The controversial Life and Times of Robbie Savage

Robbie Savage is not all bad really is he?With the average squad age getting younger and younger in English football, we witness another light dimming, as Robbie Savage has finally decided to call it a day. You can hardly blame the former Wales international who, at the ripe old age of 36, has made over 600 in the English game, the majority of which in its top division.

Somewhat of a Marmite situation, people tend to either love Robbie, or hate him, especially in recent years since the enlightenment that has been the social networking site, Twitter. One thing that isn’t disputable though, is that Robbie Savage, for better or for worse, is a legend.

Savage began his playing career when taken on as an apprentice at English giants Manchester United. Things didn’t go exactly as planned with his first professional experience however, and after failing to make a senior appearance for United, the midfielder moved on to Crewe Alexandra.

It was Robbie’s time as a Railwayman that he earned a reputation for himself, and helped the Division Two side reach the Playoffs in all three seasons he was there, successfully clinching promotion in a convenient ‘third time’s the charm’ fashion. After making a name for himself as a promising young midfielder, Martin O’Neill thought it to be good business and snapped up Savage for £400,000, in a move that took him to Leicester City.

It’s as a Fox that Robbie Savage is possibly best known for. Apart from being his first top flight team, Savage went on to make more than 200 appearances for the East Midlands outfit in a five year period. Never renowned as any sort of ‘goal-scoring machine’, Martin O’Neill made Savage a staple in the centre of his midfield for his tough tackles and take-no-prisoners attitude.

Young and hot-headed, it’s here that the Welshman started to pick up some of his ‘hate-wagon’. This included many a Tottenham fan, for a controversial red card for Justin Edinburgh. Edinburgh was said to have punched Savage, although said Spurs fans will argue there was no contact. This League Cup final didn’t finish the way Robbie would’ve wanted it, but one year later the story changed and Robbie Savage won his first and only winner’s medal winning the 2000 League Cup final.

Now featuring as a prominent part in the Welsh national squad, Steve Bruce decided to capitalise on Leicester’s relegation woe’s and brought Savage to Birmingham City for a fee of £1.25m. He featured in 88 matches for Birmingham, netting 11 times, his best goal scoring ratio in his career. After speculation that Robbie perhaps wasn’t happy at Birmingham, a transfer request was handed in by the player. As a result, he swiftly moved on to Blackburn after three years playing for Birmingham City.

His tenure at Rovers was plagued by injury, but Robbie Savage still managed to play in 100 games for Blackburn. Mark Hughes utilized the midfielder as a leader, in the defensive midfield role he had now become renowned for. It was also at this time that Robbie called an end to his international career. After a speculative affair with then-Wales manager John Toshack, Savage decided to focus on his club career.

This may have turned out to be a great decision, playing to an incredibly high standard for the next six or so years. In January 2006, a broken leg would see Robbie’s campaign finished early. After this, as well as a turbulent knee injury, appearances in the first team became less and less frequent. It was time to move on.

Derby County was the club where Savage thought his chances of first team football were highest, still showing that insatiable hunger for football that is perhaps vacant in many young players today. In a three year stint, and one year on loan at Brighton, Savage had racked up over 110 appearances for the Rams, as well as igniting a successful punditry career. Although earlier voicing his desire to play for hometown club Wrexham, on 9 January 2011, Robbie Savage played his last professional game of football.

However, that’s not all we can expect from Robbie. As aforementioned, the Welsh legend has begun his path to another illustrious career, in the media. Still as controversial as ever, Robbie Savage features on BBC Radio as well as many other sports broadcasts and shows. No matter how hard he works in this industry though, his legacy is already laid out.

We will remember Robbie Savage as a mean, long-locked tackling midfielder who had a love for the game not many can replicate. Author, inspiration, legend. Whether he’s loved, laughed at or just downright despised, there will only ever be one Robbie Savage.

Tom is one of our most experienced contributors, with over a decade of online publishing. A Man Utd fan, Thomas brings you all the latest news from UK football.

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