There Was Nobody In Football Like Sir Bobby Robson

Nikos Dabizas played for Newcastle from 1998 until 2004, and all but a year of that time was spent under the management of the great Bobby Robson.

Nikos Dabizas – in action for Greek side Larrissa

The Greek center-back, who is now 38 years old and only retired from playing a year ago, played 70 times for his country, and he played over 150 times for the Magpies.

Dabizas returned to Tyneside earlier this month, for the unveiling of the bronze statue of Sir Bobby Robson, and Nikos will have Bobby Robson for his inspiration, as he pursues a career in coaching.

Newcastle are now flying high after being relegated a short three years ago, when all was doom and gloom on Tyneside, and who would have thought, at that time, that Newcastle could make such an amazing and successful comeback to the big time.

This is what Nikos had to say today:

“History repeats itself, and this is a good thing,” “The club is doing very, very well, and it’s testament to the people involved in this job. Sir Bobby would be very proud.”

“I think the secret was to hold the same team, the same spine, for two or three years,” “A lot of changes have been made. They’ve improved the team radically with the players that came.”

“This is a sign of good organisation in the team.” “Three years ago, things were not very optimistic. Things change in football. If you are patient, and make logical decisions, football will repay you in the long term.”

“If you want to be at the top, you have to score goals.” “Before that, you have to not concede a goal, otherwise you’re always trying to score goals because you concede an early goal.”

“It makes your life more difficult, and you leave more spaces and gaps at the back. It’s more difficult for the defenders. Newcastle is always a difficult place for the defenders because the team is an attacking team.”

“The fans want to attack and score goals, and you have to have the right balance between attack and defence. This is happening to Newcastle.”  “Whoever is passing this spot will see Sir Bobby Robson, and remember his achievements for Newcastle United.” 

“It was a great day for Newcastle United. Sir Bobby was an inspiration to the North East, the players and everyone related the club.”  “They were great days, and it’s good to see them back this year.”

“I’ve met a lot of people in football, but no one like Sir Bobby. He was very enthusiastic.”  “Whatever he said, even the simplest thing, he would make it sound a great, great piece of work.”

“He was totally different from other people I’ve met in my life. He had a special energy inside him, and he could always pass it on to you.”  “If your mood was down, he could lift you. The club had some fantastic performances, and it was thanks to that man.”

 “I’m taking my coaching badges and travelling across Europe.” “I was in Italy, and I’m going to Amsterdam Ajax to improve and take some knowledge from European football. After that, we’ll see how it goes.”

“Sir Bobby was a man that I’ll take a lot of things from. If you want to be successful and clever, you have to take things you have seen in football. I’ll be trying to copy him.”

Those are good words from Nikos, and he’s right that Bobby Robson is an inspiration to a lot of us – and you can certainly tell from Niko’s words,  how he holds Bobby Robson in the very highest esteem.

But under Bobby Newcastle were never very good in defense, but certainly a lot better than Kevin Keegan’ Entertainers of the 1990s. With Kevins’ team it was a case of  – let’s see how many you can score – and we’ll score more.

But last season Newcastle kept 15 clean sheets, to their credit, and only the two Manchester clubs had better records than that, and the fact that Alan Pardew wants to improve the defense this summer, suggests we could do even better than that next season.

Nikos was a very good player for Newcastle, and when he left Newcastle in 2004 he played a  season at Leicester City before joining Greek club Larissa in 2006, and he played five seasons for them before finally retiring only last year.

Dabizas always gave his best on Tyneside, and of course played in the Champions League for Newcastle in our heyday under the great Bobby Robson.

We wish him all the success in the world in his upcoming coaching career, and if he is anything like Bobby Robson – he’ll be a huge success.

Comments welcome.

271 comments so far

  • check the toastie

    May 29, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    Comment #1

    Always remember Nicos having a young Micheal Owen in his pocket. not.

  • LGFUAD21

    May 29, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    Comment #2

    While I agree defense needs some additions I am worried that we may be focussing too much on it.

    I mean the stats speak for themselves. 3 highest number of clean sheets. Know we had some terrible days.

    But Keegan was right to an extent, you cant win without goalscoring capability.

    Worried we may have an excellent defense but still struggle to break down teams.

    Definitely need to spend summer also working on how to bring the midfield into attacks more and better integration.

    We need psycho Keane from his prime. Always driving attacks when he wasnt killing people on the field.

  • benarfa23

    May 29, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    Comment #3

    Debuchy interview :
    Compared with Mathieu Valbuena in Germany, how did your understanding with Hatem Ben Arfa?
    “It went well with him. I know him a little, I know how it works. You can give him the ball in any situation, Hatem will manage. For me, it falls on his foot left is an asset because it gives me the opportunity to take the flank. I adapt well to all players and with Mathieu Valbuena in Germany it worked well. We talk about it before the match , it’s part of game plans

  • Beattie25

    May 29, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    Comment #4

    We need a full back, a centre back, a midfielder and a left winger.

    Any of these needs to be the type of player lfguad mentions because there is nobody in our team that can grab a game by the balls if we are getting beat! Alongside the ‘entertainers’ tag we were also known as the ‘comeback kings’. Nowadays if we go 1-0 down it’s all over.

    We need a shouty bad ass authoritarian!

    Get me on that pitch when we are 1-0 at Wigan and I’ll show you what I mean!

  • Beattie25

    May 29, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    Comment #5

    Did anyone know that Demba Ba didn’t play for Senegal the other day and by all accounts he wasn’t even on the bench?!

    What could this mean?

  • Beattie25

    May 29, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Comment #6

    Also would ambush else like to see a player or two form the Sir Bobby age be brought into the club in a coaching capacity.

    Players like Nikos, Nobby, Bernard etc… Have such a love for the club that it could match any Geordie passion and it would nice to see the club bringing in players that have tasted success and handled the pressure of our expectations.

  • Beattie25

    May 29, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    Comment #7

    Ambush? *anybody

  • mondziu

    May 29, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    Comment #8

    @ Beattie25

    I guess his transfer to the Cameroon national teamis imminent and they don’t want to risk Demba. Maybe he is taking his medical right now. Wonder if he passes it, as there are concernes over his knee and a swollen ego.

    (Copied that from someone’s comment on Eden Hazard. That joke made my day:)

  • Beattie25

    May 29, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    Comment #9

    Twice in 2 days this has happened!

    I start talking and everybody fcuks off

    I am interesting god damn you!

    Supatoonkid I need you!!!!!!!!

  • Beattie25

    May 29, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    Comment #10


    I like you. Not in a weird way but you made me laugh so you are now amongst my favourites.

    Keep up the good work!

  • davybtoon

    May 29, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    Comment #11

    I think we’re moving to slow to do our deals

  • LGFUAD21

    May 29, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    Comment #12


    We do. I think we need more goals from our midfield.

    Ba and Cisse need to develop a better relationship on the field in a 442.

    I just dont see Ba working in a 433. Thats why I think Hoillett should be a key target. Also think Marveaux out left could work well.

    Re: Ba Senegal. Not sure, could be down to his form lately. But also Ba and Cisse are never partnered for senegal so maybe his services were not deemed needed.


    May 29, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    Comment #13

    Debuchy said his future would be decided after the Euros probably more for Lille as his value will do nothing other than increase. Can’t see him with us next season

    Mbwia more likely as he isn’t going to the Euros though and Clyne is still a good player if we can get him. Curious that there has been little news about toilet though and Barnetta

  • LGFUAD21

    May 29, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    Comment #14


    considering its the euros etc. I dont think we are. Window isnt even open yet. Pards likely to be on a 2 week holiday atm.

    Like I said earlier no one has done business other than Arsenal with Podolski and Chelsea with Hazard.

  • mondziu

    May 29, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    Comment #15

    On a more serious note. A shouty bad ass authoritarian is surely the type of player we ridded of since AP came in, do we want to go there again?

    Our current crop of players seem more good-tempered and humble (for EPL standards) and they can express themselves better without the Barton’s and Nolan’s.

    I do accept we need someone able to pick the spirits up in difficult times though.

  • yorkshireToon

    May 29, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    Comment #16

    I genuinely don’t think mbiwa has ever been a target. If anything was evident last season it was that we need a tall, strong ball winning centre half not mbiwa…

    This was only backed up with Largs interview saying he wants someone I get 8 a season

  • yorkshireToon

    May 29, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Comment #17

    Autocorrect 😐 pards**

  • SupaToonKid

    May 29, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    Comment #18

    I’m Back BEATTIE here with the prophecy; Pardew take note and we will be on course for a top four finish if all goes to plan with my transfer suggestions.

    For sure we need two defenders; a right back like Debuchy who can actually cross and defend well without making too many mistakes and a powerful CB who can control the box at either end, is quick and has versatility e.g. either Cristian Zapata or Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa so really whoever is cheaper really out of them two.

    Up front is must because we will need more options to compete with Ba, Cisse and Shola as it looks likely Best, Lovenkrands & Ranger will be leaving at the end of the season. This CF needs to be strong and powerful, young and reasonably quick somebody like Luuk de Jong would be good but maybe somebody less expensive. A smaller, quick, skillful forward is also needed to compete with Ben Arfa, Marveaux, Obertan etc. but can also act as a CF e.g. Hoilett however he’s highly touted to join a Champion’s League side so maybe worth going back in for Wilfried Zaha or going for Matty Phillips.

    A position which i think we also must address is the third CM as i expect we’ll be playing a 4-3-3 for the majority of games next season. Tiote and Cabaye are guaranteed starters when they are fit or not away for other reasons (ACON for Tiote) and they both provide certain attributes to the side such as Tiote’s ability to break up the play and control the game by marshalling the back four so as to put in tackles and start off attacks also Cabaye is our playmaker who will use his diverse set of passes to send Ba or Cisse through or unleish Marveaux and Ben Arfa on the wings of course he also can tackle and get us goals but his primary objective is passing.

    It seems as if we have the passing and tackling sorted in CM but where are the 10+ goals coming from is it going to be Amalfitano, unlikely he seems like a Cabaye understudy, Jonas is now a CDM/LWB really but can still be used out wide if necessary, Gosling is in last chance saloon so i don’t know what he is capable of, Vuckic i think need another season out on loan or some cup games to get him up to the goal scoring midfielder he could be and Abeid i think is Tiote’s understudy.

    Out of all the goal scoring CAM there are i think the best option we have are: Keisuke Honda, Marvin Martin, Siem de Jong or Rasmus Elm. Keisuke Honda is probably the best out of the four with his goals and skills but Siem de Jong has the ability to play as CF as well as CAM, Rasmus Elm is specialist set piece taker and can get you lot of goals from free kicks and Martin is similar to a Nasri so will get you goals. Any of them would bring another dimension to the CM and give us some more goals from there. Out of them who would you go for? OPINIONS?

  • davybtoon

    May 29, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    Comment #19

    That’s my point it’s euros any player that we want goin there u can rule out if it’s not done b4 the tournament, we won’t b drawn in over inflated price for players so if debuchy Etc isn’t done in next 2 weeks forget Him

  • Beattie25

    May 29, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    Comment #20

    Hazard is good in an average team but will go the way of Kezman, Mutu, Robbem, Crespo, Veron, Schevcenko etc…

  • Ibizatoon - Back by popular demand

    May 29, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    Comment #21

    Supatoon…good assessment of what’s needed. I really don’t know where to begin when thinking about the reality of who / what we will actually get this summer. It’s a funny old summer. You have the Euros. A lot of the “big” teams are having re-shuffles due to perceived bad campaigns. Plus everyone’s seen what we did last summer and want in on the action. It’s going to be a lot harder to “get them over the line”, but I have faith in the club in the end we’ll get the right players. Might not be this summer though, don’t forget we were all after another striker last summer (Wasn’t it Bryan Luiz or something?!?) and we’re gutted with just Ba. How glad are we that we waiting until January and picked up Cisse?

    It’s not always as straight forward as we’d like to think. For me, the defense is our number one priority and if we don’t strengthen that area at least, I will be disappointed

  • Ibizatoon - Back by popular demand

    May 29, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    Comment #22

    On the Hazard transfer…Anyone else finding it hilarious reading the Chelsea, Man C and Man U fans bickering about teams who buy success and who is the best club and at which team he would get the most playing time. Classic stuff. You do have to wonder where their heads are at.

  • ToonAndy

    May 29, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    Comment #23






  • Dannyo

    May 29, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    Comment #24

    Graeme Bailey ?@SkyGraemeBailey
    Wolfsburg remain favourites to clinch the signing of Bas Dost, despite interest from newly promoted West Ham United.

  • Dannyo

    May 29, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    Comment #25

    Come on, discuss!

  • SupaToonKid

    May 29, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    Comment #26

    DREAM TEAM FOR NEXT SEASON (would be a cool birthday present):



  • rich_toonfan

    May 29, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    Comment #27

    The problem with transfers thi window is the euros.

    If a player is worth, for example, 5mil clubs will not accept that before the euros in case his value goes up. So we need to pay say 6/7 mil now to avoid paying 10 after the competition.

    Need I offer just enough to tempt them to sell now so they don’t gamble and hope they have a good tournament. But we don’t pay over the odds so can see us hoping our targets have a bad euros and getting them after.

  • Ibizatoon - Back by popular demand

    May 29, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    Comment #28

    Dannyo…Don’t really know much about him. Are we missing out big time?

    Rich…Didn’t Pardew say the other day that he hopes his targets don’t have good tournaments for that reason? Doesn’t sound too much like they’re going to be getting in too early. Shame

  • Dannyo

    May 29, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    Comment #29

    He’s a big lad, but has scored goals galore this season.
    A great replacement for Ba should he leave, and won’t cost too much.
    With him we’d replace Ba bit for bit. Scores all sorts of goals and would be a real threat with the header on set pieces.

    If he can make it in the PL, who knows, he’s got the physique tho, and he knows how to use it.

  • Ibizatoon - Back by popular demand

    May 29, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    Comment #30

    Dannyo…How old is he? Why is it only West Ham sniffing around? Sorry for the bombardment of questions….but at least you’ve got the discussion 🙂

    I suppose with Shola moving towards the end of his playing years, we will need another big CF to bully defenders around. Is he a straight forward CF or is he versatile and can play as as attacking winger in a 4-3-3?

  • Dannyo

    May 29, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    Comment #31

    Think of him as a younger, more energetic Dzeko. Got a proper player there. Think he’s 20/21.
    Still improving, was top scorer in Eredivise this year.

    Wolfsburg was said to have signed him up, but looks like they still havent. We’ve been linked couple of times. Back in January too.

  • check the toastie

    May 29, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    Comment #32

    Ibiza – dont be daft nobody could replace Shola, give yourself a slap. Should retire his number like Maldini when he calls it a day. Whatever number that is???

  • Ibizatoon - Back by popular demand

    May 29, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    Comment #33

    Check – Consider myself slapped 🙂 I didn’t mean he could replace Shola, but he could be the Shola replacement.

    Shola Ameobi…newcaslte’s Maldini!

  • Ibizatoon - Back by popular demand

    May 29, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    Comment #34

    Dannyo…Interesting. Could be well worth a look then. Any idea on price?

  • Dannyo

    May 29, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    Comment #35

    I think we’d be able to get him for around £5-6 mill mark.

  • arctoa

    May 29, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    Comment #36

    @ Beattie

    I think Bernard already works within the club at some level, and Nobby is taking his coaching badges locally.

  • Ibizatoon - Back by popular demand

    May 29, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    Comment #37

    Well Dannyo, I would conclude that it would seem well worth exploring. Keep up the good scouting work 🙂

    Bas Dost…you’ve been discussed!

  • Dannyo

    May 29, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    Comment #38

    Rob Stewart ?@RobStewart_
    Just told by very good source high up in footy circles that Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers has actually accepted Liverpool manager’s job #lfc

  • SupaToonKid

    May 29, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Comment #39

    Dannyo and Ibiza

    Bas Dost is 22 but yeah got to say out of all the strikers we’ve been linked with he seems like the best value for money. He has a proven track record at Heerenveen and seems to have the attributes required to fit in i’d say we could get him for £6M (that’s more than half FC Twente are charging for Luuk de Jong) so i think he could be the man to challenge Ba and Cisse for the centre forward role. Just bring in Hoilett and our top 3 will be complete with options of Cisse, Ba, Dost, Ben Afra, Hoilett, Marveaux, Obertan, Sammy, Shola and Ferguson.

  • Raj

    May 29, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    Comment #40

    On the formation issue, I too feel 4-3-3 is not going to work with almost 60+ games next season. We have to work out a good 4-4-2, find a good CF to partner Cisse, if Ba leaves (which I don’t think he should do), maybe De Jong or Hoilett. In case of Hoilett, the best thing is we can do a formation of 4-3-2-1 with him rather Ba, coz Ba needs a 4-4-2 to flourish (like Drogba!). All he missed in the second half of the season was the limelight. You hold him equal to Cisse in your formation, he’ll deliver. Again, if he stays..

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