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Robin Friday – The Greatest Player You Never Saw

There are a number of soccer fans who have heard of Robin Friday, but few fans can remember seeing him play. That is, of course, unless they followed Reading or Cardiff City.

This article is not about Friday’s statistics, it’s about this writer’s memories of Robin Friday as one of those fans. Also, one or two of his antics that endeared him to Cardiff’s fans. Robin Friday was legend and always will be.

Robin Friday was signed for the Bluebirds in 1976 by team manager Jimmy Andrews. I clearly remember Jimmy Andrews stating,

“If he concentrates on his game, he can be the King of this place.”

Perhaps Andrews didn’t hear about the drugs and alcohol.

In a game against Luton Town, Friday got into an altercation with their goalkeeper. Soon after, Friday he the ball past the keeper and when spinning away to celebrate, Friday gave the keeper a two-fingered salute. There was also an incident involving Mark Lawrenson who played for Brighton at the time. A kick to Lawrenson’s head made local headlines, what happened to Lawrenson’s kit bag did not. I’ll spare you the details on that…..just in case you eat and read this at the same time.

Come match day, I would arrive for home games early. A few pints and a match was my Saturday ritual. It has been said Friday would walk to games carrying his gear in a plastic bag. I can confirm this. Walking along Sloper Road , almost bumping into him raised even my young eyebrows. He was a “rock star” in my eyes.

Robin Friday might not have been at Cardiff that long but he was truly loved. He was extremely gifted.

Within two years I was living in Kent, I had travelled to Leyton Orient’s ground in the East End of London to see the mighty Bluebirds. Having a chat with a couple of Bluebirds fans outside the ground, I spotted a familiar face walking to the ground. It was the man himself. He stopped to say hello and asked if we thought “we” would win? Friday had left Cardiff by then, it was good to see he had some affinity to the club. If there was any player I wished I had seen more of it would be Robin Friday.

The greatest player you never saw? In my case I was lucky to see him. It was a privilege to do so.

Kevin McCormack, Pundit Arena.

 

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