Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Sir Bobby Robson: True Geordie devoted to football

former England manager Sir Bobby Robson - seen as Ipswich Town manager (left) with coach Cyril Lea and players David Geddis and captain Mick Mills (hat) as they parade the FA Cup in triumph at Wembley Stadium in London

Bobby Robson will be badly missed by football community was known throughout the world for being a gentleman of British sport.

Bobby Robson will be badly missed by football community was known throughout the world for being a gentleman of British sport.

He was loved for his enthusiasm for the beautiful game and his willingness to share the knowledge he gained over a lifelong love affair with football.

He was born Robert William Robson, the son of a Co Durham miner, in Sacriston on February 18, 1933 and grew up in nearby Langley Park, a pit village on the outskirts of Durham city.

He came under football's spell as a youngster, travelling on the bus to watch the Newcastle United team of the 1940s.

Through the 1950s and early 1960s he was a top player with Fulham and West Bromwich Albion. He also won 20 England caps and took part in the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, but eventually lost his place in the team to the young Bobby Moore.

However, it was as a manager that Robson truly excelled.

His first job at Fulham lasted just 10 months and in 1969 he took over unfancied Ipswich Town. There he moulded a side that lifted the FA Cup in 1978 and the Uefa Cup in 1981. The following year he became England boss.

At the Mexico World Cup in 1986 England were beaten by Argentina and Maradona's infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal. Four years on he saw his side reach the semi-finals against arch-rivals West Germany, only to lose on penalties.

With his reputation restored, Robson moved on to PSV Eindhoven in Holland, winning the Dutch league, then on to Sporting Lisbon and Porto in Portugal where he won more championships. A move to Barcelona in 1996 saw them lift the Cup Winners' Cup.

But in 1999 he made a romantic return to Newcastle at the age of 66. He led his beloved Magpies from the bottom of the Premier League in that campaign to fourth place in 2001/02 and third the following season.

But he was sacked in 2004 after a poor start to the season.

His last job in football came in 2006 when he was a consultant to the rookie Republic of Ireland boss Steve Staunton.

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