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Tributes pour in for Peter Robinson – the man who reshaped Liverpool – after he dies at 86 

Tributes pour in for Peter Robinson – the man who reshaped Liverpool and oversaw major signings such as John Barnes, Kenny Dalglish and Graeme Souness – after he dies at 86

  • Peter Robinson was behind major signings that revolutionised Liverpool 
  • He also played a key role in the formation of the Premier League in 1992
  • He stepped down at Anfield in 2000 after bringing in Gerard Houllier  











Peter Robinson, one of the most important figures in Liverpool’s history and a peerless administrator, has died aged 86.

Universally known as ‘PBR’, Robinson joined Liverpool in 1965 and for the next 35 years he was part of the fabric at Anfield, working as club secretary and then chief executive before he stepped down in 2000, having overseen the appointment of Gerard Houllier as manager.

Robinson’s outstanding business acumen and discreet way of negotiating enabled Liverpool to sign the players that helped them create a dynasty — a glut of league titles and four European Cups were a shimmering recognition of his work.

Peter Robinson (left), one of the most important figures in Liverpool’s history, has died at 86

Peter Robinson (left), one of the most important figures in Liverpool’s history, has died at 86

Robinson’s outstanding business acumen helped Liverpool on their way to relentless success

Robinson’s outstanding business acumen helped Liverpool on their way to relentless success

It is no exaggeration to say Robinson — who previously worked at Stockport, Crewe, Scunthorpe and Brighton — altered the face of English football with the deals he did for Liverpool, recruiting men such as Kevin Keegan, Ray Clemence, Graeme Souness and John Barnes.

Commercially he was also ahead of his time, driving Liverpool’s first shirt sponsorship deal with Hitachi and being one of the leading executives who agreed the formation of the Premier League in 1992.

The deal for which Robinson had particular affection was from 1977 when Liverpool broke the British transfer record at £440,000 for Kenny Dalglish, as he told Sportsmail in March 2011 on the Scot’s 60th birthday.

‘Signing Kenny was one of the best pieces of business we did during my time at Liverpool but there was an element of good fortune about it,’ Robinson said. ‘We had kept our promise to Kevin Keegan to let him move abroad in 1977 but we had not found a direct replacement.

‘While we were discussing a number of options, I took a rare afternoon off and went to watch Lancashire play cricket at Southport. While I was there, I bumped into a journalist from the Daily Mail, who I knew well, and he assured me that Kenny wanted to come to England.

‘I spoke with Bob Paisley and, fortunately, I had a good relationship with Celtic’s then chairman and we agreed a fee for Kenny over the phone. He turned out to be an absolutely outstanding player and just as good a manager.’

Robinson was pivotal in creating the ‘boot room’ tradition and a culture of promoting managers from within, so that the lineage went from Bill Shankly to Bob Paisley in 1974 and Joe Fagan in 1983. He saw the potential in Dalglish to become a manager and appointed him in 1985.

Robinson (left) also played a key role in the formation of the Premier League in 1992

Robinson (left) also played a key role in the formation of the Premier League in 1992

That move was bold for many reasons, as it came in the wake of the Heysel Stadium disaster — a night that brought shame on Liverpool when 39 Italian fans were killed in Brussels when violence erupted before the European Cup final against Juventus.

Dealing with the consequences of that night and the horror of Hillsborough in April 1989 were huge challenges but Robinson and his chairman John Smith handled the tragedies with empathy and understanding. Put simply, he was a giant.

‘He was a behind-the-scenes legend in how he ran our club,’ said former captain Phil Thompson.

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