Worcester Warriors’ Life President Cecil Duckworth and former Director of Rugby Phil Maynard have led the tributes to Mike Robins, former Chairman and Operations Director of the club, who has died after a brave battle against cancer.
Robins – known as ‘Scoop’ from his days reporting on first XV matches – played for Worcester as an enthusiastic back row forward in the fourth and fifth XVs in the amateur era. He also had a stint as captain of the fifth XV – the Wolfhounds – and was responsible for attracting new players to rugby and persuading others out of retirement.
He also established the mini and junior section before the club moved to Sixways from Bevere in the early 1970s and was a key figure in the transition from amateur to professional status in the mid-1990s, serving as Chairman from 1992 to 1998.
“Mike did a very good job in managing various ground projects,” said Duckworth.
“He knew all the officers from the amateur club and he accepted that there had to be a different approach when the game went professional.
“In his playing days when players weren’t paid for playing, players helped out in all sorts of jobs around the club.
“That ceased when the players started to be paid but Mike handled the transition very well and he continued to support the club.
“He then became Operations Director and he organised boxing tournaments more or less singlehanded in the indoor centre which were both very popular and also made quite a contribution to our coffers.”
When Maynard arrived at Sixways in the early 1990s, Worcester were a Midlands Two side but they made rapid progress through the leagues to what is now the Greene King IPA Championship.
On-field progress was matched by off-field developments at Sixways with Robins a pivotal figure in the construction of the West Stand and the state-of-the-art indoor training centre which transformed the ground.
Having served Warriors in a voluntary capacity, Robins moved into a paid role with the club which coincided with Warriors winning promotion to what is now the Gallagher Premiership for the first time.
“Scoop – as Mike was known to everyone, was Chairman when I first joined Worcester and he was a great help and support to me,” said Maynard, who is now Managing Director of Midlands Premier club Bournville.
“He called everyone ‘Ern’ which was another endearing feature. When I asked him why he did that he said: I call everyone Ern because these days I can’t remember names.
“Mike became a good friend and he was a good bloke. When we had it hard on the pitch he would put his arm around you and have a beer and a chat with you.
“He was on-task all the time when we started developing the ground and as we grew he grew with it.
“He was a key figure in all the developments in the early stages. One thing he never did was to lose sight of what Worcester was about.
“Mike had played for the club in the amateur era and he was a Worcester man through and through. That kind of loyalty is a rare thing these days.”
Robins, a former quarry manager, was brother of former Worcester first XV captain and ex-North Midlands President Dave.
- Mike Robins’ funeral will take place on Monday September 2 at Worcester Crematorium at 1,45pm and afterwards at Worcester Warriors.