Robbie Slater OAM
Australia's first English FA Premier League winner
Robbie Slater OAM is one of the best known names in Australian football. He is also a writer, philanthropist and a senior analyst and commentator with Fox Sports. A ‘people’s person’, Robbie is a dynamic speaker who loves to inspire and motivate his audience.
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Robbie Slater was born in England and moved to Australia when he was young. Here he discovered his passion for soccer. He played in various clubs before joining St George Saints in the National Soccer League in 1982. Robbie and his team won the NSL the following year.
Following this early success, Robbie Slater trialed with Nottingham Forest in the UK. however, he returned to Australia unsigned when St George Saints and Nottingham Forest could not agree on terms. In 1987 he joined Sydney Croatia before moving into the Belgium League. From 1990 – 1994 Robbie was part of Lens in Ligue 2 in France. During this time, he suffered a near death experience when he was attacked by rival team supporters.
Robbie moved to Blackburn Rovers in the UK at the end of the 1993 – 1994 season and became the first Australian to win the English FA Premier League. During his time in the UK, he also played for West Ham, Southampton and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
When Robbie moved back to Australia, was appointed captain of the Northern Spirit, a new team in the National Soccer League. He played with the team until his retirement at the end of the 2000 – 2001 season. Then, in 2002 he was appointed player-coach of Manly Warringah.
Robbie won 44 caps for the Socceroos, including the infamous World Cup qualifier against Iran in 1997. That game saw Australia two up into the second half, but, having conceded two late goals, the final result was a draw. This result saw Australia undefeated in the qualifying rounds, but miss out on a place in the World Cup. He was selected for the Australian team for the 1988 Olympic Games and Bicentennial Gold Cup. Robbie’s final Socceroos appearance was in the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup where Australia was runner-up to Brazil. Robbie’s international appearances have earned him a place in the Football Federation Australia Football Hall of Fame.
Over a long and highly successful career, Robbie Slater has been recognised with several awards that include Oceania Footballer of the Year in 1991 and 1993, runner-up in Oceania Footballer of the Decade poll for 1988 – 1997 and Southampton Footballer of the Year in 1997.
Since his retirement Robbie has written his autobiography The Hard Way. He has also formed the Robbie Slater Football Academy to develop young players aged eight to 10. A percentage of profits goes to charity from the Academy. Robbie Slater is now a senior analyst and commentator with Fox Sports.