Bobby Robson was one of the few English managers who succeeded both at home and abroad. First club as a manager was Fulham after a successful career as a player, he made his debut as a manager against my old club Macclesfield Town. Bobby moved to Ipswich in 1969 where he had a great relationship with the Cobbold family, gained them promotion to the first division, and in the next decade Ipswich finished no lower than sixth place. They won the UEFA Cup in 1981 beating AZ Alkmaar in the final. Robson worked with what he’d got, he brought in only fourteen players in the thirteen years he was at Ipswich. Was the most successful manager with England since Alf Ramsey and we all remember the Maradona goal in the 1986 Mexico World Cup.
The next chapter in Bobby’s managerial career was moving to the Netherlands and PSV Eindhoven, succeeding the current Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink. Players in Holland are notoriously difficult, Romario his star player being the most difficult of the difficult. Robson won the league in the 1990/1991 season and also in the following year. Moved to Sporting Clube de Portugal (Sporting Lisbon) with Jose Mourinho as his interpreter. Next to FC Porto, this time with Mourinho as his assistant manager. FC Porto beating his old club Sporting Lisbon in the cup final and they won league titles in 1994-1995 and also in 1995-1996. Barcelona spoke to Bobby about Luis Figo and was so impressed with Bobby’s analysis, they offered him the manager’s job, which he took with Jose Mourinho again as his assistant. Signed Ronaldo for $19.5 million.
In Barcelona he won the Spanish Cup, the Super Cup and the European Cup Winners Cup.
Moved back to PSV in Holland and eventually to Newcastle United in 1999, guiding Newcastle from bottom spot in the league to a fourth place finish. With Bobby at the helm Newcastle reached the semi-final of the UEFA Cup losing to Marseille. Well loved by both supporters and players he was granted the freedom of Newcastle upon Tyne on 2 March 2005 and the freedom of the city of Durham in March 2009.
Sir Bobby Robson CBE died on 31st July 2009 from lung cancer at the age of seventy-six.