HuffPostUK Entertainment is pleased to announce a brand new section – WISE WORDS – where we ask our favourite personalities from all walks of life about some of the things they’ve learned along the way, how they de-stress from their busy lifestyles, and the things they consider the most important.
First off the rank, footballer turned commentator Robbie Savage, who gleaned a whole new fanbase when he unbuttoned his shirt on ‘Strictly’ to reveal a freshly-sprayed tan, nearly the colour of his medallion. Robbie’s also part of this year’s Comic Relief. We asked him…
What do you do to switch off from the world?
I’ve got my new little French bulldog, Coco, I take her into the fields. And my children’s football, it’s nothing like when I was playing. My boy’s been signed by Manchester Academy, and when I’m watching him, it doesn’t matter where I am. The thing lots of people do, watch football to relax, that’s me working. But when I’m watching him, it’s different.
How do you deal with negativity?
I suppose laughing at the person causing it or the person causing it, and being self-deprecating. I’m always the target on ‘Match of the Day’ and on the radio, so I’m pretty used to it.
Robbie is now a pundit which means lots of interaction with football fans and a constant media presence
When and where are you happiest?
That’s an easy one, my wedding and the birth of my two boys.
Also, when I’m in the gym. As a footballer, you have a routine, so when you stop, it’s very easy to stay in bed, watching morning TV, becoming lazy. The first four months after I retired, I stayed in bed all morning, got so lazy. Now I have a routine, get up, take the kids to school, head off to the gym and have coffee with the old guys in there, they’re friends now, I have a bit of fun. The gym family’s replaced my football family.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
My mother said to me, when I was starting to be a premiere league footballer, it’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice. There are times you could be horrible, but I try to stick to that.
What has been the hardest lesson you’ve learned?
Learning to trust people, overcoming disappointment when people let you down. Learning not to respond angrily on the football field. If I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t be talking to you today.
Robbie at Blackburn Rovers in 2007
What would you tell your 13-year-old self?
When you get to the age of 20, get your haircut. Don’t have a ponytail when you’re 40.
What 3 things are at the top of your bucket list?
Fortunately, I’ve been able to do things that I could only dream of growing up. My dream car, dream holiday, dream car. If I’m being honest, if it all ended tomorrow, I’ve done everything I need to accomplish to do. I’ve been lucky. And my kids keep me working hard going forwards.
What do you think happens when we die?
I have no idea at all. Sometimes I think life’s unfair, with horrible people living to 90, my lovely father developing Alzheimer’s at 58, so I have to say I really have no idea.
Robbie in his Dancing days
When do you feel a sense that we live in the presence of something bigger than ourselves?
As a sportsman, I get strength from inside. Ultimately, it’s just you and your decisions.
What do you try to bring to your relationships?
My wife certainly brings the looks.
Just to be a role model to the kids, there are times when they have a half-famous daddy, and people at school talk about it. I didn’t realise how difficult that would be, so that’s been a lesson. I try to be honest and a role model.
I still have the friends I made at school, I treat them to things because we all grew up on a council estate, I appreciate them, I’m not paying for them. They would pay their way, but I like to make it easy. I can count on the fingers of one hand the people who would pick me up if I called them in the middle of the night, but that’s all I need.
What keeps you grounded?
My mum. She’s the only person who calls me Robert when I’m not good. She gives me honest feedback, if I’ve been on the radio. She’ll tell me if she didn’t like what I said.
What was your last good deed?
There was a lady in the petrol station not long ago, and she went to the counter to pay, she didn’t have money and she got all in a panic, so I paid up. I trusted her to pay me back, and she did. I just thought if that was my mum, I’d like someone to help her.
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