Anyone who watched West Bromwich Albion’s 2009/10 season review will have been tickled by Roberto Di Matteo’s tale of his brief meeting with Paul Robinson.
The Baggies manager had barely walked through the training ground doors for the first time when Robinson demanded a move.
Di Matteo recalls the conversation which took place but admits he bears no grudge to the Bolton defender, who comes back to the Hawthorns for the first time this Saturday.
“On the first day I met him I went ‘hi Robbo’ and he basically said ‘Yeah, gaffer I want to leave’.
“I said ‘I’m pleased to meet you too, come and see me after training’. That was our introduction.
“He’s said ‘sorry’ about it since then but I think it was just his strong belief he wanted to play in the Premier League.
“It was the same with Jonno (Jonathan Greening) as well. He wanted to stay in the Premier League. I didn’t work with him for long.
“I see him more now than when he was actually at the club because our kids go to the same school.
“He was a fantastic servant club but didn’t want to be here with us. It was an easy decision then for the club to let him move on.”
The loss of Robinson was eased by Marek Cech’s form last season.
The Slovakian is currently nursing a triple metatarsal fracture but hopes to be back after the forthcoming international break.
The Baggies have also benefitted from the return to form of Nicky Shorey, who signed from Villa last month.
Di Matteo added: “He’s come in and taken his chance. He’s performed at a high level and has done very well for the club so far. He looks composed.
“We knew that he had qualities to play at this level because he’d played here before.
“He’s had years of experience in the Premier League. We’re very pleased with him.”