The East Terrace - For the rugby football enthusiast

Timely interaction with shoelace saves Robinson from sack

Robinson saved by shoelace
Robinson was saved by shoelace

Posted 29th April, 2006

England head coach Andy Robinson has been spared the sack from the RFU after a freak incident at Twickenham. During a major overhaul of coaching staff by the union’s top brass, RFU chief executive Francis Baron has fired three of Robinson’s assistants after going on a ‘restructuring rampage’ at the home of English rugby.

Defensive coach Phil Larder and kicking guru Dave Alred have been sacked, while attack coach Joe Lydon has been offered a job with the RFU’s National Academy. Robinson was also due to face the axe but, in a major stroke of luck, The East Terrace can reveal that the former England and Bath flanker had bent down to tie his shoelace as Baron entered his office and escaped the notice of the England administrator.

By the time Baron had managed to locate Robinson forty minutes later he had changed his mind about the sacking.

‘Sometimes Francis likes to let off steam,’ said an RFU source. ‘He was in a heck of a bad mood this morning after seeing some of the conclusions of the internal RFU investigation into the failure of the national team this season. He just went on a rampage firing everyone he saw. Alred, Lydon and Larder just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was an extreme piece of good fortune that left Robinson in his job.’

Andy Robinson revealed to The East Terrace a more detailed explanation of his good luck:

‘I was walking around my office; brainstorming on my whiteboard for the summer tour. I suddenly realised that my left shoe was undone. Well, always one to act quickly, I bent down to fix the problem. Whilst I was down there I heard the door fly open suddenly. I was behind the desk and couldn’t see who my visitor was. I decided to finish my lace adjustment - being so close to the end of the job – and when I stood up a few seconds later I saw Francis Baron walking away from my office. I was about to call after him when I saw him catch sight of Joe Lydon and yell to him that he was fired. I ducked straight back down behind the desk again and didn’t come out until I realised he had calmed down. I definitely wouldn’t be in a job if I hadn’t.’

After Baron had fired three of Robinson’s assistants he went on to drastically restructure the RFU’s National Academy in a fit of rage. He cooled down, however, after Management Board Chairman Martyn Thomas reminded him that he should perhaps pay heed to the conclusions of the RFU’s five-week review of the Six Nations championship rather than act purely on his own ideas.

Andy Robinson was philosophical when reflecting on the circumstances that had kept him in his job.

‘It just goes to show you have to react to events as they happen or it leads to trouble down the road. I saw the shoelace and responded instantly. Because of that I am still I a job. There’s a lesson in there for sure that I can apply to the national team.’