BEN ROBIN­SON ON RISE OF BREW­ERS AND HOW HE’S MADE CLUB THE

Sunday Mirror - - FOWLER ROBBIE - By NEIL MOXLEY

HOW much wa­ter do ele­phants drink?

Ben Robin­son, chair­man of prof­it­mak­ing Bur­ton Al­bion didn’t know once. And it cost him. Big. “Peo­ple have asked what my big­gest mis­take has been,” Robin­son said. “And those ele­phants are the hon­est re­ply.

“How did it hap­pen? Well, the sur­face of the car park at our pre­vi­ous ground was ash. It was per­fect for the cir­cus and, when they came to town, we did a deal to host them – for a fixed fee.

“They ar­rived one Sun­day night and I got a phone call from the bar stew­ard at the ground.

“Ben, you need to get down here to let them in,” he said.

“The cir­cus peo­ple wanted elec­tric­ity be­cause they needed to keep their pythons warm – and they needed wa­ter for the ele­phants to drink. So I went and let them in and sorted them out. The elec­tric­ity wasn’t part of the deal – but that wasn’t so much of a prob­lem. It was the ele­phants.

“We were on a wa­ter meter. Do you know how much wa­ter they guz­zle? There were six of them – get­ting through about 200 litres each, ev­ery day for one week – I al­most fell over when the bill ar­rived.” Robin­son, 72, can af­ford to laugh now. Af­ter pro­mo­tion to the Cham­pi­onship in 2016, the Brew­ers not only stayed in the di­vi­sion in their first term last sea­son, but also posted a £1.3mil­lion profit.

No mean feat, given the club’s re­sources and the man­ner in which money is be­ing splashed around in the sec­ond tier.

QPR have just been fined £40m for breach­ing Fi­nan­cial Fair Play rules. Cases against Le­ices­ter City and Bournemouth re­main out­stand­ing.

As­ton Villa paid John Terry (right) a £2m sign­ing-on fee and agreed to £3m-a-year wages. Yearly salaries of £1m – even at this level – are be­com­ing the norm, not the ex­cep­tion.

And then there is Bur­ton, where a first-team bud­get of £7.5m pays for ev­ery­thing – salaries, trav­el­ling, coaches, the lot.

Robin­son, who first be­came a di­rec­tor in 1972, has per­formed an out­stand­ing job in this quaint cor­ner of Stafford­shire.

The club has just opened ar­ti­fi­cial pitches for the com­mu­nity trust.

A grant helped off­set the cost, but, as Bur­ton’s first-team have the fa­cil­i­ties at St Ge­orge’s Park, there was no rea­son to build these other than an al­tru­is­tic one. At Bur­ton they are gen­er­ous in cher­ish­ing the con­tri­bu­tions of oth­ers too. Plenty of good man­agers have passed through this club. Peter Tay­lor – right-hand man to man­age­rial leg­end Brian Clough – Neil Warnock and Gary Rowett to name three. How­ever, it is Nigel Clough who Robin­son clearly holds most dear. “We wouldn’t be here to­day with­out him,” Robin­son said. “He’s his own man, Nigel. “When he came to work on his first day, he was driv­ing a big Mercedes. We were still in the South­ern League then. “Nigel de­cided it wasn’t right for him to be seen in such a car – so he traded down. It sums him up. He’s a su­perb m enough how im­por­tan

“I rec­om­mended to who were de­vel­op­ing they name a road af­ter

“They told me that do that un­til af­ter peo they did a de­vel­opme per­son the road was n con­victed. I could reas was no way Nigel woul and nar­row.

“I think his fa­ther wo of what he has done h

“I re­mem­ber, when the FA Cup. They w League and we were in­juries, but man­age ju­bi­lant and came bac Nigel’s phone rang. ‘Be on the phone and wan

“I took the phone an

THE BREW CREW Bur­ton boss Nigel Clough and team cel­e­brate pro­mo­tion to the Cham­pi­onship in 2016 Pic­ture: Ni­co­las Bow­man

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