I WAS very sad to hear Paul Robinson intends to seek an Ewood exit in January over the weekend.

Robinson and David Dunn are the remaining two nods to life before Venky's and a time when we were a solid Premier League side.


Brought in as a replacement for one of the greatest keepers in the club's history, the former England number one had big shoes to fill.

It was a time when the ex-Spurs keeper was trying to rebuild a reputation left in tatters following a bobble in the pitch that, when you look at it, wasn't really his fault.

But he took the club to his heart and we took him to ours, accepting him as one of our own.

He got what it meant to play for Rovers, then a close-knit family club that consistently over-achieved, and the fans responded to that.

Similarly, when the club started going to pot in those tumultuous early Venky's years, he was one of the few survivors of the old guard.

He knew what was going on at the club, that decades of building was being reduced to rubble by a beleaguered Scotsman, and he showed his support for the fans in their struggle on numerous occasions.

Sadly in those months, all the other players with influence, Nelsen, Samba, et al, were forced out so as not to upset the apple cart.

Concerns his deteriorating form meant he was passed it were eventually dispelled when it turned out he had a blood clot in his lung and a long period of treatment and recovery began.

In the interim, Rovers promoted Jake Kean and he started well, but struggled to replicate his form from the previous campaign at the start of last season and, just when we needed a change, Robbo did the unthinkable.

He returned. He almost died and yet he overcame adversity to regain his spot as Rovers' number one.

And he inspired those in front of him to much more assured defensive displays and it can be no coincidence our long unbeaten spell featured him in goal.

Sadly, the fact is that Financial Fair Play will be devastating for us, and many other clubs in our division, and Robinson is one of our top-earning stars.

It has been clear that the way has been paved for him to leave by the end of his contract, which expires in the summer.

So you can't argue with him wanting to move on as he probably only has a couple of seasons left before he has to consider packing in playing altogether.

The worry for me is do we have a replacement?

Jason Steele has been brought in on loan and, with his contract at Middlesbrough set to run out at the end of the season, could be looked at as a cut-price long-term replacement.

He is only young and could potentially be the man between the sticks for years to come.

I am not yet convinced he is good enough to take over, however as Rovers fans we have been spoilt in recent years with the likes of Friedel, Filan, Flowers and Mimms.

And those older than me will remember even greater former number ones I'm sure.