Here’s to you, Mr Robinson

The rumours flying around this afternoon are heavily linking FA Cup Hero Theo Robinson with a return to Lincoln City.

It’s come as quite a surprise, the second in 24 hours given the exit of Rob Dickie, but nonetheless is has got Imps fans talking. Theo divided opinion whilst here last season and any return would once again polarize fans.

The facts are these: 28 year-old Theo joined us as a free agent, banged in eye-catching goals in our record-breaking FA Cup run before departing on deadline day to Southend. The Shrimpers even paid us a fee despite him being on non-contract terms because their approach came too late on in the day. His departure was listened to intently by fans on Radio Lincolnshire as they broadcast live from Solihull Moors.

Effort against Altrincham in the first round proper

This season he’s appeared 21 times for Southend, almost exclusively from the bench, although he’s scored twice in the Checkatrade Trophy. Along with strike partner Nile Ranger he’s been deemed ‘surplus’ by manager Phil Brown and is now set for a sensational return to the Imps.

Last season, we should never have had Theo Robinson in our side. A regular in the Championship at one stage of his career, as he approached 28 he should have been in his prime. Instead, an unfortunate set of circumstances led to him being without a club and he sought refuge at Sincil Bank. He wanted to rebuild his reputation and get some game time, we wanted to win football matches. It was a mutually beneficial relationship, but neither party realised how beneficial it might be.

Before I continue we did get two Theo Robinsons. The first was a hard-working striker in the league campaign who often failed to achieve his potential. He chased and harassed defenders, but his finishing was sometimes amiss and he was caught offside often. He was a good player in the league, but not outstanding. His work rate was never questioned though, he would run himself into the ground for the cause. There is a fallacy that he only turned up for cup games and that simply isn’t true.

As soon as those TV cameras were rolling though he transformed into an absolute monster of a player. Maybe it was playing against proper defenders instead of the non-league hatchet men, but in the FA Cup he excelled significantly more than most. He scored against Guiseley and then bagged a superb brace as we put Oldham to the sword. Then, perhaps his finest hour. Portman Road was the scene of a powerful and commanding centre forward display from Theo. He scored twice as the lines between Championship and National League blurred.

I think these are usually described as ‘scenes’.

Often, the Ipswich ties are remembered for Nathan’s superb winner. At the end of season awards dinner there was a VT running, but Theo had been omitted from the show. Perhaps that was right, after all he did move on and leave us a little short for a while. However, after his Ipswich goals he stepped up again with a fine goal as we put Brighton (pictured top) out of the cup at the third-round stage.

By the time, we steamed into Turf Moor he had the move he’d always craved. Southend came in for him as we were playing Solihull, and whilst Jack Muldoon was scoring on the pitch, Theo Robinson was in the stands torn between the Imps and League One Southend. Despite on-field negotiations as the deadline loomed, he eventually chose to move up the leagues. Nobody could blame him, he’d done what he came to Lincoln to do, and we benefitted from his tenure as an Imp.

Danny gave a passionate interview after the game in which I thought, for the first time, he let that unnerving mask of neutrality slip. Whenever he discusses players, transfers and the like Danny is always very hard to read, but that night on the sidelines at Solihull Moors he had emotion in his voice. Many took it as anger that we were losing Theo because of financial reasons, but it may well have been upset that a key component of the National league squad was departing and we couldn’t do a thing about it.

Whatever the reasons, if the rumours are true, we will be getting a good player albeit not one I expect to start matches. His energy and pace will frighten defenders much more if it comes on after sixty minutes of Matt Rhead battering defenders. I appreciate many fans will look at this and suspect we’re not getting it our own way in the transfer market, after all they’re talking about Miller and Doidge. That’s all well and good if you’ve got £200,000 for Miller or £1m for Doidge, but we have not. Besides, with Theo there is no due diligence required. We know him, he knows us and crucially Danny knows exactly what he is getting.

It might not be the marquee signing that many hope for, but it would be a good solid acquisition of a consistent and hard-working player.

Photos courtesy of Graham Burrell


  1. I would be happy with this. It wasn’t just the big FA Cup games he turned up for – it was the fact that he only really started to click and get on method near the end of his stay with us. That – chronologically – coincided with the FA Cup games. Shades of Matt Green right now. DC knows and trusts him. This would be good – not earth-shattering – but good nonetheless.

  2. His off the ball movement and constant running created so much space for others, good player to have in the squad.

  3. Have to disagree with you on this one Gary. Theo’s form in the league was underwhelming in terms of outcomes. He toiled to little effect. IMHO this would be a retrograde step.

  4. Starred in the cup games but distinctly mediocre in the bread and butter games. Not the quality of forward to push us nearer the playoffs in my view. Possible duplication with what we get from Ollie Palmer unless he is on his way out? I confess I would not be devastated if that happened.
    Theo would also surely have to take a pay cut to come here even with our current budget. Would rather have Adam Marriott back if I’m honest!!

  5. Theo did not score much in the league but he was a real handful for defenders. I would be pleased to see him back. Marriott is a mystery to me. He is Royston’s top scorer and got a hat trick on New Year’s Day. How can he be playing so far down the pyramid?

  6. I was sad when Theo left us but didn’t blame the player for moving up the leagues, there was no guarantee we would get promotion.

    That said, we are in a totally different position now and need to look, as I see it, for players who could possibly play in league one, doesn’t look like Theo has been that good in that league with Southend, why would we be different ?

    Need to get that bloke from Barnet.

  7. We need extra numbers in for the run in. If Green is injurdd or out if firm we have no like for like. Hawkridge was a squad player last season, and he was needed against Macclesfield! So not ne ersarily tbd big signing, but a good one if we do

  8. Sorry to come back to this and you are obviously right Gary about him dividing opinion – but 6 goals in his last 11 games for us, plus assists and winning a penalty. It took time for him to flower in his tough role up front, but when he got in his groove, he was very good. He knows the role and would slot in straight away (unlike plenty of others being talked up).

  9. We need extra numbers in for the run in. If Green is injurdd or out if firm we have no like for like. Hawkridge was a squad player last season, and he was needed against Macclesfield! So not ne ersarily tbd big signing, but a good one if we do

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