Sir Bobby Robson, February 1933 - July 2009

Sir Bobby has finally lost his battle with cancer just five days after an emotional appearance at St James’ Park when an England XI led by Alan Shearer took on Germany to raise funds for The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Sir Bobby was born on 18th February 1933 in Sacriston Co Durham. In 1950 he gave up his apprenticeship as a colliery electrician to sign for Fulham where he went on to score 69 goals in 152 appearances.

In 1956 he signed for West Brom for £25,000 where he was appointed Club Captain. The following year he made his England debut, scoring twice in a 4-0 thrashing of France. He appeared in the 1958 World Cup in Sweden and won a total of 20 caps before injury brought a halt to his international career in 1960.

In 1968 he was appointed Fulham manager after a short spell as player-manager of the Vancouver Royals.

Sacked by Fulham after failing to avoid relegation, he became manager of Ipswich in 1969, leading them to 4th in Division 1 in 1972.

Under his stewardship Ipswich won the FA Cup in 1978 and the UEFA Cup in 1981 beating Arsenal and AZ Alkmaar respectively.

He managed England between 1982 and 1990, His reign included the World Cup Finals of ’86 when England were ‘victims’ of ‘the hand of God’ and 1990 when he saw his side lose on penalties to Germany in the semi-final.

In 1990 he joined the European managerial merry-go-round with spells at PSV Eindhoven (back to back league titles), Sporting Lisbon and Porto (League & Cup double) before arriving at Barcelona in 1996 when, in his only year in charge, he won the Cup, The Spanish Super Cup, and the European Cup Winners Cup.

He was offered the Newcastle job after Kevin Keegan walked, but Bobby was a man of honour and refused to break his contract with Barca. The Spaniards still sacked him at the end of the season but, with Kenny Dalglish ensconced in the SJP hot seat, Bobby returned to PSV.

He eventually became Newcastle United manager early in the 1999/2000 season when he guided the Toon from bottom place to a respectable 11th. In 2002/03 he took Newcastle back into the ’top three’ but after a poor start to the season, he was ‘relieved of his duties‘ in September 2004.

In 2006 in joined the Republic of Ireland as assistant to Steve Staunton, but ill health forced him to quit after a few months.

Bobby Robson was awarded the CBE in 1990. He was voted European Manager of the Year in 1996/07, and was knighted 2002. In 2003 he was inducted into the England Hall of Fame and in 2005 he became a Freeman of the city of Newcastle . It was, he said, ‘The proudest moment of my life'.

Sir Bobby Robson died on the morning of July 31st 2009 aged 76.

Steve Cole.

Newcastle United Supporters Club London

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