Today is the two year anniversary of the death of former Newcastle and England manager Bobby Robson.
Sir Bobby Robson – top manager and top man
Bobby was born in Sacriston in February, 1933, and played as a right-half for England, and of course managed Newcastle United to great success from 1999 until he was sacked by Freddy Shepherd in August of 2004.
Robson took over from the hapless Dutchman Ruud Gullit in 1999, when Bobby was 66 years old, and Newcastle were second bottom of the Premier League after 7 games of the 1999-2000 season.
And Newcastle had just suffered a 2-1 home defeat by local rivals Sunderland, when Gullit in his wisdom had dropped Alan Shearer.
Bobby had the Magpies at mid table by the end of that season, and in his last three seasons on Tyneside, Newcastle finished 4th, 3rd and 5th in the Premier League, and Newcastle qualified twice for the European Champions League.
And how can we forget his very first home game at St. James’ Park in September of 1999, when Newcastle beat bottom-placed Sheffield Wednesday by an amazing 8-0 and Shearer hit five goals, and after the game Bobby was quoted as saying:
“Well, we got nine and you can’t score more than that.”
Bobby died at age 76 on July 31, 2009 which was a Friday, following a very long battle against cancer.
But Bobby had been at an England vs Germany game in his honor at St. James’ Park on the previous Sunday, as a remebrance of the semi-final tie of the 19990 World Cup when England lost to West Germany 4-3 on penalties. after the game was drawn 1-1 after 90 minutes and extra time.
And there had even been some doubts that he would be able to attend the game in his honor, as his health was failing fast at the time.
But Bobby was there and top players got to say their goodbyes to a wonderful manager and an even better person.
I make no secret of the fact that Bobby Robson is one of my heroes in football and in life, and long may he rest in peace.