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Mark Gordon Robins (born 22 December 1969 in Ashton Under Lynemarker) is an Englishmarker football manager currently at Barnsley.

As a player, he was most notable for his exploits with Manchester United, Norwich City and Leicester City.

Robins is often noted as the player who scored the goal which "saved Alex Ferguson's job" in 1990.

Playing career

Manchester United

Robins played a very important part in winning the FA Cup for Manchester United in 1990, which was the first trophy of manager Alex Ferguson's reign at the club, scoring the winning goal in the semi-final replay against Oldham Athletic.

However, it was an earlier goal that secured Robins a vital part in the history of the club. United were playing away from home against cup specialists Nottingham Forest in a 7 January 1990 third round FA Cup tie and were expected to lose the match. It was widely speculated in the media (but perennially denied by then-Chairman Martin Edwards) that under-pressure United manager Sir Alex Ferguson would have been sacked had United lost and gone out of the Cup, as they were 15th in the league by this stage and had already been eliminated from the Football League Cup. Instead, Robins came off the bench late into the game and scored the winning headed goal from a Mark Hughes cross. That goal was a turning point in the history of the football club — Ferguson would keep his job and go on to achieve an unmatched run of success at the club.

In that season, Robins scored 7 First Division goals and a further 2 in the FA Cup, bringing his tally that season to 9 in all competitions. He was second only to Mark Hughes in the goalscoring charts at Old Traffordmarker, while Hughes's regular strike-partner Brian McClair had managed a mere five goals and it was starting to look as though Robins would displace McClair as the club's regular second striker. However, McClair recovered his goalscoring form in 1990-91, and Robins still managed only 19 First Division appearances and 4 goals. He was, however, in the squad that won the European Cup Winners' Cup that season. 1991-92, however, was a frustrating season for Robins as he played just twice in the league, failing to score, and in total made just 8 appearances in all competitions. His only goals that season came in the Football League Cup second round at home to Portsmouth, when he scored twice in a 3-2 win at Old Traffordmarker. When the opportunity for a place back in the first team arose in April as United were being overhauled by Leeds in the title race, Robins was injured and unable for selection. At the end of the season, he asked to be transfer listed.

Norwich City

He left Old Traffordmarker for Norwich City for a fee of £800,000 where he played an important role in some of the club's greatest successes, including the remarkable win in the Olympic Stadium against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Cup. In his first game his two goals helped Norwich defeat Arsenal at Highbury on the opening day of the first ever Premier League season. He helped them qualify for the UEFA Cup at the end of the 1992-93 season, in which Norwich finished third in the Premier League. His 1993-94 season was interrupted by a serious injury, and coincided with a slump in form for Norwich, who finished 12th after spending most of the first half of the season in the top five.

Leicester City

In 1994-95, after falling out with Norwich manager John Deehan, he was sold to Leicester City, but was unable to prevent them from being relegated to Division One (ironically along with Norwich). He did, however, help them win promotion back to the Premier League via the play-offs in 1995-96, and win the Coca-Cola Cup in 1996-97, when they finished ninth in the Premier League.

Later career

Robins later played for FC Copenhagen, Reading, CD Ourense, Panionios, Manchester City, Walsall, Rotherham United, Bristol City, Sheffield Wednesday and Burton Albion.


Managerial career

Rotherham United

Robins joined Rotherham United in June 2000 as a player and subsequently as assistant manager, under manager Alan Knill. However, by the end of February 2007, the Millers sat 13 points adrift of safety, making the threat of relegation almost inevitable. This resulted in Knill being sacked on 1 March, with Robins becoming caretaker manager. After a spell of three wins in six games while in charge as caretaker manager, and moving the club off the bottom of League One, Robins' position was made permanent on 6 April 2007. Robins gained much praise for his first 2 seasons with the millers. The first saw Rotherham consistently in the automatic promotion places until a late dip in form, and the second almost brought promotion despite a 17 point deduction imposed by the Football League. Robins also attracted many high calibre players to the Don Valley Stadiummarker, including League 2 player of the season Nicky Law and prolific goalscorer Adam le Fondre.


Robins was appointed as the new Barnsley FC manager succeeding Simon Davey on 9 September 2009. His first game in charge was in a 1-0 defeat to Watford. However in their very next game 3 days later Robins led a much more confident Barnsley side to a 3-2 victory over Derby County at Pride Park. He is currently helping Barnsley slowly climb the Championship table.

Managerial stats

Team Nat From To Record
G W L D Win %
Rotherham United 1 March 2007 9 September 2009 128 55 43 30
Barnsley 9 September 2009 Present 14 7 5 2
Total 142 62 48 32
As of 24 November 2009


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