Mark Robins was a product of the Manchester United youth team
and had made 48 league appearances for them, scoring eleven goals,
before Mike Walker signed him for £800,000
in August 1992 to replace Robert Fleck. He immediately made an impact scoring twice
on his debut away to Arsenal. He quickly became a popular figure
with the Canaries and notched up 20 league goals in 66 appearances.
Under John Deehan's reign as manager,
Mark fell out of favour and was often on the bench despite strong
partnerships up front alongside Darren Eadie
and Ashley Ward. Before the FA Cup tie at Grimsby on January 7th,
Robins requested a transfer stating "It just seems that my face
doesn't fit.... I don't want to ask for a transfer but if they're
not going to play me it's best if I go" He was dropped for the
Grimsby match and sold to Leicester City for £1million.
His spell at Filbert Street was not successful and he fell behind
Emile Heskey, Steve Claridge and Ian Marshall in the pecking order
to lead the Leicester attack. Mark had a loan spell at FC Copenhagen
in the autumn of 1996 but returned to Leicester and participated,
mostly as substitute, in Leicester's Coca Cola Cup run that took
them to Wembley. Tabloid gossip linked him with moves to Bolton
and with a return to Carrow Road but at the end of August 1997,
Mark joined First Division side Reading on a month's loan.
There was later some confusion as to Mark's whereabouts. According
to the Capital Canaries newsletter
, Mark joined Greek side Panionios, presumably to escape
the attention of Britain's tabloids that have spotlighted his
turbulent and sometimes violent lovelife. The Independent
on Sunday stated on January 18th 1998 that he has joined
Spanish side Orense but the News of the World reported
otherwise stating he had joined Spanish side Deportivo La Coruna
on a short term contract. The fact is that he is with Deportivo
Orense. However according to World Soccer magazine Mark
joined Panionios in the summer of 1998 and has scored with them
in an European Cup-Winners Cup match against Haka Valkeakoski.On
March 14th 1999, Sport First revealed that Mark was unhappy
in Greece as he was not being paid regularly, and had to borrow
money from his son to pay for petrol to get to training. Despite
this sorry state of affairs, Panionios reached the semi-finals
of the UEFA Cup.
On Transfer Deadline Day (March 25th 1999), Mark returned to Manchester
joining Manchester City on loan from Panionios until the end of
the season. Injuries (hernia) limited Mark's appearances for City
to less than 60 minutes (2 appearances as substitute).Joe
Royle opted not to offer Mark a contract with City stating
that there were other players on the fringe of the first team
that were better suited for City's style of playing. However Royle
believed that Mark would have no difficulty finding a club as
he was "still a quality player".
Mark put his injuries behind him to secure a contract with then
Division One newboys Walsall following their July 1999 pre-season
tour to France and impressed in the game against Troyes. He eventually
signed a contract with the Saddlers on 2nd August 1999. Despite
being a regular in their attack in 1999/2000, Mark felt their
relegation to Division Two would result in them adopting a different
style of play which would not suit him. Therefore he refused a
new contract and joined Rotherham on 22nd June 2000. Mark's 24
goals by the end of April 2001 took Rotherham into the First Division.
On September 15th 2001, he fulfilled one of soccer's laws of nature
when he scored Rotherham's equaliser in their 1-1 draw with Norwich.
Mark requested a transfer in February 2002 as he was not a first
team regular but Millers' boss Ronnie Moore rejected it immediately.
In June 2002, it was suggested that Bristol City would make a
move for Mark to replace Tony Thorpe. This was be particularly
appropriate as City's nickname is The Robins.
Although Mark stayed at Rotherham for the 2002/03 season, he
was not a first team regular and manager Ronnie Moore stated in
January 2003 that he could leave on loan if the right offer came
along. Huddersfield manager Mick Wadsworth
stated at the end of January 2003 that he was keen to bring Robins
to the McAlpine Stadium but could not afford him. Hull City and
Lincoln City were also linked with Robins at that time. The media
then reported that Rotherham and Tranmere had come to an agreement
that Robins would join the Merseyside team on loan. However Robins
backed out of this move, supposedly at the wishes of his agent
who was trying to broker a move to Barnsley. Instead Robins joined
"The Robins" in the form of a loan move to Bristol City
on 17th February 2002. He made his debut the next day, scoring
in a 4-2 win over Cambridge in the Southern Area Final First Leg
of the LDV Vans Trophy. Robins scored again in both of City's
next apppearances (Northampton (a) and Cheltenham(h) ). He extended
his loan for another month on March 13th 2003. However Rotherham
used their right to recall him on March 21st as they had gone
6 games without a win and were hoping that Robins' experience
might prove the difference. It seemed to work as Robins scored
in their 2-1 win over Wimbledon.
Making only 6 appearances for Rotherham by mid-October 2003,
Mark requested a transfer. Bristol City were quickly linked but
City manager Danny Wilson distanced himself stating that his City
side were different from that Robins had played in earlier in
the year. Wilson also suggested that he was unwilling to pay the
figure that Rotherham had quoted previously for Robins' services.
Stockport County have also been linked although their new manager
Sammy McIlroy may be waiting to evaluate his current squad before
spending any money.
Mark was given a free transfer by Rotherham on 30th October 2003.
He was immediately linked with moves to Darlington, Rochdale and
his hometown club Oldham. Mark had scored 49 goals in 117 appearances
for Rotherham. Danny Wilson stressed that Bristol City were not
interested despite media speculaion. Wilson suggested that with
Robins' age (33), this would not be a wise move and that he was
unwilling to spend his funds on a short-term contract. Sheffield
Wednesday manager Chris Turner expressed an interest but admitted
they did not have the finances to sign him. Eventually Mark joined
Wednesday on Monday 8th December 2003 signing a contract until
the end of the 2003/04 season. Due to injuries, the Owls did not
renew it and Mark opted to retire from the professional game at
the end of May 2004.
However the following month it was reported that Mark had been
invited by Nigel Clough to train with Burton Albion and he signed
for the Conference side at the beginning of July 2004.
In February 2005, Rotherham manager Ronnie Moore was sacked.
His replacement was the Millers' youth and reserve team manager
Alan Knill who appointed Robins as his assistant. When Knill was
sacked in March 2007, Robins took over as caretaker manager for
the game against Bradford on 3rd March 2007.He was later appointed
to a permanent position in April 2007
Despite Rotherham being deducted 17 points for moving into administration
at the beginning of the 2008/9 season, Robins led them up the
table and in Janaury 2009, they were in 20th place. Robins was
quickly installed as the Bookies' favourtie to take charge at
Carrow Road following the sacking of Glenn
Roeder on 14th January 2009.
On 9th September 2009, Mark was appointed manager of Barnsley,
replacing Simon Davey, after the Tykes were able to reach a compensation
agreement with Rotherham. Robins had been placed on gardening
leave by the Millers after expressing his desire to speak to the
Championship club. He told BBC Radio Sheffield: "There
was no going back. It spoilt it slightly as I wanted a clean break
away. But it happened how it happened. I just want to concentrate
on getting Barnsley off the bottom of the table." Robins
took his backroom staff - assistant boss John Breckin, first-team
coach Steve Taylor and goalkeeping coach Nick Daws with him to
Despite finishing 17th in 2010/11 (their highest position for
five years), Robins received a formal letter in mid-May 2011 informing
him that he is now serving a 12-month notice period as per the
terms of his contract. It is believed that Robins and Reds owner
Patrick Cryne had a disagreement over next season's budget and
the overall running of the club moving forward
In October 2011, Mark was linked with the managerial vacancy
at Bristol City, although it would be confusing if the Robins
On 19th September 2012, Mark was named as the new manager of
struggling Division One side Coventry City who were second from
bottom in the table. He replaced Andy Thorn and beat of competition
for the post from Paul Ince. "This is a great opportunity.
There is a lot to be done and I'll get straight to work with the
players and backroom staff," said Robins. "Coventry
is a club with great tradition and, although we find ourselves
in League One, the squad that has been assembled is better than
the results so far have shown. I'm relishing the opportunity to
turn things round and bring better times for the Sky Blues' supporters."
His first game was a 2-1 home defeat to Carlisle, followed
by a 6-1 thrashing by Arsenal in the Capital One Cup. However
he turned results around and byu early January, they were in 12th
place just four points of a play-off position. They also reached
the Northern final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy with a win
over Preston in the semi-final.
Robins was linked in early January 2013 with the vacancy at Doncaster
Rovers and Bristol City following their sacking of Keith Hill
and Derek McInnes respectively. However he pledged his future
to the Sky Blues. "Opportunities will come and opportunities
will go, but I'm not going anywhere. I'm happy to work here for
these supporters and come into work every day with this bunch
of players and this board of directors," he said
.On 10th February 2013, the Sunday People linked Robins
with the managerial vacancies at Blackpool and Huddersfield. He
joined the latter on 14th February 2013.
Robins parted company with Huddersfield by mutual consent on
10th August 2014, just one day after Huddersfield had lost their
opening game of the 2014/15 season 4-0 at home to Bournemouth.
On 13th October 2014, Robins was named as the new manager of
Scunthorpe United on a three year contract, replacing Russ Wilcox
and with the Iron struggling at the wrong end of League One.
Robins was sacked by Scunthorpe on 18th January 2016 along with assistant David Kelly with the club lying 16th in League One. The Iron have won only two of their last eight league games and suffered a 5-0 defeat at Blackpool at the previous weekend.
On 6th March 2017, Robins returned to Coventry as manager, one day after they had sacked Russell Slade; with Coventry at the bottom of League One and 13 points adrift of safety. Robins signed a contract "beyond the current season". Robins brought back his former Sky Blues assistant Steve Taylor to once again become his number two. Within days the Sky Blues won the Checkatrade Trophy with a 2-1 win over Oxford at Wembley.However the rest of the season was not so favourable and Covnetry were relegated to League Two on 14th April 2017 after a 1-1 draw with Charlton. Coventry returned to League One in May 2018 defeating Exeter City under Robins' leadership.
In October 2019, he was linked with the managerial vacancy at Sunderland following the sacking of Jack Ross but rejected it and signed a new contract with Coventry.
On 9th June 2020, clubs in Leagues One and Two voted to end the season due to the Coronavirus pandemic and calculate final placings based on points per game. This meant that Robins' Coventry returned to the Championship as Champions.
Robins' form as Coventry manager despite difficult off-pitch situations saw him linked to the Norwich City manager's role in December 2022 following the sacking of Dean Smith