Carl Robinson began
his career with Wolverhampton Wanderers, where he enjoyed seven
seasons, before being signed on a Bosman by Portsmouth in the summer
of 2002. The versatile midfielder, who spent time on loan at Shrewsbury
Town during his Molineux career, played almost 200 games for the
club as they tried to win promotion into the Premiership.
But his career with Portsmouth was not as enjoyable. After making
his debut in a 2-0 home win over Nottingham Forest, he eventually
dropped down the pecking order and was loaned out to Sheffield
Wednesday in January 2003. He failed to really find top form and
Hillsborough and a month later swapped his loan move to Walsall,
who he helped to stay in the First Division.
The Llandrudod-born midfielder has been capped at Under-21, 'B'
level and Full international level (Robinson made his full international
debut against Belarus in 1999). He was loaned out to Rotherham
United in mid-September 2003. He impressed greatly with the Millers,
and they were sorry to see him go at the end of his three-month
spell - in which he made 16 appearances. On his return to Pompey
he found himself in first team action due to the club's injury
problems, featuring three times before joining Sheffield United
on loan in late-January 2004. He was a success at Bramall Lane,
but the Blades could not afford to take him on permanently.
That led to a loan move to Sunderland on transfer deadline day
in March, leading to the free move in the summer. He made 40 League
starts as the Black Cats took the title and booked a place in
the Premiership. Robinson ended a nomadic couple of seasons in
the summer of 2004 when he signed for Sunderland on a permanent
basis. He then became a mainstay of the side which stormed to
the Championship title the following season. Robinson signed a
new two-year contract in the summer of 2005.
But after starting the first three Premiership matches he lost
his place in the side, featuring only sporadically from the bench.
That led to a loan move to Norwich City at the end of November.
Robinson made his Canaries debut in a 2-2 draw at Coventry City.
Carl's move to Carrow Road became substantial on 17th January
2006 for a fee of £50,000. It was the first time in his
career that a transfer fee had been paid for his services. Robinson
scored his first goal for Norwich in the 5-1 win against Barnsley
on 26 August 2006. He netted once more with a headed goal in the
3-1 victory over Leicester City on 28 November 2006.
Never that popular with the Carrow Road faithful, Carl was released
in January 2007 so that he could sign for Major League Soccer
new boys Toronto FC, who also field Jim
After three years with Toronto, Carl was released in March 2010
and was believed to be training with the New York Red Bull. New
coach Preki Radosavljevic confirmed on 8th March 2010 that the
former Welsh international had left the team. Its
a case of the numbers. Its a case of the salary cap. Its
a case of everything, Preki said of the veteran midfielder.
New York clenched his signing on 12th March as part of the 4th
round of the MLS superdraft, along with former Toronto colleague
Greg Sutton. "Carl is a very consistent player who will
immediately contend for a spot in our starting lineup,"
said general nanager and sporting director Erik Soler. "He
has a significant amount of experience at both the club and international
level and we expect that he will bring a strong veteran presence
to our locker room."
On 20th January 2012, Carl took up a post as Assistant Coach
with the Vancouver Whitecaps who play in the MLS..
He was promoted to the Head Coach position on 16th December 2013
replacing Martin Rennie, who did not have his contract renewed
at the end of the campaign. Robinson is a popular choice among
the players. Both Russell Teibert and Camilo supported him publicly
for the job. "Carl Robinsons been fantastic to me
ever since I got here, and I really respect him. Even when times
were tough, he was always the one that was building me up,
Teibert told reporters following end-of-season fitness testing
in early November. Even when times were going well, he
was the one that was saying, Youve got to come down
to Earth, or, You need to work on things, youre
not there yet. Hes really honest with every individual
player and you cant not respect the man because hes
been there and hes done that. For me, Id be thrilled
and I think everyone else on this team would be thrilled as well.
In the 2015 campaign, the Whitecaps secured third place in Major League Soccer (MLS) last month, their highest ever finish. This secures them a place in the CONCACAF Champions League and in the play-offs for the MLS Cup
He left the Whitecaps in September 2018.
In October 2019, he turned down the opportunity to manage Costa Rica. He decided against the move into international football, with Los Ticos instead naming Ronald Gonzalez as their new head coach.
On 6th February 2020, he was appointed as the Head Coach of Australia A-League side Newcastle Jets who have Wes Hoolahan on their playing squad. Robinson said "The opportunity was too good to turn down. I am moving my family from a beautiful city in Vancouver to another amazing part of the world. The City of Newcastle is a city on the up, and myself and my family are looking forward to joining the community and playing a huge part in the continued growth of football in this area. I am thrilled to be taking charge of the Jets. Everything I have seen about the club so far has been top class, they are desperate for success and hopefully, we can achieve that together."
Robinson managed the Jets to seven wins and three draws in 11 games, finishing in eight place, which led to an approach from Western Sydney Wanderers to become their new Head Coach. This was completed on 15th October 2020 alongside former Scottish international Kenny Miller who will serve as first team assistant coach. Wanderers chairman Paul Lederer said Robinson’s appointment was a significant step in improving the club’s on field fortunes. “Carl is a fantastic individual, with high ideals and values for football and developing his playing group. There is an absolute need for this club to perform strongly, a strong Wanderers on the field means a strong A-League. In Carl Robinson we have a leader who understands the league, what our club values most and is determined to bring us the success we crave on the field and in the development of our future players and leaders.” Robinson said “Sometimes in football you get an opportunity too good to turn down. This is a fantastic football club, a big club in the A-League and one that has set the foundations to be very successful. I am joining a club which I think is not just [aiming for] the top six, we want top four, top two,” Robinson becomes Wanderers’ fourth coach in three years since Tony Popovic resigned after taking the expansion club on a remarkable journey from foundation to Asian Champions League winners in two years. Popovic also led Wanderers to three A-League championship finals in his five years in charge and although they lost them all, the early success helped make the club one of the best-supported in the top flight. Robinson replaces Jean-Paul de Marigny who was sacked earlier in the week
He was sacked by Western Sydney Wanderers on 30th January 2022 following a poor start to the season and reports of a toxic culture at the club.
On 15th March 2023 he was appointed as assistant coach to Major League Soccer side DC United. “Carl is an experienced MLS coach who has a great understanding of the league, both as a player and coach,” said Wayne Rooney, D.C. United Head Coach, said. “He’s already added a lot of value to the coaching side and his knowledge and experience will be a great addition to our backroom staff.”
On 11th October 2023 Robinson followed Rooney back to England becoming part of Rooney's backroom team at Birmingham City. Rooney and Robinson were dismissed from their roles on 2nd January 2024, just 83 days at the club. They had lost 9 of 15 games and slipped from sixth in the Championship to 20th place. The following day saw Robinson linked with the managerial vacancy at Salford City who had parted company with Neil Wood in December.