had a better MLS career than Tim Howard who wasn’t even the best keeper on his own lousy Metrostar team while first Tony Meola and then Mike Amman were there. Really Howard had one and a half good seasons in MLS at a time when MLS’ talent level was arguably at its lowest point in the history of the league.

    Guzan won’t be a top 10 EPL keeper, but the fact that Marcus Hahnehman who was (and trust me on this and maybe someone else here who watched MLS in the early days can agree or disagree) was bottom end keeper was considered passable in the Premier League tells me something. (he did beat out Chris Woods for the GK job w/ the Rapids) Other American keepers like Ian Feuer and Juregen Sommer survived for years in England even though they too were far from the best keepers in MLS.

    So my point is two fold.

    1- American keepers no matter how poor in MLS seem to survive in England
    2- Tim Howard’s signing with Manchester United in 2003 appeared to be a complete utter joke. I mean Howard wasn’t even good enough to play for the US in a competitive match and had failed to make the 2002 World Cup team. His only caps were to that point in friendlies. Yet he did alright and despite some bumps has turned out fine. Guzan is much further along than Howard was in 2003, and yet Alex Ferguson signed him, probably due to my first point more than anything, the comfort of American keepers in England.

  2. Michael

    July 27, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    Guzan is barely a top two or three keeper in MLS; there’s no way he can just walk into the Premiership, where he won’t even start, and be a top 10 keeper. That’s ludicrous.

  3. eplnfl

    July 27, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Ok, Kartik, you exposed me. I am a Chicago guy first and last. Guzan is a local guy and like Brian McBride and Jon Spector, they do no wrong in my book. I’m a homer!

    I also believe Blanco is picked on by every ref who has called his games.

  4. Kartik

    July 27, 2008 at 9:06 am

    Way to stand up for your Chicago guy Lou!

    Guzan is from Chicago, BTW for everyone even though he went to South Carolina for college and Chivas LA when joining MLS.

  5. eplnfl

    July 27, 2008 at 8:18 am

    Guzan is a top ten keeper if in the EPL this season, as long as he has some defense in front of him. I would hope that Guzan can team with Friedel for an All-American keeper corps. Friedel knows the league and the players and is the ideal guy to help break Guzan in to the EPL.

    I think Tim Howard was more developed when he came to Man U. from a understanding the game point of view. Both are physically talented.


    The other day when you spoke about the international players in the MLS, well since all the Yanks are in the EPL, the MLS has to get along with imports. A discussion we can have later.

  6. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    July 26, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    ” the young and inexperienced Guzan isn’t ready for the Premiership yet.”

    I respectfully disagree. If he isn’t ready for the Premiership, Tim Howard was certainly not ready when Man U signed him in 2003. Guzan has had a better MLS run than Howard did and their are people I respect who believe Guzan should be the US #1 right now. I don’t happen to agree with them, but they make a strong case.

  7. Burt Reynolds

    July 26, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    That’s not a problem. Villa has their keeper for the present, and the future.

  8. Michael

    July 26, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Lonnie, the problem is, Guzan probably will be loaned out to a Championship club. Stuart Taylor is a very capable backup and is entrenched at that position with Villa, and the young and inexperienced Guzan isn’t ready for the Premiership yet.

  9. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    July 26, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    Guzan’s work permit hopefully doesn’t come through. I’m actually hoping to speak with someone connected with him this week to shed some light on why he signed with Villa while they were pursuing Friedel.

    My sincere hope is Guzan stays in MLS or heads for one of the Spanish clubs who had interest before he agreed to join Villa. Come on home office! Deny the permit!

  10. Lonnie

    July 26, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    I think this is a good move for Blackburn over the long haul. Friedel is quite a bit older than Robinson and while I might rank Friedel as slightly better at the moment, I think Robinson has been harshly criticized and is not as poor as he has been made out to be at times.

    Friedel will be No 1 at Villa and will help mentor Guzan for the future. Really it’s win-win for both teams I think.

  11. eplnfl

    July 26, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    Robinson is no Brad Friedel, I couldn’t say it better.Blackburn and Friedel under Big Sam were a perfect match. While as a pure fan of the USMNT I have some issues with Friedel, when he was in his prime at the 2002WC he was world class.

    Kasey Keller whom I respect greatly was never the keeper Friedel was during his prime. However, as Kartik correctly points out Keller was ahead of Friedel for most of the time during the time with the USMNT. Friedel had better raw talent, but Keller had a better command of the game. Keller may make a great coach one day for the USMNT, Friedel will make a great coach of keepers.

  12. Burt Reynolds

    July 26, 2008 at 12:42 pm

  13. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    July 26, 2008 at 11:01 am

    I stand by what I said.

    Robinson is a better all around keeper than Friedel. Friedel is like most American keepers a shot stopper, but like most American keepers he doesn’t read the game, especially crosses well.

    Go back and watch the US-Germany Quarterfinal game in 2002 World Cup or the US-Brazil game in 1999 Confederations Cup.

    You’ll see both of the winning goals were created out of mis positioning by Friedel.

    The British media beats up on any England #1. Heck they even used to beat up on Peter Shilton! But having watched Friedel as closely as I have and every other American keeper I can tell you at least as an international I’d take Robinson and I’m guessing at the club level I would do the same.

    Do you remember Robinson at Leeds? Recall how good he was?

  14. Oli

    July 26, 2008 at 10:31 am

    Total, uninformed grabage! Friedel No.2 to Keller, Keller kept out by Robinson, therefore Robinson better than Friedel? Man City beat Man U twice last season, does that make Man City Premier League Champions. Friedel is the best keeper I have ever seen at Rovers, bettered only by Cech in the Premiership, and that is a view held by a lot of other teams’ supporters (no small recommendation from a small unfashionable club in a small unfashionable town). Robinson may one day be better than him, but not now.

  15. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    July 26, 2008 at 9:44 am

    Robinson is on his day better than Brad Friedel. Most American keepers are shot stoppers not quick readers of the game as Robinson and Rob Green are. (And why I still think G. Ochoa is going to be far better than any American keeper, and if Sven does it right Mexico can win big, but Sven and doing it right are opposites that hardly ever attract)

    For all the Friedel love keep in mind he had (only) one really good year in MLS and then after signing with Liverpool couldn’t beat out Calamity James! He trouble keeping his work permit but Blackburn, a small club in a small town seemed to be right setting for him. The Rovers fans loved him and the pressure to win is not what it’s going to be at Villa. We’ll see what happens, but Robinson is a solid signing for Paul Ince.

    Keep in mind Friedel was generally with the exception of a few months here and there a backup to Kasey Keller for the US. The same Keller, Paul Robinson beat out cleanly at Spurs after coming over from Leeds.

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