French International Laurent Robert was a big success on Tyneside, and he scored some great goals.
He was at the club from 2001 through 2006 and most of his time on Tyneside was spent with Sir Bobby Robson as the manager.
Laurent has questioned why Robson was suddenly fired in August 2004.
Newcastle had finished 5th, and the team had made only a so-so start to the next season why Sir Bobby was surprisingly fired by then Chairman Freddy Shepherd.
Newcastle had gone four games that season (2004-2005) and had only 2 points when Sir Bibby was fired after losing 4-2 at Aston Villa.
It seems Robson was sacked because we missed out on the Champions League.
It’s something that Shepherd has since admitted was a huge mistake, and he was right about that.
Laurent Robert – excellent winger for Newcastle
Ever since Bobby left the club on Monday, August 30, 2004, we have been mediocre at best except for one season when we equaled 5th place back in 2012 under Alan Pardew.
Since 2007 under Mike Ashley we have competed in Europe only once.
That was in the 2012-2013 season in the Europa League, and Newcastle were fighting relegation in the second half of the season.
This is what Laurent Robert has said in the Chronicle about his time at Newcastle and especially about Sir Bibby Robson as the manager:
“I was at Newcastle United for four years and when I signed they had one of the top managers in Europe in Sir Bobby Robson.”
“And they told me they wanted to be playing in the Champions League.”
“So it was the best club for me at the time to sign for.”
“To play for Newcastle in the Champions League was fantastic as you can imagine.”
“In my first season we finished fourth, then we followed that up with third the next year.”
“In both of those seasons we challenged strongly for the Premier League title itself and we were genuine contenders for most of each year.”
“When you play football the way we did under Sir Bobby Robson and you establish yourself as one of the big four it is brilliant for a player.”
“We not only had a very good manager but great players as well, world-class players like Alan Shearer, Nobby Solano, Shay Given, and Gary Speed.”
“This was a very good group.”
“We not only worked well on the pitch but had a great relationship off it which counts for a lot.”
“I still can’t understand why he was allowed to leave.” “We finished fifth!”
“That would be a great season now for Newcastle.”
“Bobby had the team playing very well and we finished fourth, third, and then fifth so to see him leave was very strange.”
“When he left it was a different club.”
“The style of football changed too, and we tried to do different things with different players.”
“It was the reason why I left Newcastle.” “Once Bobby Robson had gone I wanted to go to.”
Laurent played for Newcastle 172 times with 30 goals and 7 assists, and he is only one of several great French wingers we have had at the club.
He was signed for £9.5M in the summer of 2001 and finally joined Benfica – managed at the time by Ronald Koeman.
Things are definitely on the up again at Newcastle under Rafa Benitez.
The club hopes to emulate what Sir Bobby Robson achieved in his short five years as manager.