Robert William Savage: famed for his filthy play during stints with Leicester City, Birmingham City, and Blackburn Rovers, the Welsh national is a singular personality, but this relatively unknown radio appearance is one of his finest moments.
Oh, Robbie. Owner of the only broken nose during a dancing show… If you’re unaware, the broken beak came when Savage improvised a knee-slide toward the camera on Strictly Come Dancing. Catch it at the end of the clip below after watching his animated open-shirtedness tear up the dance floor.
Legendary hardman, Roy Keane, offered this superb Savage anecdote from his autobiography with this anecdote (Keane was Sunderland’s manager at the time).
“I rang Mark Hughes. Robbie [Savage] wasn’t in the Blackburn team and I asked Mark if we could try to arrange a deal. Sparky said: ‘Yeah, yeah, he’s lost his way here but he could still do a job for you.’ Robbie’s legs were going a bit but I thought he might come up to us [at Sunderland], with his long hair, and give us a lift – the way Yorkie [Dwight Yorke] had, a big personality in the dressing room.
“Sparky gave me permission to give him a call. So I got Robbie’s mobile number and rang him. It went to his voicemail: ‘Hi, it’s Robbie – whazzup!’ like the Budweiser ad. I never called him back. I thought: ‘I can’t be fucking signing that.'”
Whazzup! Savage stuff. Anyway, anecdotes about the Welsh midfielder are legion, but this is one you can actually appreciate in its full glory as it played out live on the radio.
Appearing on 606 Football Phone In on BBC Radio 5 Live, Savage and the host discussed player attitudes and entitlement in football. A caller rang in to discuss footballers “setting a bad example for kids.” Savage presses the caller for evidence of the bad example being set, and the caller offers a superb case study: Savage himself!
The caller’s absolutely spectacular allegation: He’d seen Savage exiting a store with seven pairs of shoes. And even better Savage made a child carry his shoes out of the store for him. Robbie, of course, is incredulous, firmly denying the allegation. But even better, he just can’t let it go.
No words do justice to the hilarity of this exchange, and you have to listen to it for yourself. “Traingergate” starts around the two-minute mark.
“Seven pairs o’ trainers!” No man has even been so incredulous. Savage’s state of unadulterated disbelief is rivalled in sport only by George Brett’s pure incredulity that he had illegally applied pine tar to his bat in 1983 (2:40 in the video below).
Never change Robbie Savage, never change. And remember, if you’re going to accuse a professional footballer of having a child carry his footwear, you’d better make damn sure you’re not mistaken!