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Paul Robinson
Position: Left back
From: Youth team
Career stats: Soccerbase
He is: No longer under guarantee


Paul Robinson reminds me of my boiler.

When it was first installed about five years ago, it was all shiny and new and a massive improvement on the previous incumbent with its instant delivery of hot water and easy-to-work timer mechanism. It was obvious that this was a boiler for the future.

And when it first let me down I forgave it. After all, it was a young inexperienced boiler trying its best, and it was bound to have a few teething problems facing, as it was, some testing heating situations for the first time. The second and third hiccups were acceptable too, though as the silly mistakes mounted up, there was a growing feeling that my boiler was letting the rest of the flat down...and, let's face it, the flat did tend to struggle when the boiler was serving one of its all too regular suspensions. Its replacements, the kettle and the electric heater, simply weren't up to the job of heating and providing hot water on demand for what was by now a Premier League flat.

But I reined back my frustration and assured myself that, with all the attention the boiler was getting from skilled professionals, these little problems would be ironed out soon enough and it would go on to be a top quality boiler that other flats would envy. After all, when it was working, it worked very well. I certainly wasn't about to spend my money on replacing it when there were so many other areas of the flat in such obvious need of investment.

Well, it's 2001 now, and the bloody thing is still having problems. And while I could forgive a young boiler, modern manufacturing standards being what they are, I simply cannot accept that after five years of practice and having had every single aspect of it tinkered with, tweaked and in many cases replaced, the sodding thing is still putting me through the humiliating experience of stepping into an ice cold shower first thing in the morning. It's old enough to know better now.

I can forgive other appliances. It's obvious, for example, that my fridge will never be a world beater, but you get what you pay for in this world. I had high hopes for my boiler though - it represented its country at under twenty-one level, and yet now, even though there is no obvious candidate to fill the boiler position at full international level, it is not even in contention for the senior national side. With all the time and money I have invested into it over the years, frankly, I expect more.

I suspect that GT feels the same about Paul Robinson.

Mike Abbott
Last updated: January 2001