I had a very enjoyable evening last night at the Royal,
Robbie received a warm welcome from a packed house of around 350, where it was standing room only unless you'd got there early. Fortunately getting there early meant I had a seat.
The evening was divided into three parts - the first, Robbie being interviewed (by Radio 5 Live commentator, and
And yes, Derby County Mad got a mention from Robbie himself: "I know some of the Derby Mad lads are in so I'd better be careful what I say as I know they will all be sat here texting the board from their mobiles."
Darren Fletcher, who received a mixed reception with plenty of boos initially, won the crowd over as he was, at least for one evening, a Derby County fan, or at the very least a Robbie Savage fan. He added some anecdotes of his own, mainly about Brian Clough. Here's my favourite.
Brian Clough had signed Justin Fashanu for
In the second part - some fantastic sporting memorabilia was auctioned off for charity, with a Brazilian shirt signed by Pele fetching £300.00. Overall, hundreds and hundreds of pounds must have been raised on the night, with Robbie's chosen charity being the Lewis Mighty Fund.
In the third and final part - Robbie took questions from the floor about his time at
This was most apparent when Robbie was asked about Paul Jewell. It is credit to
What Robbie did give us was his opinion that Paul Jewell thought he was signing the Robbie Savage that had played for Blackburn Rovers against Wigan Athletic, a Robbie Savage that ran around a lot, breaking up the opposition's play, and winning the ball back, but admitted that he wasn't that player any more. He talked about being banned from
Asked outright if he thought
On the subject of the current situation, Robbie assured us that Nigel Clough was definitely here for the long haul and had already done terrific things at the club, particularly off the field. He stated that the gaffer had inherited a club that had been adversely affected by the over spending of previous regimes buying mediocre players on high salaries. The gaffer had reduced the salary bill from £19 million to around £10 million, including Robbie taking a 50% wage cut in return for another year on his contract, with some more ("it's complicated," Robbie said) paid at the end.
Robbie explained that just because
But he also said that he was confident Nigel Clough would sort it out, given time, and take
Robbie said that every football club has a minority of fans who are always criticising and getting on the manager's back, but pointed out that this is counter-productive. Right now, Robbie said, the only thing that will eventually stop Nigel Clough from taking
Robbie admitted that performances weren't great right now but assured us that every player is going out there and giving his best, sometimes it's good enough, sometimes it's not, but no player goes out there thinking 'I'm not going to try today.'
To illustrate the point Robbie said that in 16 years as a professional footballer he always prepared the same way before a game, but that sometimes on the morning of a game he'd wake up and not feel right and think 'this isn't going to be my day.' "You can't explain it," Robbie said, "it's nothing you can put your finger on. Players are human too and some days you feel better than others."
"Every club has it's scapegoats," Robbie added, "and at
There was a lot of humour too, with some amusing anecdotes about his "best mate" Stephen Bywater who wants to be a cage fighter when he finishes playing football. Apparently he'd be fighting now if Nigel Clough would allow it.
Finally though, to sum up the humour of our captain, Robbie told a story about the pre-season game at Torquay United. The home fans were chanting "Gypo, gypo!" and "Where's your caravan?" You know, the usual stuff. Anyway, in response to this, when the ball went out for a throw-in, Robbie told them: "In
An Audience With Robbie Savage was a great night and, if you weren't there, you missed a treat. You really did.