Sir Bobby sacked as Magpies manager

Sir Bobby Robson has become the second premiership manager to lose his job this season after the Newcastle board decided to terminate his contract.

One weeks after Southampton axed of Paul Sturrock, Newcastle United revealed this morning that a "disappointing start" to the league season had prompted them to seek a replacement for Robson.

Sixteenth-placed Newcastle are yet to win and have gained just two points from a possible 12.

That Sir Bobby's tenure was nearing its close was already common knowledge after club chairman Freddie Shepherd told an interviewer earlier this month that the manager's contract would not be renewed at the end of the season. Sir Bobby was reportedly furious as he had not been consulted.

However, the timing of his dismissal has caused some surprise among fans – and newspaper sports desks, which had tended to give Robson until the end of next month to turn things around. As it happened, Saturday's 4-2 defeat to Aston Villa was to be his last game.

The club paid tribute to their departing manager, saying Sir Bobby had "worked tirelessly over the past five years to try and bring success to the club".

It added: "There is no hesitation by the club in recording its sincere appreciation for the way in which Sir Bobby has handled team affairs during that five-year spell which has seen a significant turnaround in the club's fortunes."

The club said it continued to have the "greatest respect and admiration" for the 71-year-old and his lifelong achievements both domestically, internationally and at the club he has supported since a boy.

"He leaves having remodelled the Newcastle team with many young players admired and coveted across the UK and Europe. The club will no doubt continue to benefit from the knowledge and experience he has given during his time here," the Board said.

According to the club website, Sir Bobby is "massively disappointed" at not to being able to finish the job.

"I have immensely enjoyed my time here as manager, and I wish the club all the best of success in the future," he said.

"At the present moment, I have absolutely nothing to say except to thank the Geordie fans for their tremendous enthusiasm, loyalty and support."

Parting ways with a manager at the end of August is becoming a Newcastle tradition – Ruud Gullit went in August 1999, and Kenny Dalglish went in August 1998, and now Sir Bobby.

In common with Gullit, Robson's last team sheet was coincidentally notable for the omission of Toon favourite Alan Shearer.

The Magpies captain now tops the list of potential replacements – a list which includes Birmingham's Steve Bruce.

Sir Bobby, who won the Uefa Cup with Ipswich and took England to the World Cup semi-final in 1990, has said that he wants to continue his career in football.


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