Football is not exclusively a sport. Football, to most men and women, is a part of their lives. Robin Lipman has spent most of his life on the football pitch across the UK, Europe, and now Jakarta.
Robin embodies the saying, “age is just a number” because even at an age where most people would rather take it easy at home, he prefers to be active. A complex surgery didn’t even stop him from stepping onto the field! Indonesia Expat had the fantastic opportunity to be embraced by Robin’s positive outlook in life and welcoming a new chapter in Indonesia.
Robin, please tell us about yourself.
I am 62 years of age, born in Nuneaton, England. I have a twin sister named Lorraine – I’m 20 minutes older than her. She lives close to Nuneaton. I would say I’m a people’s person, and I love meeting people in both professional and social functions. I am a bit of a joker, love telling one-liners, and like to sing my favourite songs like “My Way” by Frank Sinatra and “Hey Jude” by the Beatles. And I love football.
How did you find yourself in Indonesia?
Due to the fact I had family in Australia, Indonesia was an ideal place to be able to visit them from. Also, an ex-colleague who was based in Thailand put me forward as an experienced sales person that could help the region grow (more on that later).
What are you busy with these days?
From a work perspective, my role has somewhat changed. I previously was focused on Indonesia for Bosch Rexroth. My expertise in Tightening Systems for the last 30 odd years has now made me very busy in helping other countries in the region.
As someone who’s had over 30 years’ experience in the UK’s automotive and motorcycle sectors, what are the similarities and differences you’ve noticed in Indonesia?
I find that all car plants are built to the same specifications around the world, whether they are Japanese, Chinese, or German vehicles. The only difference is most suppliers in Indonesia are from Japan or China, which makes it difficult to change. Whereas in Europe, they are more open to change and are ahead of the game when it comes to new technologies. Now, that’s my job; to try and change that in Indonesia.
Are you planning to retire in Indonesia or in the UK?
For the time being, maybe within the next year or so, I will continue to work in the Asian region and I plan to retire in Bali with my new wife, Christine. I’d also like to regularly visit the UK as I have children and grandchildren there. In fact, I have one grandchild coming soon!
I heard you like to play football and one of your daughters is a professional football player in the UK. How significant is football to you?
Football has been a big part of my life since I was nine. When England won the World Cup in 1966; my hero Gordon Banks inspired me to become a goalkeeper that year. So I did; played for my school district and county. But when I was 16, three professional football teams turned me down – sadly due to my height. Those three teams were Leicester City, Stoke City, and last but not least, my all time favourite team, Coventry City, which I have supported since I was ten.
I then went on to play semi-professional for Nuneaton Borough, Hinckley Athletic, Racing Club Warwick, and Chelmley Town. Not to mention, I played for several top teams in the Sunday Leagues, then played across Europe in the likes of Belgium, Germany, Italy, and even Turkey. I also had the chance to coach my U9 team called Arden Forest at Wembley Stadium, in front of over 70,000 fans before the Aston Villa V Bolton Wonderers FA Cup Semi-Final in 2000, in which we beat Bolton Academy 2-0. I achieved my life’s ambition: walking out of the tunnel at Wembley Stadium as a coach, not a player. Interestingly enough, my son David was one of the team players. It was definitely a proud father moment for me.
I have officially retired at 55, after playing in Turkey. Then I became a coach for a kid’s team called Arden Forest Winning Championships for about two years. Eventually I moved to Jakarta. Here, I happen to play for the BuGils. I find it amazing that at the age of 62, I can still play and I’m enjoying it more than ever!
But my proudest moment in football was seeing my daughter Emma progress from playing for a boys’ under-eight team, into playing for the likes of Coventry City. By 14, she had already made her first team debut! She then proceeded to play for Leeds United and officially became a professional football player at Manchester City, and then moved onto Italy’s Serie A league playing for Verona, AS Roma, and is currently with Florentia. You can catch Emma representing Malta now!
Not long ago, you had surgery done. Can you elaborate on that a bit and how it has affected you today?
I was on vacation at Karma Kandara in Bali and on the first night there, I woke up with stomach pains. After five hours of pain, I realised it was something serious. We went to the nearest hospital, which was in Jimbaran. After taking some tests, the doctor told me that I had a heart problem. I got transferred to the Siloam Hospital in Kuta – within three hours, the doctors at Siloam confirmed that I had two gallstones and one was infected so I needed to have surgery on that. Two days later, Dr. Adi performed a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, or keyhole surgery. I was under for at least 2.5 hours as Dr. Adi removed two gallstones and my gallbladder. The doctor told me that it normally takes an hour to perform this procedure.
My family and I cannot thank Doctor Adi enough for the way he treated me, along with his professionalism – I will always be indebted to him. The impact of the illness was short lived after a one-month rest. I lost a couple of kilos on the scale, but my wounds had healed and I was able to return to work. I could even start running again! Then after six weeks, I started to play football again!
Mention three words which best describe you.
Very positive person.