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Bryan Robson speaks to The Busby Babe on US Tour, winning trophies, and challenging City

An interview with a Manchester United legend, Captain Marvel himself...

Bryan Robson at the United Near and Far Marriott Bonvoy event at Hudson Yards in New York City
AP Images for Marriott Bonvoy and Marriott Hotels

As part of our trip to New York City last weekend we had the privilege of speaking with Manchester United legend and ambassador, Bryan Robson. He came out for an event with club partners Marriott Bonvoy and Marriott Hotels in Hudson Yards, where a pub bus and viewing area were set up for fans to watch the match against Arsenal from afar in celebration of the club’s pre-season summer tour. The event kicked off a series fan experiences along the tour hosted by Marriot Bonvoy and Marriott Hotels.

While speaking with The Busby Babe, Robson discussed a range of topics from his career to United’s chances this season as they attempt to knock Manchester City off their perch.

As for his ambassador role, he sees it as a way to stay close with the team and the fans, as well as promote commercial relationships.

“It’s great to still be involved with Manchester United,” Robson said of his club ambassador role. “Yes, it’s in a commercial aspect, but I enjoy it and that’s why I do this rather than go back into management.”

The role allows him to travel on tour as well, and in the US he finds a familiar strong support from the American fanbase that helps create a strong atmosphere in stadiums. He enjoys the travel, and in particular meeting fans from around the world at events such as the one at Hudson Yards.

“I think the differences in people you meet throughout the world is interesting, and things like this that Marriott Bonvoy have put together are quirky. I think people in America enjoy quirky things, and to put a big screen up like this and turn a double decker bus into events and games, it’s a great idea. Giving the fans a bit of food and drink to watch the game is a good idea, and I’m sure they’re going to love it.”

Of course everyone was there for the football, and while the 2-0 win over Arsenal wasn’t for silverware the topic is a hot one for United fans after ending a six-year trophy drought at Wembley in February. Robson, who has won a fair share of trophies himself, thinks it’s a good start for a team on the up.

“To get to two cup finals, win one of the trophies, that was really good,” he said. “Even though Manchester City won the treble they played more games than any other club in Europe last year. A little unfortunate to go a goal down int he first minute. It’s always difficult to come back, but I thought the players in the first half did really well to hold it together and get back into the game.”

Winning the FA Cup was a bridge too far last season for United, coming up against Pep Guardiola’s eventual treble winners in a difficult final at Wembley. City have become a team that seem impossible to best in a league title race, much like a certain rival back in the 70s and 80s. It was a difficult task defeating those sort of giants, but there is one such moment that helped build Robson’s legacy.

A stunning goal at Anfield to help reach the FA Cup Final.

“That one was my favorite goal because it was a 30-yarder into the top corner, and we went onto win the game.”

“More importantly we went on to beat Everton in the final 1-0 as well, so it was a really important goal to get us back into the game against Liverpool.”

For those who aren’t old enough to remember and haven’t brushed up on their history, the 1980s were a difficult decade for any English club that wasn’t based in Liverpool. The trophies Robson and United did manage to win often meant going through one or both, and it wasn’t until the 1990s that their reign ended as United began their own historic period of success.

“For me you never dismiss winning trophies,” Robson said, looking back at his achievements with United. “It was great winning the FA Cup and the Cup Winners’ Cup, but my special moment was after 26 years to win the title in 92/93. That was probably my best moment at Old Trafford. When you’re a player, winning a cup you’ve got to win maybe 6 or 7 games to win the trophy. When you’re playing for the league it/s week in and week out and you’ve got to grind out results to be the best in the league.”

Winning the Premier League after such a long time was a pivotal moment for Manchester United, and the club’s fans went a whole generation without knowing the feeling of such a drought. Now as the club has struggled in recent years, the feeling has become lost again, and another giant must be slain in order to find it again.

“As a club we have a lot of hard work to do because Manchester City have set really high standards, which we did in the 90s and 00s,” Robson said of City’s recent dominance. “We’ve got to get better to challenge them, I think we are under the new manager... but we know that we need a few more players to add some more goals to the team. If we can achieve that, I think with the organization and discipline the manager instills in the players, I think we can really challenge.”

It will take a lot of work and discipline to get back to the top, not to mention some signings, but United are in a better place than they were a year ago. They’ve found a good manager and are putting together a good squad, and while it’s hard to imagine closing the gap to the top so quickly it’s important to remember where we’ve been before in the process.

“I think you’ve always got motivation to win anywhere,” Robson continued. “But if it eases you, because it pains me, City winning the treble, what they can’t take away is we were the first team to win the treble.”