31/07/2009

Football Legend Sir Bobby Robson Dies

Former England manager Sir Bobby Robson has died at the age of 76, following a battle with cancer.

A statement issued by his family, confirmed that Robson died peacefully at his home in Co Durham with his wife and family beside him.

The statement also confirmed that a private funeral would be held, while a thanksgiving service for his life would be held at a later date.

Many floral tributes have already been laid at Newcastle United's St James Park ground and the club confirmed that fans would be able to continue to leave tributes over the weekend.

The club's players and staff held a minute's silence at the training ground this morning after hearing the news.

Flags were being flown at half mast at Ipswich Town's Portman Road ground and will also be flown at half mast at the Football Association headquarters and Wembley Stadium.

A Book of Remembrance has also been opened at the Centre Spot at Portman Road, which will also be available over the weekend. Supporters have also been invited to lay floral tributes at Sir Bobby's statue at the ground and two minutes silence will also be held before tonight's game against Real Valladolid, which kicks off at 7.30pm.

Born in Sacriston, also Co Durham in 1933, Robson began his professional football career at Fulham before moving to West Brom. He also played 20 times for England.

Robson's club managerial career began at Fulham, before he moved to Ipswich Town, where he took the club to both FA and Uefa Cup glory, during his thirteen-year run as manager.

His career also took him to PSV Eindhoven, Sporting Lisbon, Porto and Barcelona and he was voted European Manger of the Year for 1996-97, before he managed Newcastle, between 1999 and 2004.

However, it is his position England manager, between 1982 and 1990, for which he may remain best remembered. Robson led the squad to the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup, where they lost on penalties to West Germany.

Robson had fought a long battle against cancer, since first being diagnosed in 1991. he went on to beat bowel cancer, a malignant melanoma, a tumour in his right lung and a brain tumour, before being diagnosed with cancer for the fifth time in 2007.

Robson married his wife Elsie in June 1955 and they have three children, Andrew, Paul and Mark.

Robson was knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in 2002.

Newcastle United issued a statement to see they were "deeply saddened" by news of Sir Bobby's death.

Derek Llambias, the club's Managing Director, said: "Sir Bobby was one of the game's true footballing legends, a unique, passionate man who gave so much to the game.

"He will be enormously missed by the whole football community worldwide and we extend our sincere condolences to his wife Elsie and family.

"We may never see his like again."

Simon Clegg, Club Chief Executive at Ipswich Town, said: "This is a very sad day for Ipswich Town Football Club and the world of football in general. Sir Bobby was held in the highest esteem by generations of supporters of this football club and will be greatly missed by all. On behalf of Ipswich Town, I would like to send our deepest sympathies to Sir Bobby's family."

Former Newcastle captain Alan Shearer also paid tribute to Sir Bobby. He said: "It's a very sad day for everyone, especially his family, his close friends and anyone who's ever worked with him.

"Bobby was a people's man. He could get on with anybody no matter what age they were and that says a lot about the kind of man he was and why he was so highly thought of.

"He was held in high regard across the world not only for what he did in football, but for what he did in life.

"He was a winner, a battler and a fighter and he fought until the very last."

(KMcA/BMcC)

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