From Wembley and the Premier League to a bobby on the beat in Bridport - the policeman who played for Portsmouth, Southampton, Reading and Oxford United

As a Premier League footballer, he turned out at Old Trafford, White Hart Lane, Elland Road and St James’ Park.

Friday, 12th November 2021, 8:00 am
Updated Friday, 12th November 2021, 3:07 pm

Yet these days Matt Robinson is a neighbourhood policeman in the Dorset market town of Bridport.

Now in his 14th year on the beat wearing PC 90 on the collar, he has worked for constabularies in Wiltshire, Hampshire and Dorset.

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It’s a far cry from when Robinson was an attacking left-back racking up 361 appearances in the Premier League and Football League.

However, in 2007 he turned to a new profession while seeing out his playing days as a part-time footballer in non-league.

And it’s a job the former Southampton man continues to revel in.

Robinson told The News: ‘When you finish playing, unless you are really prepared for it, it creeps up on you a little. You think “Blimey, what else am I going to do?”.

Matt Robinson's longest spell was at Oxford United, where he spent four seasons until their relegation from the Football League in 2005-06. Picture: Pete Norton/Getty Images

‘At first I thought about journalism, I always wanted to write about sport before it got saturated like it is now.

‘I was going to do a degree which was laid on by the PFA, but my football career had come to an end and pretty much straight away I needed to do something rather than spend a period studying.

‘A friend mentioned the police force and I thought “Do you know what, I’ll give it a go”.

‘It’s quite a secure job, you’re getting paid every month, which is definitely not always the case as a footballer!

Matt Robinson, who made 77 appearances for Pompey in a long Premier League and Football League career, has been a policeman for the last 14 years. Picture: Chris Lobina/Allsport

‘Do you know what, it gives you an outlook. After you’ve done something like professional football, you almost need bringing back down to earth a bit, seeing stuff that’s quite horrible at times.

‘You have to be reasonably fit to be able to chase someone, there are a lot of times when you need to get physical and there’s a bit of a fight going on, but it’s not as gruelling as you’d think.

‘There’s a bleep test which you must pass at level 5.5 every year, which is literally a jog. For someone who has come from a professional football background, it’s not too bad at all.

‘You have to be quite resilient and have a thick skin, both for playing football and being a police officer, as you do get a fair bit of stick and, occasionally, abuse.

Matt Robinson appearing for Reading in August 2000. He totalled 361 appearances in the Premier League and Football League. Picture: Peter Norton/Allsport

‘There’s a bit of an adrenaline buzz every now and then, though, and you get into situations where you have to think quickly. It's quite a fun job to do.’

He helped the Blues avoid relegation after a last-day triumph at Bradford in May 1998, before departing for Reading and aiding their 2001-02 promotion to the Second Division.

Yet he has been a policeman for almost as long as he spent as a professional footballer.

Robinson added: ‘I’ve been on the front line for the police for most of my career. I prefer being on the go to sitting in an office doing admin, it’s more enjoyable being out and about.

‘I’ve been in a few departments and had attachments here and there, while I was a temporary sergeant for nine months.

‘But I want to continue living in Sherborne and when you’re promoted you get posted wherever, you don’t choose.

‘I work in response, the blue light, answering the 999 calls that come, but recently have moved a little into the neighbourhood side of it.

‘And I’m really happy where I am.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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