Sir Bobby Robson has given a long interview this morning to Luke Edwards, the Chief Sports Writer of the Newcastle Journal and we cannot resist listing the interview this morning, and making some of our own comments on Bobby’s great career in football.
Bobby Robson when managing England
Bobby told the Newcastle Journal this morning:
â€œI have had a wonderful career and a wonderful life,â€ â€œI really couldnâ€™t ask for much more. When I look back Iâ€™m very proud of what I have achieved.â€ â€œI played for some fabulous clubs and I played for England. I had 14 years at Ipswich Town as a manager, won things and was very, very happy there.â€
â€œThen I got the top job, the best job in the world really. I managed England, I managed England for eight years and we reached the semi-finals of the World Cup.â€ â€œYes, there were some unpleasant things said and written about me, but there isnâ€™t a bigger job in world football than managing England, so Iâ€™m very happy I did it. Then I went abroad for 10 years and had success in Holland and Portugal.â€
â€œThen I hit the jackpot, I was offered the managerâ€™s job at Barcelona. How many people can say that? How many people can say they had the biggest international job and the biggest club job in their lives? So many happy times, Iâ€™ve met some fantastic people and Iâ€™ve worked with some of the greatest players all over the world.â€
Robson has been responsible for influencing so many top managers of today. The “Special Oneâ€™, Jose Mourinho sings his praises and says he learned everything about football management from Bobby, while he was at Barcelona with him. Sven Eriksson also used to attend the Ipswich Training sessions to pick up tips about training and how to handle the players.
And of course in 1999 Robson wanted to bring an unknown Portuguese guy to be his assistant manager at Newcastle United, but we’d never heard of him – Jose Mourinho.
But Bobby, as we know has had his fights with cancer and he is now battling that illness for the 5th time. Our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his wife Elsie. Indeed, Bobby was never one to stand still or feel sorry for himself, and is busy with his latest project, the creation of the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trial And Research Center at Newcastleâ€™s Freeman Hospital, on Freeman Road in Jesmond.
â€œThere is still some fight in me yet,â€ â€œIâ€™m still going and Iâ€™m still strong. Iâ€™ve had my health problems and Iâ€™m still fighting them, but Iâ€™ve always been a fighter. After my birthday I have another project to embark on. Iâ€™m going to launch a charity to help people in the North East fight cancer and Iâ€™m going to raise the money to help the experts help them beat it.â€
â€œI never thought Iâ€™d get the chance to manage my club and I loved every single day I was in that job,â€ â€œIt meant the world to me and I believe I did as good a job as I could. I donâ€™t have any regrets about my time there.”
“I took the club over when they were bottom of the league and in the five years I was manager we finished in the top five three years running. Three years after I arrived we were playing in the Champions League. Nobody has got near that since I left.â€
â€œPeople say, yes, but you didnâ€™t win a trophy. No, we didnâ€™t and thatâ€™s my only regret, the only thing I look back on with a little sadness. I would have loved to have got that piece of silverware and ended the drought, can you imagine what that would have been like? â€
â€œAs I have to remind people, there arenâ€™t many trophies you can win. There are only three domestic ones, the FA Cup, the Carling Cup and the League. Then there are the European ones, but the Champions League was never a realistic one for us when I was there.â€
One thing that we’ve always liked about Bobby is he holds no grudges, even though he had had every right to in his career. When he was managing England he took terrible abuse from the press but still got England to the quarter-finals in 1986, when only the hand of God helped Argentina beat us. But Bobby always took a dim view of Maradona from the day on and said at the time:
“It wasn’t the hand of God. It was the hand of a rascal. God had nothing to do with it.”
“That day, Maradona was diminished in my eyes forever.”
Well Maradona cheated – and got away with it, that’s what happened. Forget the hand of God, we don’t think God cheats, not even for Argentina.
And then in 1990 we went to penalties after extra time against West Germany, but were finally eliminated. Argentina were the other finalists and had a few of their players banned for the final. So we were closer to winning a second World Cup than ever, so very close.
Of course, Bobby got absolutely no help from the media, who think their job is to tear down any England manager after any defeat – they work against England and continue to do so until this day – and that’s the truth – and people know it too.
Booby turns 75 years old on Monday February 18th, and we wish him a Happy Birthday and all the very best in the future.
No Bobby is the great one, as Jose will attest to. A great manager but an even greater man.