KARL ROBINSON has revealed how he played Cupid for Newcastle coach Stephen Clemence.
The Oxford boss and Toon first-team coach come face-to-face in the FA Cup at St James’ Park today.
But it will be an intense rivalry for 90 minutes only — as they are best pals off the pitch.
Indeed, Robinson insists he made the love match that ended in marriage for the son of former Liverpool and England keeper, Ray.
He said: “Stephen won’t tell you this but I set him up with my missus’ best mate on a blind date and he married her!”
The connection adds glamour to an enticing tie as Clemence’s wife and Robinson’s missus are former Brookside actresses.
Clemence’s other half, Suzanne Collins, played Nikki Shadwick in the former Channel 4 soap, while Robinson’s wife, Anne Marie Davies, played Katrina Evans.
The two women are so close they even founded a drama company together.
But there will be no love lost when the tie starts this afternoon, with Robinson knowing it will be a tough ask for League One Oxford to knock out Newcastle, although they did just that to West Ham in the Carabao Cup last September.
Robinson, 39, said: “Stephen Clemence is one of my best mates. And his missus and mine are best friends. But we go there looking to win.
“I have already won twice at Newcastle when I was assistant to Sam Allardyce at Blackburn Rovers.
“I know Newcastle will be very strong.
“We’ll all have to be at our best and they’ll have to be at individuals ratings of five or six for us to get anywhere near them.
“They are Premier League players and we are not. Whenever you walk into Newcastle you can tell football runs through the city.
“The list of legends who have played for the club is just phenomenal.”
Ex-Tottenham and Birmingham midfielder Clemence, 41, was appointed Newcastle’s first-team coach last July, having also worked alongside manager Steve Bruce at Sunderland, Hull, Aston Villa, Birmingham and Sheffield Wednesday.
He married Suzanne three years ago, having met her on that blind date in Marbella in 2013.
How appropriate then the tie should be just three weeks away before Valentine’s Day. The romance of the Cup, indeed!