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Bobby Robson Appointed Town Boss 50 Years Ago Today
Sunday, 13th Jan 2019 11:17

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Sir Bobby Robson’s appointment as Blues boss.

Former manager Bill McGarry, who had taken Town back into the top flight as champions of the Second Division in 1967/68, had departed in November 1968 to take over at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

After Torquay boss Frank O’Farrell had turned the job down, subsequently taking over at Leicester City a fortnight later, the Blues arranged interviews with two further candidates on January 12th, Billy Bingham, then at Plymouth Argyle, and Robson, who had recently been sacked by Fulham.

But the day before they were scheduled to meet the Town board at the Great Eastern Hotel, London, Bingham informed them he had decided to remain with the Pilgrims and on Monday 13th January 1969 Robson, then 36, was named the Blues’ sixth manager since they turned professional.

A statement from chairman John Cobbold read: “We were vastly impressed by Mr Robson and there was no doubt in our minds that he was the man for the job.

“We have not given him a contract but I realise no manager can be judged in less than two years. I sincerely hope Bobby stays with us considerably longer than that.”

County Durham-born Robson, an England international in his playing days with the Cottagers and West Brom, did stay at Portman Road for that hoped-for much longer period, eventually moving on to become England boss in the summer of 1982.

By the time he departed, the Blues had won the FA Cup in 1978, the UEFA Cup in 1981 and had finished second in the First Division on two occasions.

After ending 1972/73 fourth in the table, Town finished outside the top six of the First Division only once in nine seasons, the year in which they won the FA Cup.

As a consequence, the Blues became regulars in Europe with their UEFA Cup win augmented by memorable victories over the likes of Real Madrid, Lazio and Feyenoord, while Barcelona were twice defeated in first leg ties at Portman Road before eventually overcoming Town at Camp Nou.

In total Robson, who died aged 76 on 18th July 2009, managed the Blues for 704 competitive matches, 310 victories - 44.03 per cent - 172 draws and 222 defeats.

Robson, whose statue now stands on Portman Road, went on to take England to the World Cup semi-finals in 1990 before successful spells in club management overseas with PSV (twice), Sporting Lisbon, Porto, Barcelona and then finally back in the North-East with the club he supported as a boy, Newcastle United.

Photo: Action Images

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positivity added 11:26 - Jan 13
"We have not given him a contract but I realise no manager can be judged in less than two years. "
different times!

too young to remember alf, but surely the best thing to ever happen to itfc

blueboy1981 added 11:33 - Jan 13
Always remembering the late Great Sir Bobby Robson. R.I.P.

runningout added 11:35 - Jan 13
Best of the best.. Miss him

ITFCsince73 added 11:59 - Jan 13
Never see the like again. May have hailed from north east. But had blue running through his veins.
Even after leaving.

BlueandTruesince82 added 12:02 - Jan 13
As town fans I'm pretty sure that means we get tomorrow off for religuous reasons

Wickwar_Blue added 12:22 - Jan 13
Wonder if there were Robson “inners” and “outers” back in the day?

Sir Bob turned out ok in the end!

ITFCsince73 added 12:36 - Jan 13
W blue. There was. And what the majority wanted was, Bobby out.

Pendejo added 12:37 - Jan 13
A rookie 36 year who'd just been sacked; was Mr. John drunk? Definitely maybe, all turned out well though didn't it?

Wickwar Blue... the numbskulls of the early 70s were demanding Robson be sacked.

oldburian added 13:07 - Jan 13
I was also there and joined in the chant of 'Robson out'. But what is forgotten was that the fans were upset because he substituted Mick Hill, our only forward that night that looked likely to score, with Bryan Hamilton. It was pure frustration which Mick Hill milked to the utmost.

Of course what then happened was the next day the club made their best ever money signing in Allan Hunter. He immediately brought solidarity to the defence. Without that signing we would never have had the Dutchmen.

Please note I said money signing, Kevin Beattie did not cost us anything.

ChrisFelix added 13:38 - Jan 13
I recall although Robson was well known he was a favourite choice at the time.The sack at Fulham wasn't ideal on his cv. But what a surprise we all got.
Best money signing, it's hard to pinpoint the best. But unlike most of his successors he never made a bad signing

ChrisFelix added 13:40 - Jan 13
I mean he Wasn't the fans favourite

BobbyBell added 13:41 - Jan 13
Sir Bobby was a gentleman and a genius. He was also one of us and would talk to anyone about football. People met him in the street, in the car park and he would stop and chat about football with them. A true one off.
If you haven't yet seen the film of his life then watch it. It's on Netflix and you will see some of the greats taking about him with such respect and love. The first Ronaldo (the Brazilian) who Robson spotted as a kid and signed speaks with such affection of the man who made his career.
Sir Bobby brought so much joy to so many and then there was the work he did with cancer charities. A wonderful man.

Scuzzer added 13:49 - Jan 13
I just suddenly feel very old.

dirtydingusmagee added 14:25 - Jan 13
he came ,he saw ,he conquered , Thanks for the memories .

warktheline added 15:20 - Jan 13
The best appointment this club has ever made! Sir Bobby is Ipswich Town, and as a club we should strive to get back upon the path this man, his management team and players set us on all those glorious years ago!

TractorCraigo added 16:24 - Jan 13
Have you watched the Bobby Robson documentary on Netflix, so so good. I loved that Sir Alex Ferguson used to watch Ipswich train after being invited by Sir Bobby, which I did not know before. Pep and Mourinho both at Barcelona during his time (amongst other greats, who were all influenced by that great man.

grumpyoldman added 17:00 - Jan 13
What happened to those who turned us down, they went to achieve sweet FA. He was and still is my hero, as Beckenbauer said, he took a small provincial club to the summit of Europe what a genius.

pegasus added 17:11 - Jan 13
A mixture of thoughts and emotions reading of this anniversary. Hard man Bill McGarry had steadied the ship after the unsteadiness that followed Alf Ramsey's departure, and it clearly took a little bit of time to find the right man for the job. Half a century ago. There is something, not everything, but something of Bobby Robson's character and footballing perspective in P lambert.

positivity and Scuzzer remind me that I am very old. Thank you, gents. Not only do I remember Alf Ramsey, but I used to deliver the morning paper to his home in Crofton Road...

Davidwb20 added 17:22 - Jan 13
I met Sir Bobby in the underground in Ipswich pre match one Saturday back in 1978. Bobby stopped and signed my programme and my friends. He asked if we were local or had traveled to Ipswich. Lastly before heading off to the ground he said I hope you both enjoy the game. We certainly did Ipswich 3 Man City 1 I am 55 now but will remember that day forever! Perfect gentlemen and the best Manager to ever grace Portman Road and England.

edwardburton added 17:36 - Jan 13
What is a manager in any case?

It's not how much money he spends on players
Or what he says or does in front of the cameras.
It's what he does at a small club,
With a limited number of players
& a limited amount of money to spend on new ones.
It's how he looks after, nurtures & develops raw, young talent,
Who might be a long way from home (say Carlisle)
Or from just up the road (say Otley)
And turns them into club legends.
It's how he can turn that small club into one of the best teams in
England and even Europe.
It's how he can give a community, a town, a whole county
A team to be proud of.
It's how he can make a small boy
Visiting Portman Road for the very first time in 1973
Gripping his dad's hand
Fall in love with his team, Ipswich Town.
It's Bobby Robson.


Orraman added 17:58 - Jan 13
@Edwardburton - a truly wonderful tribute to the great Sir Bobby Robson

jabberjackson added 19:59 - Jan 13
Edward Burton - take a bow

This needs to be painted on a wall somewhere in the SBR - love it!
Club please take note

edwardburton added 20:44 - Jan 13
Jabber Jackson & Orraman: Thank you for your kind words but, as I'm sure you know, I've just adapted the great man's wonderful words from his What is a Club in any Case? quote. He has inspired me here just as he did when he was our manager. Those were, indeed, the days!

Bert added 21:14 - Jan 13
I only realised what he achieved at Town and what a great man he was when he left. My abiding memory is the ovation he got at SPOTY when he was awarded the lifetime achievement award. A wonderful man who inspired so many.

jabberjackson added 22:27 - Jan 13
Edward Burton...I was aware of this
But nevertheless an inspired adaptation

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