The frosty reception that awaits Carl Robinson on his return to Newcastle is part of a “good story” the Western Sydney Wanderers coach hopes plays out its final chapter on Friday night.
Robinson’s off-season defection from the Jets to the Wanderers, which was followed by a move in the same direction by former Socceroos attacker Bernie Ibini, led to the pair and their new club being cast as villains.
Welshman Robinson, who was only in charge of the Jets for 11 matches, struggles to fathom why so much has been made of the pair’s poaching, but has played along with the narrative – until now.
“Hopefully after this game I can actually draw a line under it because I was there for 11 games – I wasn’t there for three years, four years,” he said.
“I think it’s a good story because I left but there’s reasons why I left … which are my reasons, personal reasons, which I won’t go into.
“Sometimes it takes a big man to walk away and not say anything. It’s easy to react – I don’t do that.
Robinson left the battling Jets for the Wanderers in October after Western Sydney took advantage of a clause in Robinson’s Newcastle coaching deal that allowed him to speak to other clubs despite being under contract.
“While we’d have loved for Carl to remain in Newcastle and continue to guide our team over the next three years, circumstances out of our control meant that the Wanderers presented the pair (Robinson and his assistant coach Kenny Miller) with an opportunity which they wanted to explore,” then Jets CEO Lawrie McKinna said.
Teamwork makes the 𝓭𝓻𝓮𝓪𝓶 𝔀𝓸𝓻𝓴 #WSW pic.twitter.com/uEToWk4j97
Robinson said Jets fans were “entitled” to jeer him on Friday night and to their opinions about his departure.
Not that he will value them all.
“If they want to do that, they’ll do that and if they don’t, they don’t,” he said.
“But people who know, know me, (and) know the situation, I don’t think they’ll boo because they already want to try to meet up with me.|
“I have respect for them, I had respect when I was there and now my job is firmly focused on Western Sydney.”
Robinson said he would not speak to Ibini about the likely angry reception he would receive at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Ibini joined the Jets last year and played just six games for the club before getting his wish to link with Robinson at the Wanderers.
“I speak to him every day about trying to get better, but I haven’t spoken to him about him going back (to Newcastle),” Robinson said.
“I don’t need to do that. He’s a seasoned pro, he’s got his own mind.
“I’m not going to make Bernie think this way or think that way.
“I know that he’ll have a big impact in the game because he’s a really good player.”
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