Morecambe boss Stephen Robinson recalls fond Paul Gascoigne memories as he plots Tottenham FA Cup shock

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·3-min read
Morecambe boss Stephen Robinson recalls fond Paul Gascoigne memories as he plots Tottenham FA Cup shock
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  • Paul Gascoigne
    Paul Gascoigne
    English association football player and manager (born 1967)
  • Antonio Conte
    Antonio Conte
    Italian association football player and manager
  • Stephen Robinson
    Professional footballer (born 1974)

Morecambe boss Stephen Robinson began his professional career with Tottenham as an errand boy for the great Paul Gascoigne but on Sunday he will take charge of the Shrimps in the FA Cup third round against Antonio Conte's side.

Robinson, 47, joined Spurs as a youth player in 1991 – the year they last won the FA Cup – and went on to make two appearances under Ossie Ardiles before successful spells with Bournemouth and Luton.

The Northern Irishman, who earned a reputation as a cup manager with Motherwell, recalls bonding with Gazza when he first arrived in London, and says he will never forget his generosity and sense of humour.

"He had the young boys running to get, well it wasn’t Kentucky Fried Chicken, it was a cast-off, from a shop on the Tottenham High Road," Robsinson said. "That was Gazza’s pre-match meal, us running about at half past one and we’d probably get a £50 note or £20 to go and get it for him. Everybody queued up to do that for him on a Saturday.

"He was very generous, very kind-hearted and people forget that about him sometimes. Gazza was of course a top, top-line footballer of course but he was also a really genuine, generous guy.

"He drove in one day in his car. We were on £29.50 a week, all us YTS players at the time and he was throwing money out the window at us.

"He was throwing £20 notes and £50 notes at us. That was a week’s wages for us so there was a proper scramble, me and Sol Campbell fighting for a £20 note...there was only one winner there unfortunately!"

Conte is expected to make changes for the tie, with Harry Kane and Heung-min Son among the players who could be rested, but Robinson is hoping to face a strong side.

"Whoever they put out, we’re expecting multi-million pound, full international players, but it would be great for our players to pit their wits and their talents against people like Harry Kane," he said.

Morecambe boss Stephen Robinson began his professional playing career with Tottenham (Getty Images)
Morecambe boss Stephen Robinson began his professional playing career with Tottenham (Getty Images)

Robinson led Motherwell to the finals of the Scottish Cup and the Scottish League Cup in 2017-18, losing both to all-conquering Celtic, and he says Sunday's game will rank alongside those matches as the biggest occasion of his career.

"I'd love a glass of wine with Antonio after to pick his brains but in these Covid times I'm not sure it's going to happen," he said. "We want to enjoy our day but we want to put a performance on, put Morecambe on the map and show we can play good football.

"The biggest thing we're looking forward to is our fans coming down and enjoying the occasion after missing out on a promotion season [due to Covid]. I don't think our players will freeze, there's big clubs in League One like Sunderland with 30-40,000-seater stadiums. I don't think it'll be about freezing but it goes without saying we have to pass the ball well and defend well."

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