The previous Hearts and Scotland participant, who’s now the sporting director at Inverness Caley, additionally possesses a pawky sense of humour, which is apparent when one seems to be on the title of his new e book Robbo: My Autobiography, the Recreation’s Not Over Until the Fats Striker Scores.
But, whereas he has a variety of have a good time on his cv, whether or not in his haul of 311 objectives in additional than 700 appearances for the Tynecastle membership or the 16 caps for his nation, Robertson was not in an incredible place throughout the Covid pandemic.
John Robertson has at all times been a likeable fellow; somewhat coiled spring of bustling vitality and effervescence, with a Bunteresque urge for food for notching objectives and leaving rivals deflated.
He suffered the lack of his sister, Moira, from most cancers, struggled to sleep, discovered himself being overwhelmed by attempting to take care of his younger squad and step by step realised he must step away from the sport he cherished.
Many of those soccer memoirs are half-baked efforts, full of platitudinous pap and traditional rags-to-riches tales with somewhat little bit of delicate peril and average stress tossed into the combo. However that cost definitely can’t be levelled at Robertson, who skilled tragedy early in his life and has needed to confront all method of controversies throughout his profession.
There was the shock as a 14-year-old of dropping his father, additionally John, to most cancers in circumstances past his comprehension; his brave, however contentious choice to criticise his personal chairman, Wallace Mercer, when the latter was ready to place Hibs out of enterprise and create only one Edinburgh workforce; and his difficulties in persuading a number of Scotland managers that he might do extra than simply rating objectives (even when that’s the purpose of the sport).
Robertson emerges as an trustworthy dealer and nothing has modified from his lengthy service with Hearts to his 20-year spell within the Highland capital, a spot the place he and his household have escaped the goldfish bowl through which he as soon as dwelt whereas he was plying his commerce and successful plaudits at Tynecastle.
His involvement within the anti-Mercer marketing campaign in 1990 might have had severe repercussions, however as he admits, he was typically a “fortunate wee b***ard”.
He stated: “The plan appeared easy and easy. I used to be to be walked on stage [at a protest meeting] with a couple of of the ex-Hibs gamers and introduced as a supporter of the Arms Off Hibs marketing campaign.
“To this present day, I nonetheless don’t know what occurred. A microphone was thrust into my palms and I used to be ‘invited’ to say a couple of phrases to the viewers. I used to be gobsmacked and had nothing ready, however I managed to mumble some phrases alongside the strains that Edinburgh wanted each golf equipment, that it was a rivalry which had spanned over 100 years and was there any higher feeling than turning up at work on a Monday after a derby victory to your membership.
“However, most significantly, I used to be there to help the Hibs gamers as a result of a takeover of any type would imply gamers dropping their jobs.”
Predictably, Mercer exploded with rage at this intervention and tore strips off his participant throughout an indignant assembly, the place he warned that Robertson could be despatched packing if he ever spoke out towards his chairman once more.
Nevertheless it’s one of many options of his profession that the wee man doesn’t scare simply. He has written this work throughout lockdown and hasn’t omitted the melancholia and despair which might usually afflict these within the sporting area, particularly when it’s time to hold up their boots and discover different employment.
Robertson stated: “Once I had first arrived [at Hearts] earlier than Christmas in 1980, there was nobody there to greet me as I walked via the doorways with Dave Bowman. And, on the day I used to be leaving [in 1998], it was the exact same because the stadium was empty other than the groundsman working away.
“I walked out of the door with a black plastic bag with my belongings and that was that. I used to be now not a participant for Hearts. It was over.”