Mark Gordon Robins (born 22 December 1969) is an English football manager and former player, currently manager of Scunthorpe United. As a player he was a striker from 1986 to 2005. After starting his career with Manchester United, he went on to play in the Premier League for Norwich City and Leicester City before playing in the Football League with Reading, Manchester City, Walsall, Rotherham United, Bristol City, Sheffield Wednesday and in Europe with FC Copenhagen, Ourense and Panionios. He finished his career in the Conference National with Burton Albion and was capped six times for the England under-21 side. In 2007, he became manager of Rotherham United, and joined Barnsley in the same capacity in 2009, before leaving in 2011, following differences between him and the board.
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 Nottingham Forest (one of the most successful cup teams of the late 1980s and early 1990s) on 7 January 1990, in a third round FA Cup tie. It was widely speculated in the media (but perennially denied by then-Chairman Martin Edwards) that under-pressure United manager 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 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 over the next 23 years.
In that season, Robins scored seven First Division goals and a further two in the FA Cup, bringing his tally that season to nine in all competitions. His goal in the FA Cup third round also had the distinction of making him the player to score the first goal of the 1990s for Manchester United. He also scored one of United’s two goals in the semi-final replay where they beat Oldham Athletic.
He was second only to Mark Hughes in the goalscoring charts at Old Trafford, 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 managed only 19 First Division appearances and four goals. He was, however, in the squad that won the European Cup Winners’ Cup that season. September was a good month for him, as he scored twice in a 3-2 home win over QPR in the league and the winning goal in a visit to Luton Town.
However, the 1991–92 season was a frustrating one for Robins as he played just twice in the league, failing to score, and in total made just eight appearances in all competitions. His only goals that season came in the League Cup second round at home to Portsmouth, when he scored twice in a 3–2 win at Old Trafford. When the opportunity for a place back in the first team arose in April as United were being overhauled by Leeds United in the title race, Robins was injured and unavailable for selection.
Two wry forms of consolation for Robins in a frustrating season came during the first half of the campaign. On 30 October 1991, he scored twice in their 3–1 win over Portsmouth in the League Cup third round, putting them on course for a strong run in the competition which culminated in them winning it for the very first time. On 19 November 1991, he collected a European Super Cup winner’s medal (as a non playing substitute) as United beat Red Star Belgrade in the game at Old Trafford.
At the end of the season, he asked to be transfer listed.
He left Manchester United 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 Olympiastadion against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Cup.
In his first game his two goals helped Norwich defeat Arsenal 4–2 at Highbury on the opening day of the first ever Premier League season. The Canaries were 2–0 down with a quarter of the game remaining before Robins scored the club’s first Premier League goal in the 69th minute, followed swiftly by goals from wingers David Phillips and Ruel Fox, before Robins completed a 4–2 triumph with an 84th-minute goal.
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, having led the league at several stages and featured in the title race until well into April, before his old club Manchester United finally won the title. 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.
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. He did, however, help them win promotion back to the Premier League via the play-offs in 1995–96, and win the League Cup in 1996–97, when they finished ninth in the Premier League.
Even though Mark Robins only played six games for FC Copenhagen he managed to become a legend at the club because of a very good scoring streak which helped the club through a tough time. Among the FC Copenhagen supporters him and his then attacking partner Michael Manniche got the nicknames “Batmanne and Robins” which you can read in the fan clubs debate forum Sidelinien. The duo are still known as this among the FC Copenhagen supporters which you can see at the official Facebook page for FC Copenhagen. Mark Robins also got another nickname in Denmark “Rubinen” which means the ruby.
Robins later played for Reading, Ourense, Panionios, Manchester City, Walsall, Rotherham United, Bristol City, Sheffield Wednesday and Burton Albion.
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 two 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 Stadium, including League 2 player of the season Nicky Law and prolific goal scorer Adam le Fondre.
Robins was appointed as the new manager of Barnsley on 9 September 2009, succeeding Simon Davey. After his first game in charge, the Championship club sat at the bottom of the table looking likely candidates for relegation. By Christmas, Robins had taken them a full nine points clear of the relegation zone and on a run of eight games unbeaten. This was followed by a poor spell towards the end of the season, and Barnsley finished 18th in the table. Robins resigned from his job at the end of the 2010–11 season, because of differences with the board.
On 19 September 2012, Robins was appointed as the new manager of Coventry City, signing a three-year deal. His first game was a 2–1 defeat against Carlisle United.
Robins became a fan-favourite catapulting them up the league from relegation battlers to true play-off contenders all in the short time that he had been at the club.
Robins lead the club to the Area Final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy which left the club two games away from Wembley. Coventry City also had to face two Premier Leagueclubs away from home during his time. The first, being Arsenal in the League Cup third round, which resulted in a 6–1 defeat and the second being Arsenal’s North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur which ended as a 3–0 loss, knocking the Sky Blues out the FA Cup third round.
Robins was first linked with the vacant Doncaster Rovers position and various other clubs but nothing really came of this interest and he told the Sky Sports cameras before the JPT Semi-Final game against Preston North End that ‘it’s (Coventry City) in my blood’. However, on 12 February, Coventry City released a statement saying they had allowed Mark Robins to go into talks with Huddersfield Town about their vacant managerial position.
On 14 February 2013, Robins was unveiled as the new manager of Huddersfield Town on a rolling contract. His first game in charge came three days later, a 4–1 defeat to Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup fifth-round at John Smith’s Stadium. On 19 February 2013, Robins took charge of his first league match as Huddersfield manager, a 6–1 defeat away from home against Nottingham Forest. Robins earned his first win as Huddersfield manager on 26 February 2013, a 1–0 victory against Burnley at Turf Moor. Robins made sure that Huddersfield avoided relegation to League One on the final day of the 2012–13 season after drawing 2–2 with Barnsley.
After surviving the following season, Robins and Huddersfield mutually agreed to part company after the first game of the 2014-15 season, a 4–0 home defeat to Bournemouth.
On 13 October 2014, Robins was appointed manager of League One club Scunthorpe United.
Full name Mark Gordon Robins
Date of birth 22 December 1969 (age 45)
Place of birth Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, England
Playing position Striker
Current team Scunthorpe United (manager)
1984–1988 Manchester United
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1988–1992 Manchester United 48 (11)
1992–1995 Norwich City 68 (20)
1995–1998 Leicester City 56 (12)
1996 Copenhagen (loan) 6 (4)
1997 Reading (loan) 5 (0)
1998 Ourense 18 (5)
1998–1999 Panionios 13 (1)
1999 Manchester City (loan) 2 (0)
1999–2000 Walsall 40 (6)
2000–2003 Rotherham United 107 (44)
2003 Bristol City (loan) 6 (4)
2003–2004 Sheffield Wednesday 15 (3)
2004–2005 Burton Albion 9 (1)
Total 375 (106)
1990 England U21 6 (7)
2007–2009 Rotherham United
2012–2013 Coventry City
2013–2014 Huddersfield Town
2014– Scunthorpe United