We knew that Chris Hughton was a great admirer of Sir Bobby Robson, and that he had a picture of Bobby in the manager’s office at the Benton Training headquarters.
Sir Bobby Robson – still looking over his home town club
Indeed, Chris wasn’t embarrassed to say at times that he thought Bobby was watching over him – while Chris was manager of Newcastle – so that’s why Chris did such a magnificent job!
And of course Hughton met the same feat as Bobby himself, when right out of the blue one Monday after tasting away defeats the previous Saturday, he was ruthlessly fired.
And one thing about the two of them is that they both took it with such gentlemanly grace.
There’s a good interview today with John Carver, and when he entered the manager’s room at Benton for the first time since signing on at Newcastle again, he was surprised to see a huge picture of Bobby behind the manager’s desk – looking down on everybody from above – so to speak.
This is what John said today:
“It was amazing really,” “There is a massive photograph of him behind the manager’s desk, which I think Chris Hughton put there, but I didn’t know anything about it so it took me by surprise.”
“We have a staff meeting in there every day, and it really hit me the first time I went in and saw him looking down from the wall. I have a lot of memories of him and we spent a lot of time together in that room.”
“I’m not being funny, but I felt him there on my shoulder at that moment. I know he will be looking down and smiling because he knows how much this club meant to me, and he will be pleased I’m back.”
“I always hoped I would come back, but I never believed I would. There was sadness and, if I’m honest, a bit of bitterness about the way I left the Academy. I lost my job through no fault of my own really, but that’s football.”
“I’ve come close to returning a few times, without going into too much detail, and I’m really happy I’ve finally done it. You should always expect the unexpected in football and when I got the call it was totally out of the blue.”
Carver’s appointment has been met with some excitement by Newcastle fans, and even though it’s only through the end of the season, we are hoping that within a couple of months a long extension to John’s contract will be announced, as Alan Pardew finds John is very easy to work with.
And John has admitted he is on trial at St James’ Park, because he has never worked with Pardew before, so we suppose that says it was Alan who wanted the six months trial period, which we suppose is fair enough.
“I’ve only got a contract until the end of the season and that is absolutely the right thing to do, for the club and for me.
“As soon as I walked back into the club I could sense the special atmosphere around the place and there is no point giving me a long-term contract if I’m going to upset the apple cart as it were.
“The manager has got to find out if he can work with me and whether I can work with him. I’d love to have some stability in my life, I’m getting to be known on the circuit as Phileas Fogg as it feels like I’ve been around the world in 80 days.
“But we’ll see how things go over the next few months. Everyone knows the club’s main priority at the moment is survival and stability in the Premier League. Once we have achieved that, then we can start thinking about what the future holds.”
When Bobby Robson was at the club, it was a great time for Newcastle fans, because not only did Bobby make the team successful, but some of his interviews were just priceless.
I remember when he was appointed I had made a business trip to Japan while I was on vacation in Newcastle, and on getting to London on the way back, and got the plane up to Newcastle, it had just been announced that Bobby was the new Newcastle manager, and I was just delighted with the news. It’s a moment in time, for some reason, that sticks with me to this day.
Some of the things Bobby said were funny, although he didn’t always mean them to be, but he knew his football alright and of course he was completely dedicated to his home town club – Newcastle United.
We like the one when he said:
“If you count your chickens before they’ve hatched, they won’t lay an egg.”
Or the great one when he said after his very first game as manager at St. James’ Park:
“Well, we got nine and you can’t score more than that.”
That was after the 8-0 thumping of the only side beneath us in the league at that time – Sheffield Wednesday. 😀
We love the man, and it’s somehow fitting that his picture still hangs in the manager’s dressing room today, and we have to think that Alan wouldn’t dare think of taking it down.
It’s just fine with us that Bobby is looking over the Newcastle club from above – even today.