Born on 18th of February 1933
Died on 31st of July 2009
British hero of the week August 7th 2009
County Durham born Sir Bobby Robson was one of football’s true gentlemen. After a club career that included spells at West Brom and Fulham, and 20 caps for England, Sir Bobby tried his hand and management. His new career didn’t get off to a great start but by the 1977-78 season he’d got to grips with his new role. He took underdogs Ipswich to a historic victory over Arsenal in the FA Cup that year. He added the UEFA cup to Ipswich’s tally in 1980-81, their first ever European trophy, and secured his permanent place in the club’s folklore.
Unable to resist the lure of a job in charge of the national team Robson left Ipswich to take over the managerial role at England. Robson was one of the most successful England managers never to win a major trophy. He failed to get England to Europe in 1984 but kept his job and guided the national side to the finals of the 1986 World Cup. Who knows what might have happened if that little cheat Diego Maradona hadn’t punched the ball into the net to take victory for Argentina in the semi-finals. English players and fans will never forget, nor forgive, the so-called ‘hand-of-God’ incident.
Back in Europe and the jinx was back as the England side under-performed at the Euro finals held in West Germany in 1988. The press vilified Robson who once again held onto his job and went on to prove them all wrong at the 1990 World Cup finals. Once again, who knows what would have happened if Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle had hit the net from their penalty kicks in that famous semi-final game with West Germany.
Sir Bobby then stepped down from his England role but didn’t leave football. He had a very successful seven year stretch in charge of PSV Eindhoven as well as a championship with FC Porto in Portugal. He capped his European club success with a European Cup Winner’s Cup with Barcelona. His efforts earned him the title of European Manager of the Year in 1996/97 and Robson was dubbed by his players as the one of the best football trainers in the world.
Sir Bobby came home to the North East to finish his club management career in charge of Newcastle. After inheriting a club in turmoil he guided Newcastle United into the Champions League three times in five seasons. Unfortunately he was sacked a short way into the 2004/05 season after a poor start. However, by now his reputation was forged forever and he got all the recognition he had always deserved, including from the British press. After gaining freedom of the City of Newcastle-upon-Tyne he had a brief spell as part of the management team with the Republic of Ireland’s national side. He then stepped down after spending the best part of his 75 years in the game he loved so much.
Sir Bobby Robson died peacefully on the morning of July 31 at his home in County Durham with his wife, Lady Robson at his bedside.
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