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STUDENT ARTICLE | INTERVIEW WITH BEN ROBINSON

15 April 2021

UNIVERSITY of Derby Football Journalism student Jacob Hawley has produced the following article following an interview with Burton Albion chairman Ben Robinson.

CHAIRMAN Ben Robinson MBE reflects on the appointment of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, and looks ahead to what next season could have in store. 

Since the arrival of Hasselbaink, the Brewers have won 12 of their 18 games in League One, recording impressive wins over promotion hopefuls Hull City and Peterborough United in the process. 

The incredible run of form included six consecutive wins, and did not go unmerited; Hasselbaink’s side currently lie 17th in the table - 11 points clear of the drop, despite having been sat rock-bottom prior to his return.

Chairman Ben Robinson MBE has been delighted with the impact that his new appointment has had: “When Jimmy was appointed we had this dream that if anyone could get the team out of a serious relegation problem, it was him;  we were six points adrift and teams above us with two games in hand when he took over at the beginning of January,

“That dream now is moving very much towards a fairytale because you’ve seen some phenomenal results that he’s produced.”

In January, the Brewers utilised the transfer market to the best of their ability, bringing in 11 fresh faces. Having put so much trust in the new manager, Robinson is happy to see it paying off in recent weeks: “When you consider I spoke to Jimmy on the 1st of January then by the end of the window, he’d managed to get 11 new players, he’s done a remarkable job,

“Someone like Jimmy who is a very clever guy, and Dino who is very switched on, lots of experience, they know all about wheeling and dealing - they’re good people persons and they can suss a situation and hopefully then get the best deal for your club.”

When asked if he had any influence on the January incomings himself, Robinson simply reaffirmed his confidence in Hasselbaink’s team, responding: “Any chairman of any football club who feels they have got the expertise and the experience and the know-how to have an input whatsoever in player selection or transfers - I think the only people who have got the skill set in that area is the coaches and the managers and your head of recruitment.”

The pair have had a strong working relationship ever since Hasselbaink’s first stint with the Brewers in 2014, when he won promotion from League Two: “Obviously I’ve worked with Jimmy before, he’s a real inspirational character, a great coach, he’s a great people person, he knows how to get the best of players as individuals," said Robinson.

“We’ve had a great working relationship, and he knows exactly how it works around here."

Looking ahead to next season, the Brewers’ chairman discussed his long-term objectives for the club, and the prospect of fans returning to the Pirelli Stadium in August: “I think the thing is, obviously this season it’s about survival, it’s about him (JFH) having a good look at his players and his squad. 

“He will have already formulated in his mind, you know, the sort of squad that he feels he needs to give us a chance next season to kick on and climb up the table.

“That obviously comes down to finance and budgets, so between now and the summer, we will be looking at that and drawing up a plan. There was a debate about whether fans would be allowed back in August - hopefully yes.

"But then the question is, what numbers are you talking about? Will we still be required to exercise some form of social distancing? Which would obviously restrict numbers, so that is a factor when we are talking about budgets and what sort of support we can give the first team.”

On Saturday afternoon, the Brewers are back at home taking on Plymouth Argyle (3pm KO), following three points against Doncaster Rovers in midweek.


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