If Bryan Robson had not suffered such regular injuries...

padzilla

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How different would our club's history have been? Would Ron Atkinson have won the league or regularly challenged for it? Also would Diego Maradona waltzed through the heart of that English midfield for that famous second goal in 86? I know it's all a big what if but Robbo was some player.
 

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How different would our club's history have been? Would Ron Atkinson have won the league or regularly challenged for it? Also would Diego Maradona waltzed through the heart of that English midfield for that famous second goal in 86? I know it's all a big what if but Robbo was some player.
Always confuses me why no England player chopped Diego down for that goal. They were almost in awe of him rather than sticking a leg out ffs.
 

nooshka

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Didn’t he miss the World Cup in 90 as well, because Gazza broke his toe.
 

padzilla

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Maybe just once but not regularly challenging it, consistent top 4 finish though.
We never finished a season outside the top four with Big Ron - but back then than meant nothing.
 

clarkydaz

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Always confuses me why no England player chopped Diego down for that goal. They were almost in awe of him rather than sticking a leg out ffs.
Maradona said himself English players were too knoble. He wouldnt have scored that against many other teams
 

Falcow

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If Robbo hadn't been such a mad man for the booze he probably wouldn't have been injured as much, no guarantee of course but what a coincidence that him, Whiteside and McGrath were always crocked.

Big if alright though, Ron may have won a league, Fergie might never have been hired, who knows, one for doc and Marty to sort out.
 
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billybee99

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Always confuses me why no England player chopped Diego down for that goal. They were almost in awe of him rather than sticking a leg out ffs.
Easier said than done. You can't tackle what you don't see. He was a fecking blur. It's the greatest ever goal for a reason. I'm sure people will look back in 30 years at half of Messi's goals and say "why didn't anyone stick a leg out." They would if they could.
 

cyril C

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How different would our club's history have been? Would Ron Atkinson have won the league or regularly challenged for it? Also would Diego Maradona waltzed through the heart of that English midfield for that famous second goal in 86? I know it's all a big what if but Robbo was some player.
I doubt Atkinson has what it takes to be the best. With a fit and always available Robson, we would have probably stayed at Liverpool level, like Stevie G did to pool.May be lucky to win a thing or 2, but nowhere near Fergi's level.
 

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He might have been a different player had he not put his body on the line so often to incur fewer injuries.
 

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A injury free Robson season and perhaps add to that a injury free season from Norman and McGrath I think we could have challenged for the title better than we ever did. The start in 85 when we went 10 games unbeaten should have been the year. The problem was we were paper thin in terms of strength in depth, which was always a bit of a problem under Big Ron. We would have needed a season where we only used say 16 or 17 players maximum.
 

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Win league once, 2nd place twice, 3rd several times, consistent top 4 finish, win one European Cup, and win plenty more FA Cups plus League Cup consistently.

So a bit like Gerrard at Pool minus actually winning the league once and more cups.
 

davidmichael

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Back then Liverpool were so far ahead of everyone else that even with as good as Robson was it wouldn’t have made much difference in regards to league titles, we may have won a couple more FA Cups and League Cups which was still a big achievement back then domestically and may have even done something in the Cup Winners Cup or UEFA Cup.
 

Josh 76

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If Robbo hadn't been such a mad man for the booze he probably wouldn't have been injured as much, no guarantee of course but what a coincidence that him, Whiteside and McGrath were always crocked.

Big if alright though, Ron may have won a league, Fergie might never have been hired, who knows, one for doc and Marty to sort out.
That's a great point about how the 3 of them abused their bodies with all the alcohol they were consuming.

It caught up over the years. People will say it had nothing to do with the injuries , but poisoning your body would still effect the recovery.

The year Utd won 10 games in a row at the start of the 85-86 season was the one. Robson getting injured was a key factor in the slump. Big Ron has said he needed a couple more players to really push that year. According to him, Gary Lineker and Terry Butcher were done deals, but the board didn't back him. The following year he was sacked and as they say, the rest was history!
 

Sandikan

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Always confuses me why no England player chopped Diego down for that goal. They were almost in awe of him rather than sticking a leg out ffs.
Wasn't Fenwick on a yellow, so he certainly couldn't smash him.

But what Peter Reid was doing just jogging behind him I don't know.

But the biggest question is what the hell Fenwick was doing lofting one into his own penalty box for Maradona to handle it in.
It's mad enough without explanation, but apparently he actually meant to do it, thinking Shilton would easily catch it. Absolutely ludicrous when he could have booted it spark out of dodge.
 

Sandikan

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That's a great point about how the 3 of them abused their bodies with all the alcohol they were consuming.

It caught up over the years. People will say it had nothing to do with the injuries , but poisoning your body would still effect the recovery.

The year Utd won 10 games in a row at the start of the 85-86 season was the one. Robson getting injured was a key factor in the slump. Big Ron has said he needed a couple more players to really push that year. According to him, Gary Lineker and Terry Butcher were done deals, but the board didn't back him. The following year he was sacked and as they say, the rest was history!
Most of Robbo's injuries were impact injuries due to incredible braveness. The booze may have slowed the recovery, but not like he was picking little niggles up.


Would be surprised at the Gary Lineker thing. Listening to him speaking on his podcast about his career, he said he had one chance to join United. That was in 89 with Fergie at the helm, and that he was already close to a done deal with Spurs, and that United clearly weren't what they became a few years later.
 

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If Robbo hadn't been such a mad man for the booze he probably wouldn't have been injured as much, no guarantee of course but what a coincidence that him, Whiteside and McGrath were always crocked.

Big if alright though, Ron may have won a league, Fergie might never have been hired, who knows, one for doc and Marty to sort out.
McGrath had his issues as we all know but he played a lot more games than maybe people realise. Look at his numbers for Villa, he didn't miss much for them. From 89 to 95 he was mid 40's to 50 games per season for them. I think he played his best club football for them as well. Villa had a good side back then, finished 2nd a couple of times, and won a couple of cups. MCGrath of course got PFA players player of the season 92-93.
 

Chesterlestreet

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He might have been a different player had he not put his body on the line so often to incur fewer injuries.
I think that was part of it, yes.

Being "injury prone" in a general (and very vague, from a scientific viewpoint) sense is...well, one thing.

Some players may be predisposed to certain types of injuries (which may not be known at the time). Others may be just plain unlucky.

But Robson played in a different era, where putting yourself on the line (as you say) was very much a thing for a certain kind of player (a leader, a general on the pitch - which Robson very much was). And - yes - the combination of being a less than super professional athlete (the man loved his booze - this is well known) AND the tendency to "give it all" on the pitch (one could say that this was something he was expected to do - and something he actively tried to live up to)...well, not ideal.

Anyway - injury free Robbo playing at roughly his top level all season (in his prime, at that): United win the league under Big Ron at some point (obvious case in point would be the 1985-86 season, where we won the first ten games: at the end of the season, Robson had only played HALF of all fixtures due to bloody injuries). He was that good, easily. And - I could add - the team was much better than is sometimes suggested, i.e. the idea that Fergie took over a shite team and turned it into gold. He did not. He took over a deeply flawed team (not least in terms of professionalism) - but United weren't miles off Liverpool (or Everton) under Big Ron.

EDIT The '84 CWC campaign is very interesting with regard to both how good Robson was - and what level United as such were under Big Ron: United came back from a 0-2 defeat in Spain to beat Barca (featuring Schuster and Maradona) 3-0 at Old Trafford in what many consider Robson's ultimate performance (he utterly dominated the match and scored twice).

We then proceeded to the semi-final, facing a legendary side - Trappatoni's Juventus, featuring Scirea, Gentile, Cabrini, Tardelli, Rossi and Boniek .

Oh - and some bloke called Michel Platini.

United managed a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford - and then lost 1-2 in Turin after a goal by Rossi in the last minute of the match (typical enough Juve style). Robson didn't play in either leg, as he was (of course) injured.

We had multiple very good-to-brilliant football players: Albiston, Wilkins, Stapleton, Whiteside, Hughes, Moses (the latter often heavily underrated) and more (who were at the least decent top level domestic players at the time). And that's without mentioning the genius named Paul McGrath, who in my opinion is the best defender who ever played for Manchester United (even when playing with a massive hangover, which he usually did).

Now, add a prime Bryan Robson to one of those legs (preferably both) - and, yeah, there you are. Juventus won the tournament that year. Might have been a different story with Robson in the mix.
 
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choccy77

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Easier said than done. You can't tackle what you don't see. He was a fecking blur. It's the greatest ever goal for a reason. I'm sure people will look back in 30 years at half of Messi's goals and say "why didn't anyone stick a leg out." They would if they could.

Robson in 88 at Wembley Tackled Maradonna in this same scenario.

A fit Captain Marvel would have taken him out 100%
 

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We would certainly have won at least one title if Robson had stayed fit.Possibly 85/86 when we won our first 10 games.
Unfortunately he didn't.
 

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McGrath had his issues as we all know but he played a lot more games than maybe people realise. Look at his numbers for Villa, he didn't miss much for them. From 89 to 95 he was mid 40's to 50 games per season for them. I think he played his best club football for them as well. Villa had a good side back then, finished 2nd a couple of times, and won a couple of cups. MCGrath of course got PFA players player of the season 92-93.
Indeed, he had some great performances for ireland after that as well. I think he needed to get out of the rut he was in in Manchester and the change did him good.

Would have been great if himself, Whiteside and Robbo stayed injury free and off the booze.
 

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You don't get good old fashioned goal celebrations like that anymore
 

lsd

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Always confuses me why no England player chopped Diego down for that goal. They were almost in awe of him rather than sticking a leg out ffs.

They would if they could have. One if the funniest things i have seen is how Peter Reid was with him when he got the ball and how quick he disappeared from the tv screen as Maradona left him in his wake
 
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NWRed

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Wasn't Fenwick on a yellow, so he certainly couldn't smash him.

But what Peter Reid was doing just jogging behind him I don't know.

But the biggest question is what the hell Fenwick was doing lofting one into his own penalty box for Maradona to handle it in.
It's mad enough without explanation, but apparently he actually meant to do it, thinking Shilton would easily catch it. Absolutely ludicrous when he could have booted it spark out of dodge.
TBF he was right, Shilton would have easily caught it had Maradona not been a cheating bastard, and it still wouldn't have been a goal had the referee nd linesman not been blind feckers.
 

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United came back from a 0-2 defeat in Spain to beat Barca (featuring Schuster and Maradona) 3-0 at Old Trafford in what many consider Robson's ultimate performance (he utterly dominated the match and scored twice).
A bit of shameless self-promotion (not for your sake but maybe someone haven't seen it). I swear, I can watch it over and over again until the end of times.

 

Sandikan

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TBF he was right, Shilton would have easily caught it had Maradona not been a cheating bastard, and it still wouldn't have been a goal had the referee nd linesman not been blind feckers.
No-one expects their full back to boot it back into the danger area like that. All he had to do was smash it. Out for a throw or corner.
I'm not surprised Shilton was totally caught on his heels.
 
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My favourite United player. The last player to properly carry our team
A goal that encaptures a lot of Robson in one video.

Coming back to help, reading play, a bit of skill, passes and keeps moving forward, great engine, superb timing of runs into the box and (very) good in the air. It just needed to start with a crunching tackle where it seemed the opponent was odds on to win it but didn't.

The best British player I've ever seen. I've seen players who were maybe greater in their preferred position but I've never seen a player who did so many things, so well while inspiring/encouraging (not screaming at) his teammates, a proper leader.

A bit of shameless self-promotion (not for your sake but maybe someone haven't seen it). I swear, I can watch it over and over again until the end of times.

Me too... and I just did again :)

Went to that and in my top.5 ever United games as is another game he scored in.. the 85 FA cup semi. The first game was one of the best games of back and to football with two teams playing well that I've seen (up there with the Villa game in 93) and while the second game wasn't as good, it gave us this...


leading to a pitch invasion and him being mobbed for the god he was to us. The ability of Keane plus the cult like status of Cantona.

(Semi highlights ... pitch invasion about 10 minutes in...

)
 

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If Robbo hadn't been such a mad man for the booze he probably wouldn't have been injured as much, no guarantee of course but what a coincidence that him, Whiteside and McGrath were always crocked.

Big if alright though, Ron may have won a league, Fergie might never have been hired, who knows, one for doc and Marty to sort out.
Pally was a massive pish head too, he was Mr dependable. Robbo was injured as he’d recklessly through himself into challenges. Made him the player he was, but also made him susceptible to injuries.
We’d certainly have won 1 league if he’d managed to stay fit, in my opinion.
 

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My favourite United player. The last player to properly carry our team
Favourite ever or first ever favourite?

Cos I would agree with you, but then Cantona came along and pretty much stole every bit of my fanboy heart!

but yeah, for our generation Robbo is our undisputed first love, and the greatest player we’ve ever had.
 
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sammsky1

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Always confuses me why no England player chopped Diego down for that goal. They were almost in awe of him rather than sticking a leg out ffs.
England were brutal and merciless in their physical abuse against Maradona in that game!! So they weren’t being angelic in not cutting him down.

England were mentally all over the place and 1-0 down through the hand of God goal, so perhaps they were dazed because of that.

more like his close ball control and short bursts of acceleration were just impossible to catch... it was mesmerising you watch in real time, can’t imagine playing against it!
 

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Favourite ever or first ever favourite?

Cos I would agree with you, but then Cantona came along and pretty much stole every bit of my fanboy heart!

but yeah, for our generation Robbo is our undisputed first love, and the greatest player we’ve ever had.
Im old enough to remember Best but Robbo is my 2nd favourite player. An absolute Titan for us.
 

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How often was he injured? Niggling injuries every season or big ones that kept him out for large chunks?
 

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1985–86_Manchester_United_F.C._season

I never missed a home match in the 1985/6 season and if Robbo had not been injured after our 10 straight wins we would have won the league that season but it was also impacted by Mark Hughes signing for Barcelona and his form fell away from March - Hughes was an outstanding striker in those opening games with goals flying in from crosses supplied by a flying Peter Barnes and Jesper Olsen. I remember Remi Moses was injured that season as well which didn't help cover Robbo's injury.

Robson was the stand out best player of his generation but he certainly liked a drink - he was a "one man midfield" and could do everything in that area of the pitch. There's not been a better player at the club and he would get into every team in any period IMO.
 

GueRed

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Lets just say he was better than Keane, Gerrard, Vieira and shits on any centre-midfielder today on one leg

England's best player the last 40 years

the ONLY player i ever fanboyed over. (tbf my excuse is that i was a kid)
 

Oldyella

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How often was he injured? Niggling injuries every season or big ones that kept him out for large chunks?
Think he broke his leg 3? times? There were big injuries in amongst the niggles.