Sir Alex Ferguson gave a moving address yesterday on the influence that Sir Bobby Robson had on him as a manager.
Ferguson considered Bobby an inspiration.
Sad faces at the Bobby Robson memorial service yesterday
Alan Shearer, Fabio Capello, Alex Ferguson, Paul Gascoigne and Gary Lineker
Ferguson is without doubt the most successful manager in British football history, and he pointed to the fantastic legacy that Bobby left to the football world.
“It has been one of the privileges of my life to have met him and to have been enthused by him,” “He influenced me then and he’s always influenced me.”
“I think I speak for almost everyone here in football terms, he influenced me but what made him so special was he influenced people who didn’t know him. They admired his courage, his dignity, his enthusiasm.”
“He never lost that enthusiasm. That enthusiasm, you just can’t explain it, special people have got it.”
And we all know that when Ferguson was about to retire a few years ago, but then back-tracked, and it was Bobby himself who convinced Alex to stay on at Manchester United – or should we say demanded that Alex stay on:
“It was not a question, it was a demand,” “You’re not retiring are you?’
“Of course I’m not’. Not after he’d said that.”
And Ferguson told the brutal truth as he addressed Bobby finally leaving the club after 5 magical years in charge – he was sacked – after Newcastle had finished 4th, 3rd and 5th in his last 3 seasons at his home town club, and we have been nowhere near ever since:
“I remember him leaving Newcastle because of old age,”
“That is a damning indictment of people’s age as he had the talent to go on and on.”
Bobby had invited Alex to Ipswich, to watch Bobby’s training methods, ahead of an Aberdeen UEFA Cup tie, which in fact the Scottish club won back in 1981:
“In true Robson fashion, he finished by saying ‘go and win it, anyone who can beat my Ipswich team must be able to win the cup’,”
Ferguson reminded everybody that Bobby was always loyal to his working-class roots in the North-East:
“He never forgot that. He always knew his roots,”
“Fantastic that he would do that, not to change his entire life. It’s a great talent that, not to change, to be the same person.”
“He fought his disease with incredible courage and resilience and showed you what his background was.”
It was a very sad day for Newcastle fans yesterday.