Today marks what would have been the 79th birthday of the former Newcastle United and England football manager Sir Bobby Robson. Born in Sacriston and raised in nearby Langley Park, Robson would emerge from a County Durham mining background to be one of the most successful and most loved men in the sport.
In view of his managerial achievements, it is often forgotten that Robson was an international in his own right (his four England goals all coming in matches at Wembley) and he also found the net 141 times in a club career that included two spells at Fulham with seven seasons at West Brom sandwiched in between...
After his playing career was over, Robson’s time as manager of Ipswich Town (1969-82) yielded a 1-0 FA Cup win over Arsenal in 1978 and an aggregate victory over AZ 67 Alkmaar to win the 1981 UEFA Cup. However, for all his success in English and continental domestic football, for me Robson will always be remembered for the run to the semi-final in the 1990 World Cup.
I remember watching the game against Belgium at Gateshead Cricket Club and the bar erupting when David Platt
(pictured above with Bobby Robson) hooked home a late winner. The Italia ’90 semi-final against West Germany was filled with “iconic” images... many involving a tearful Paul Gascoigne and Gary “have a word with him” Lineker. A
heartbreaking penalty shoot out defeat ended the dream – and brought an end to Robson’s time as England manager, but his popularity and the esteem in which he was held never waned...
In later years, Robson battled cancer on several occasions, however, the fifth time the illness was diagnosed, it was to prove terminal. Failing health never dampened Bobby Robson’s love of football and the courage with which he fought cancer and the devotion he showed in working to help fight the disease only served to unite the footballing community and his death on 31stJuly 2009 brought an outpouring of tributes that were a fitting epitaph to the memory of a superb manager, but more importantly, a thoroughly decent man...
“...I am going to die sooner rather than later. But then everyone has to go sometime and I have enjoyed every
Sir Robert William “Bobby” Robson 1933-2009
All my own work... almost.