The self-proclaimed “very first known vegan professional footballer anywhere in the world” is in Lancashire to promote the health benefits of not eating meat.
Ex-Everton footballer Neil Robinson visits Lancashire on Saturday in the latest leg of his UK tour, sharing his insights on fitness and health on a plant-based diet.
Robinson says “a 100% plant-based diet is actually beneficial to his longevity and well-being without undermining his fitness and performances”.
He’ll be at the North West Vegan Festival in Lancaster on Saturday.
Neil was born in Liverpool and holds the record of being the player born closest to Everton’s home stadium Goodison Park. He became veggie at age 13 and, four years later, signed as a professional footballer for his beloved Everton.
Robinson, who made 23 appearances for the Blues between 1976 and 1979 including a League Cup final in only his fourth senior outing, said: “In 1970, at age 13, I became vegetarian after watching a TV documentary about an Amazonian tribe who sacrificed a cow by slitting its throat.
“After the poor beast had fallen to the floor the tribesmen jumped up and down on its throat to drain all the blood from its body, then proceeded to chop up the animal to cook on the open fire.
“I was shocked by this sudden and stark realisation that meat was actually the flesh of a once living animal.
“I thought to myself that this just was not right for humans to do this to another species and I decided that I no longer wanted eat any meat.
“Ten years later, in 1980, I decided to become vegan.
“This meant that I was vegetarian for the first seven years of my professional playing career and vegan for the last 10 years.
“My fitness was never ever in question at any football club I played for.”
After moving to Swansea City FC in 1980, Neil extended his moral stance for animals by becoming vegan.
He retired from football in 1990 and was a veggie/vegan throughout his entire career.
Robinson, who refused to wear leather boots, claims he “was always one of the fittest at all his clubs”.
He also does live demonstrations of his favourite smoothies.
The VegfestUK organisers said: “Neil’s interesting background is very easy to relate to for a lot of people who wish to be physically strong and highly achieve on a sporting level.
“One common myth is that athletes require plenty of steak and whey protein to stay at the top level. By playing top-flight football on a vegan diet, Neil’s made a mockery of these beliefs.”
The festival will have 115 stalls across two venues – from 11am until 7pm, Lancaster Town Hall on Dalton Square; and from 11am until midnight at the Gregson Centre, 33, Moor Lane.
Admission is £1.50, which includes entry to both sites.