Josh Law coming to Robinson’s defence:
FORMER Motherwell and Oldham player Josh Law has defended his old manager Stephen Robinson after accusations of bullying were made against the Fir Park boss.
Danny Byrnes, a 21-year-old footballer who played under Robinson at Oldham, accused the Northern Irishman of victimising him over a period of months and forcing him out of the Boundary Park club in a Twitter post last week, responding to a suicide awareness video featuring Robinson that Motherwell had earlier released.
Law, who was in the same squad as Byrnes in the 2016/17 season, was shocked when he saw the post from his former teammate and finds it hard to reconcile the accusations with the man he worked under at both Motherwell and Oldham.
“I couldn’t have enjoyed working under Stephen more to be honest,” Law said. “I think he’s a thoroughly decent man and a good bloke.
“I saw the tweet and I thought it was a bit strange, because I couldn’t really see that myself.
“I was at the club at the same time as Danny and the manager was there, and nothing was said. There was certainly no talk from the players at the time or himself about that sort of stuff. It was a surprise to me to be honest.
“It would surprise me massively from my experience with him. He was a family man, and he was a good bloke as far as I’m concerned.
“I’ve never really heard anyone speaking badly of him, so it was quite strange.”
Law has experienced his fair share of rejection as a footballer, and he has learned not to take it personally when a manager doesn’t rate him or deems him surplus to requirements at a club.
And he didn’t see any evidence while at Oldham that Robinson treated any players within his squad any differently from the rest, whether they were part of his plans or not.
“At the end of the day, it’s football, and there’s people leaving clubs all the time if the manager doesn’t fancy them as a player,” he said.
“I think that’s every day in football to be honest. I’ve been there myself, when the manager doesn’t want you and wants to get you out by offering you a pay up, and it’s horrible. But it’s part of the business. It’s just about keeping your head down and if anything comes up, it comes up.
“It’s different for me because I’ve got a family and I’ve got to look after them, and as you get older, you learn that kind of thing.
“I certainly didn’t see him in doing double sessions when nobody else was in, which a lot of managers can do. They can make your life hell. But I certainly never saw anything like that going on.
“It was probably a case of Danny being in a bad place at the time with his father unfortunately being ill, as he said in the tweet, and he was under stress. He might regret that tweet, I’m not sure, but it’s bad for that to come out for Stephen as well.
“it’s obviously something he doesn’t need and is quite unnecessary.”
Robinson was only in charge of Oldham from July 2016 until January 2017, when he was sacked with the club languishing near the foot of League One. But Law isn’t surprised to see that he has gone on to have the success he has at Motherwell since.
“You could see everything he was trying to do at Oldham and he had his hands tied a little bit,” he said. “I think there was something like 20 new players that he had to bring in.
“I think we were starting to turn the corner, but in football now, it is very rare that you get the time and he didn’t there.
“All of us could see that his ideas were great though and his knowledge of the game was brilliant. We enjoyed working with him, it was just maybe the wrong club at the wrong time.”
Law, for his part, looks back on his own time at Motherwell fondly, even if he didn’t quite manage to live up to the highs of his two-goal debut in a Europa League qualifier against Icelandic side Stjarnan in 2014.
“They thought they were getting a 20-goal a season man,” he said. “But I thoroughly enjoyed it, I loved my time up there.
“I came home for personal reasons, but I would recommend it to anyone. It’s a great club.”