Robbie Mustoe Profile
|Born||Jan 27, 1965|
Known for his no-frills approach when playing the game, Robbie Mustoe has proved a revelation in his analyst role in the US.
Robin 'Robbie' Mustoe is a retired English soccer player who played as a midfielder for four English teams. After retiring, he moved into coaching and then the media, and has been working full time as a caller and studio analyst in the United States since 2008.
Mustoe was born in Witney and joined the youth ranks of local club Oxford United in 1984. He progressed to the first team and made 91 league appearances. He moved to Middlesbrough in 1990 and spent the majority of his career with the Teesside club. Mustoe made more than 350 appearances as a defensive midfielder, scoring 25 league goals.
He saw out his playing career with a season at Charlton Athletic and a year at Sheffield Wednesday before retiring in 2004. He emigrated to the US and was involved with coaching at college level for a couple of years before moving into a career in the media.
He began working for ESPN on their coverage of the Champions League and Spain's La Liga before switching to NBC in 2013, working as a commentator and studio analyst. He now provides insight into the Premier League for NBC Sports.
Early years and Oxford United
Mustoe was born in 1968 in the Oxfordshire town of Witney. He excelled playing soccer at school and in local youth sides before Oxford United gave him a chance within their youth set-up. At the time, Oxford were playing in the second tier of English soccer, but in Mustoe's last season in the youth team, they were promoted to the old First Division.
In 1986, he was handed a place in the senior side and went on to feature in 91 league games between 1986 and 1990. Although operating as a defensive midfielder with duties to protect the back four, he managed to score 10 goals during his spell at the club.
He worked under three managers at the U's. Maurice Evans gave him his first opportunity in 1986 before being sacked in March 1988 with the club bottom of Division One. Mark Lawrenson was unable to prevent relegation to Division Two and departed three months into the 1988/89 campaign to be replaced by Brian Horton. Oxford have never returned to England's top flight.
Mustoe's displays in a side constantly battling relegation caught the eye of the Middlesbrough scouts and he signed for the North East club in 1990 for £375,000.
Robbie Mustoe and Middlesbrough
Mustoe was signed by then Boro manager Colin Todd with the club in the second tier of English soccer. They were promoted at the end of the 1991/92 campaign and Mustoe was a key part of the Middlesbrough side that played in the inaugural Premier League season of 1992/93. It was a one-year stay as they were relegated after finishing 21st.
He made his Boro debut against West Ham United in the first game of the 1990/91 season and became a permanent fixture. Lennie Lawrence replaced Todd in the dugout in 1991 but Mustoe kept his place in the side. After promotion to the Premier League, a few big-name stars were brought to the club but Mustoe still saw plenty of game time in the centre of the pitch.
Two seasons in the second tier followed before Boro were promoted back to the Premier League ahead of the 1995/96 campaign. The arrival of Bryan Robson as player-manager in 1994 put Mustoe under pressure for his place in the side but he responded well and remained a regular in the first team.
The 1996/97 season saw Boro relegated but they did reach the final of both the League Cup and FA Cup. He played in both matches at Wembley, with Boro losing a replay to Leicester City in the League Cup and going down 2-0 to Chelsea in the FA Cup.
The following season, Mustoe was part of the Middlesbrough side that finished second in Division One and reached the League Cup final once again. However, the cup run ended in disappointment as Chelsea won the final 2-0 after extra time.
The remainder of his time at the club was spent in the Premier League as Boro held their own and Mustoe went on to make 325 league appearances for the club, scoring 25 goals.
Steve McClaren's arrival as manager in the summer of 2001 seemed to signal that Mustoe's time at Boro might be coming to an end but he played in the majority of top-flight games in 2001/02.
However, in the summer of 2002, despite being offered a new contract, he left on a free transfer to join Charlton Athletic having played in more than 450 games for the club.
Winding down his career at Charlton Athletic and Sheffield Wednesday
Mustoe moved south to join Charlton and penned a one-year deal at the Valley. However, he made just six appearances for the Addicks and failed to score a goal. He made his debut in a 3-1 defeat to Manchester United in September 2002. His first and only victory in a Charlton shirt came against former club Middlesbrough. He played his final match for the club against Everton on November 9, 2002.
In July 2003, Mustoe left Charlton and moved back up north to join Sheffield Wednesday. The South Yorkshire club had slipped into Division Two - the third tier of English soccer. He made his debut against Wycombe Wanderers on September 1 and went on to make 25 league appearances for the Owls.
Mustoe scored one goal for Wednesday - an injury-time winner against Brighton on March 27, 2004. Although it was not a particularly successful season for Wednesday as they finished 16th in the table and were knocked out of both cup competitions in the early rounds, Mustoe put in some solid performances.
At the end of the season, aged 36, he announced his retirement from playing.
Coaching in the US
After retiring, Mustoe relocated his family to the United States, settling in Lexington, Massachusetts. He took an assistant coach job at Bentley University, working with the Falcons soccer team.
He then moved on to Boston College to act as assistant coach with the Eagles. He stayed with the Eagles for one season, helping them to the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season and tournament titles before deciding to concentrate his energies on working in the media.
Robbie Mustoe in the mediaMustoe moved into the media full time in 2008 and went on to work for ESPN as a studio analyst for five years. He was introduced to calling games by Dave Roberts, a contact from his time at Middlesbrough who was working at ESPN.
Mustoe worked at the 2010 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2012 before switching to NBC in 2013. He was employed as an analyst for their studio coverage of the English Premier League, as well as NBC's Match of the Day and Premier League Download programs. He has worked with former Wimbledon midfielder Robbie Earle at NBC for many years as part of 'The 2 Robbies'.
In typically honest fashion, Mustoe said of his move into TV: "You have to be right on your game because the fans of those clubs know absolutely everything and if you make a mistake they will let you know."
Robbie Mustoe's personal life
Mustoe is married to Caroline and the couple have two sons, Elliott and Lewis. The pair are fans of Mustoe's former club Middlesbrough and wear their Boro shirts when watching New England Revolution MLS team.
On the transition to punditry, he said: "I certainly put the hours in. I do my homework: the players, the formation, the stats, the issues, the last match, any history between the sides.
"I never really appreciated there was so much on the other side of the fence but I really enjoy absorbing that."
Mustoe enjoys his media work in the US and has no plans to try and transfer to UK screens.
He said: "I'm not naive. In England I would probably have never got the chance. I don't think I would have got to sit on a panel alongside a Jamie Redknapp or Gary Neville."
He is good friends with former Wimbledon 'Crazy Gang' member Robbie Earle. The pair have worked together at NBC for a number of years after being on opposing teams in the Premier League.