Liverpool: Peter Robinson, former Anfield chief executive, dies aged 86

John Smith, Bob Paisley, Peter Robinson and Kenny Dalglish
Robinson (top right) helped bring Kenny Dalglish to Liverpool and forged a formidable partnership in recruiting players alongside chairman John Smith (left)

Liverpool have paid tribute to the "pivotal" role played by their former chief executive Peter Robinson, who has died at the age of 86.

Robinson joined the Reds in 1965 and was chief executive from 1992 to 2000.

In his 35 years at the club Liverpool won 29 major trophies, including 12 league titles and four European Cups.

"Always preferring to avoid the spotlight, he was nevertheless one of the most respected and admired people in the sport," a club statement read.

"Robinson provided invaluable support and built the infrastructure around all the managers he worked alongside, from Bill Shankly in his earliest days at the club to Gerard Houllier."

The club said Robinson quickly forged a formidable partnership with chairman John Smith and that the pair worked together to achieve "masterstrokes in the transfer market".

"It was a set-up that helped to deliver overwhelming success as Liverpool became a dominant force - and trophy-gathering machine - first at home and then on the continent," the club statement continued.

"The thoughts of everyone at Liverpool FC are with his family and friends at this difficult time."

'One of the club's most important figures' - analysis

BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty:

Peter Robinson may have been the man behind the scenes at Liverpool as they rose to supremacy at home and abroad during his 35-year Anfield career, but he is quite simply one of the most important figures in the club's history.

The man known to everyone inside Anfield as 'PBR' was the consummate administrator and calming influence, someone who dedicated his life to Liverpool and was prepared to work at any time of the day or night to ensure they achieved and maintained success.

Robinson was a sounding board for the volatile Bill Shankly and the deal maker who ensured the Scot and successors Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan kept Liverpool at the top.

He remained a personality of towering significance under Sir Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness and Roy Evans - then used a close friendship formed over many years with Gerard Houllier to bring the Frenchman in to revitalise the club in 1998.

He also saw Liverpool through the horrors of Heysel in 1985 and the tragedy of Hillsborough four years later. Robinson was behind the decision to throw open the doors of Anfield and let supporters turn The Kop end into a commemorative carpet of flowers following the disaster in 1989.

Robinson's other great sporting love was cricket, but nothing surpassed his professional desire to keep Liverpool at the top, no matter how much he had to drive himself to do it.

It was not uncommon to ring the ex-directory phone Robinson kept on his desk at Anfield well after midnight to check a story or make an inquiry and he would pick up in an instant.

He may not have worn a red shirt in Liverpool's glory days but no-one was more committed to making the club great. When the history of Liverpool is written, Peter Robinson should always be afforded a significant role in the story.

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