Tenth Anniversary of Sir Bobby's Death
Wednesday, 31st Jul 2019 09:40
Today marks the 10th anniversary of the death of legendary Town boss Sir Bobby Robson, aged 76.
Robson, who was in charge of the Blues from 1969 to 1982, led Town to the 1978 FA Cup and the 1981 UEFA Cup during the club's most successful decade.
Capped 20 times by England as a player, scoring four times County Durham-born Robson, who also had spells in charge of Fulham, England, PSV, Sporting Lisbon, Porto, Barcelona and Newcastle in a hugely successful managerial career, had been battling cancer for the fifth time, cancerous nodules having been discovered in his lungs in May 2007.
Town donated the proceeds from that evening’s friendly at home to Spanish side Real Valladolid to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation - which he founded in March 2008 to try to raise £500,000 to fund cancer research that has now reached the £13.5 million mark, £12.2 million of that figure since his death - with then-manager Roy Keane feeling his team’s 3-1 win was a fitting tribute.
"It's obviously a very sad day with the news of Sir Bobby,” he said. “I think it was nice that we had a game tonight though, because it gave the supporters a chance to show their appreciation for Sir Bobby.
“It was a night of celebration in some ways and I said to the players before the game that I wanted them to go out and pay their respects by putting in a good performance and play the way Sir Bobby liked the game played. I think they did that.
"I was lucky enough to have met him on a couple of occasions. He came to the training ground when I was manager at Sunderland and apart from obviously being a fantastic manager, he struck me as a true gentleman as well.”
George Burley, who played for Robson and subsequently followed him into the Blues hotseat, was among the ex-players to pay tribute.
"Not only did he manage my career from the age of 15 when I signed for him at Ipswich, he also had a huge influence on my life,” he said.
"He brought me up as a person and I have always considered him to be a second father. Bobby was always there to offer me encouragement and to listen to any troubles or concerns that I might have had. That was the kind of man he was.
"He always wanted to help out his players and always looked out for the people that were close to him.
"As a football manager, he is one of the greatest of all time. He didn't just taste success here in Britain, he won trophies right across Europe. Quite simply, his record was phenomenal.
"Wherever he went, he took with him a passion and enthusiasm for the game and was renowned the world over as a wonderful ambassador for football.
"He was a huge inspiration to me as a player and he continued to be a mentor to me throughout my managerial career. Football has lost a legend and I have lost the man to whom I owe my career."
Ex-Blues chairman David Sheepshanks added: “It is desperately sad news. Although everyone knew that he was seriously ill, he showed extraordinary courage in fighting cancer and that was very much to the fore when he attended the charity match at Newcastle last weekend in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
"Sir Bobby will be missed dreadfully by the entire football world as much as by the people of Ipswich and Suffolk, for whom he became a favourite son.
"My memories are not only of a courageous man but also a brilliantly astute manager who positively enthused everyone around him with that infectious sense of passion for the game.
"He was truly a great man whose achievements with Ipswich Town are the stuff of legend, not forgetting his remarkable record elsewhere, including England, who he guided to a World Cup semi-final. We will all remember him so fondly."
Photo: Action Images
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