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You are in: Suffolk > People > Profiles > Sir Bobby Robson: Tributes to a legend

On the England bench

Sir Bobby Robson: Tributes to a legend

Tributes to the former Ipswich Town and England manager Sir Bobby Robson, who died on Friday 31 July 2009, aged 76. Add your memories at the bottom of the page.

"He took over a very difficult job at Ipswich, where it was vital for him to be successful. We saw him fighting tooth and nail, showing all the courage he showed in his latter years, and we ended up being remarkably successful before he left us for England.

Mick Mills

Mick Mills, 1978

"He was very strong and forthright, but very brave as well. He made me captain at 22 years of age, really not ready, but he had the courage to make me captain and I stayed that way for 11 years.

"He was brave to do that and there must have been times when he thought 'Micky you're being a bit naive there', but he would stay with you and he did it with young players.

"If he saw someone with remarkable talent at 17 years of age he would put them in the first team and keep them in the first team, steering them through some difficult times even though he could easily have gone back to a more experienced player.

"We had an amazing amount of youth players come through at his time and not only did they become first team players at Ipswich they became international players. It was a remarkable 13 years for the club."

Mick Mills, Ipswich Town captain who lifted the FA Cup in 1978
"Just think of the nicest words and you can think of Bobby Robson. He was such a nice, kind man who helped so many people.

"He wouldn't be nasty to you but he'd tell you the truth. We had a very good run one year, in the 70s, but he dropped me when we went to Liverpool. I told him I was going to throw myself in the Mersey but they got a 3-3 draw so whatever he did was correct.

"We had some fantastic end of season tours with him - to Africa and America. He used to like these - if we had a good season he made sure we all had a nice holiday.

"He made so many friends and helped so many people, it's such a sad loss."

Clive Woods, FA Cup winner with Ipswich Town
"It's a sad day for football. The boss has always been a battler and he never let anybody down.

Kevin Beattie et al on the 1978 victory parade

Kevin Beattie after the 1978 FA Cup Final victory

"I met him back in 1969 when he'd just got the sack from Fulham. I was his first signing and as soon as I walked through the door he put his arm around my shoulder, as though he was a dad to me - he had such a presence.

"He looked after me, called me his diamond, and basically he was a dad to me. The stick I used to get off the lads - 'ah, boss' diamond, boss' blue eyed boy' - and all that but it was an honour.

"He was very firm, but very fair. For example there were two smokers in the club, myself and Allan Hunter. He didn't mind us smoking but he said if you ever let us down I'll stop you from smoking.

"Thankfully he never stopped us. He was a fair man who looked after the youth as well as the established stars.

"He was so down to earth. Just being with him made me feel at ease."

Kevin Beattie, former Ipswich Town and England defender
"He came in when the club was on a downward spiral and gave us a lift. He was a football man through and through and it was nice to be in his company to listen to him talk about different things.

"I played in the international team with him at Wembley when we beat Austria and drew with Northern Ireland, so my history with Bobby goes back a long way.

"He was a great man and a gentleman as well."

Ray Crawford, former Ipswich Town and England striker
"What he done in the game stands up to anybody, with the players he had and the size of the club at Ipswich, how he achieved winning the FA Cup final and getting us into Europe for three years running, all on a very tight budget.

"The one thing that has always stood out for me was how he was very astute in the transfer market.

"He signed me up on my 19th birthday in 1969, along with Clive Woods, and there were several of us from the youth system who went on to play in the first team.

"He then reaped the rewards by selling us on when I assume in his eyes we were past our sell by date but still able to get good money for us.

"He had that aura about him and an intelligence where he could talk to anybody and hit it off with them.

"He was a great football man, a great family man and very affectionate. He'll be sadly missed."

Trevor Whymark, former Ipswich Town striker and England international
"I had the great pleasure of interviewing the great man at the 1978 reunion in 2008. I say interview him but I couldn't get a word in edge ways. He was so enthusiastic and wanted to relay some of his stories of the time that quite frankly I wasn't needed!

Sir Bobby Robson in Ipswich, 2008

Sir Bobby Robson back in Ipswich, 2008

"The packed house was captivated. He was such an important figure in the history of Ipswich Town Football Club, and indeed football in general.

"We have got to name a stand at Portman Road in his memory. His name will live on forever in Ipswich."

Stephen Foster, BBC Suffolk
"It's a very sad day. I spoke to Bobby not so long ago. He's been a great friend since I started covering football for the Evening Star and East Anglian Daily Times back in 1975.

"Bobby was the chief executive, manager, coach, PR man all rolled into one. I remember standing with him once in the corridor at Portman Road and he was looking out of the window seeing who was parking in the car park, checking there was enough space for the visitors! He was an absolute dream of a manager.

"He told me before, 'I owe everything to this club because they picked me up when I was on the floor. I had three kids, a big mortgage, had been sacked by Fulham. I know I wasn't the first choice but Ipswich picked me up - I owe everything to Ipswich Town'."

Dave Allard, journalist
"I was deeply saddened to hear of Bobby Robson's death. He was a great football man.

Gary Lineker with Sir Bobby Robson at the 2007 BBC Sports Personality of the Year

Gary Lineker with Sir Bobby Robson, 2007

"He had a tremendous enthusiasm and passion for football and life and continued to retain this right to the last days of his life.

"He will be deeply missed by everyone, especially those who played for him. I have the fondest memories of playing for him at two World Cups.

"In recent years he undertook a great deal of work for his cancer charity and raised the profile considerably in addition to the monies raised."

Gary Linker, former England international
"As a lifelong Ipswich Town supporter I'm devastated at the news of Sir Bobby's death. I've been privileged over the years to have met the man I idolised as a child several times.

"His passion for the game of football and for life in general has been obvious to all who knew him.

"The way he battled his cancer is an example to us all. We should grab life by the horns and follow Sir Bobby's example by making the most of everyday.

"Thank you Bobby for the memories...gone but never forgotten."

Mark Murphy, BBC Suffolk
"Sir Bobby was one of the nicest, most caring and genuine people I ever met - a real Geordie gentleman.

Tony Blair with Sir Bobby Robson

Tony Blair with Sir Bobby Robson, 2005

"He was, of course, an outstanding coach, but he was also immensely generous with his time and energy across a range of charitable activities.

"It was a privilege to have known him."

Tony Blair, former Prime Minister
"I was so lucky because a few years ago Sir Bobby Robson joined us here on BBC Suffolk on the afternoon show that I then shared with David Webb. He spent about an hour talking to us about his life and his love of football and Ipswich.

"He was totally approachable and hugely modest about his achievements. He told us that the time with Ipswich Town when he won the FA Cup and then the UEFA Cup were  the best in his life.

"It was obviously an emotional memory because he had a tear in his eye. He also talked about how he had a Suffolk cancer specialist to thank for saving his life when he spotted a cancer on his face.

"I shall never forget that hour sitting next to him – so many people respected him and yet he had huge humility. I've met many of my heroes in my past and often been disappointed but I had even more respect for Sir Bobby Robson after I met him – he was a truly great man."

Lesley Dolphin, BBC Suffolk
"I had the privilege of meeting Bobby on many occasions. He epitomised everything that is great about football in this country.

"His passion, patriotism, dedication and professionalism knew no equal during his time both as a player and a manager.

"His remarkable achievements as manager of Ipswich Town and then of England are among the most distinguished in English football history, and he was able to replicate that extraordinary success during his time at PSV Eindhoven, Porto and Barcelona.

"Over the past few years, he fought cancer with his characteristic tenacity and good humour.

"He will be sorely missed - not only in Newcastle and Ipswich, both of whom he served with such devotion, but by all sports fans in our country.

"My sincere condolences go to his wife Elsie and his family."

Gordon Brown, Prime Minister
"Bobby could have won the World Cup in 1990 with what I thought was an average side.

"I had some dealings with him when filming documentaries and he was a bit like Bill Shankly. When you spoke with Bill or with Bobby you had a conversation for an hour and a half and you didn't have to say anything.

"His passion was phenomenal."

Alan Hansen, BBC pundit and former Scotland international

last updated: 04/08/2009 at 15:35
created: 31/07/2009

Have Your Say

Add your memories and tributes below:

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

i cannot think of a greater man from the world of football, what a true gent. the world has lost a special son.liverpool fan dan.
daniel henwood

Bobby was a GREAT Friend, and was always the First to volunteer himself and Coaching Staff to play in the Charity Events being organised. Bobby's enthusiasm and Personality immediately raised the level of attendance. On one occasion, on the Ipswich Speedway Stadium Pitch, we were opposed to among others Ron Atkinson and Lenny Henry. Football was out of this world with Goals galore 8-4, and lots of real entertainment too. Thank you Sir Bobby. R.I.P.
Len Fletcher- ex Player and Charity Fund Raiser

Sir Bobby Robson, a true legend. I was lucky enough to have met him. We sat for over an hour talking about football. What an hounor it was to sit we a man who not only knew his stuff but was so passionate about it right to the end. Football will miss him but will never forget him and his passion.

As a lifelong Ipswich supporter i used to stay behind after each home game to get autographs of the players. I remember at the age of 14 Sir Robbie coming along and saying " Im having a T.V. interview soon do you kids want to be on southern t.v. tonight. As he was interviewed we all stood behind him in front of the cameras. He made so many young supporters happy and i never forgot the momment. You may be gone but our memmories will always live on
Peter Clark - Isle of Man

In 1977 a London teenager fell in love with a wonderful football team that played excellent football. That day their manager became her hero.Last Friday that hero died.Godspeed Sir Bobby and thank you for all the wonderful memories you have given me and the legacy you have left behind.
Rita Mackenzie


Sir Bobby, you may be gone but you will never be forgotten. Your passion and knowledge of the game was endless. Ipswich Legend, National Treasure, World Icon.
Lorenzo C

Saint Bobby Robson! The Patron Saint of Football. The sadness in our hearts will subside. Your memory will live on forever!!!
David Bridges

During our 30 year stay in Harpenden, Herts, I worked for a Director of Luton Town.I went to a variety of games, but the match that stands out for me was,when Luton played Ipswich. Natural, I was thrilled to watch the game. My young son came along also. After the match we were taken to the Directors lounge.My son & I being the only 2 in the room wearing Ipswich town scarfs.When Bobby Robson came up ( as all opposing Managers do ) he spotted Glen & I & came over to speak. When he left he alled us & told us to get on the players coach & meet them all. that memory will last for ever.A great man & we will never forgot all he has done through his life.Rest in peace Sir Bobby & thankyou.
Val Sturges ( Rushmere st Andrew)

What can I say. You gave us the best period in the clubs history. How glad I am to remember this Era.BOBBY you made us so proud to be Ipswich fans. You were our diamond, our hero and our friend. Our memories of you will live forever.
Neil Schneider

As a young, impressionable journalism student, I interviewed Sir Bobby Robson for my college magazine back in the year of the famous FA Cup win. The semi-final draw had just been made that very day. He welcomed me into his Portman Road office as if I was an established top sports writer. I spent an hour with him and he was utterly charming. He then asked if I had finished because he had a dentist appointment in town. When I said nervously I had one or two more questions left, he simply invited me to join him - so we went in his car to the dentists where the interview continued. He was a warm, generous and giving man, irrespective of his genius as a football manager. He treated everyone with the same respect irrespective of their title or background.
Peter Corder

Rest in peace Sir Bobby. You were an insperation to Ipswich Town Football Club and loved by all.
Cox family

r.i.p sir BOBBY ROBSON i will misssssssssssssssssssssssss youuuuuuuuu soooooooooo muchhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh good bye miss by all
jeson godbold

i miss miss so much i still remember seeing him at a town match dad saw him wen he was the head of the team r.i.p sir bobby robson
michael godbold

I met the great man and I am very sad at his departure. The media should be making more of his links to Ips than New C. This was where he got great achievements. We gave him his statue when he could appreciate it.
Glen Jones

i miss him so much and fell sorry for ipswich town i was a fan of ipswich town fc bye bobby robson miss you
vanessa godbold

Bobby was a gentleman. I was standing at a bus stop in Shotley one saturday in early 1982, when a car pulled up and offered me a lift into town. It was Bobby Robson himself and he chatted to me, and wanted to know how I was? and what I did? and where I was going? I was going to the football match actually. It was Ipswich v Notts County. Town lost 2-1. God bless him.

The teams you managed always played such wonderful football with good, honest players who were prepared to give their all for you. Thank you for bringing the beautiful game to Ipswich. I shall always remember 1978. You will always be a legend and best remembered as a genuine, kind, caring true gentleman. God bless you.
Trevor Hearn

The world of football has lost one of it's greats, and I was priviledge to know you..They now have a super star in their team above..God bless you Sir Bobby..Anne
Anne Marks

You put Ipswich Town on the football map, thanks Bobby. RIP
Linda Arnold

Sir Bobby Robson the true Gentleman of football the best manager that Ipswich Town FC ever had a true man of men. He has left us all with such great memories and we will miss him dearly not just for his talents in football but everything he did in his life that touched our hearts and the way he helped so many people and all the good work he did with the hospital at Heath Rd. RIP Bobby your my hero and allways will be.
Carl at C.A.S Auto Recovery

He gave us some fantastic memories of football played as poetry in motion during the Dutch period - thrilling not just the Town fans but far beyond. My personal treasured memory is of the first time I met him at Portman Road - he treated me - an ordinary fan - like an old Geordie friend and he led me on to the floor to dance to Three Times a Lady at the Player of the Year Dance at Corn Exchange making me feel so special - I had gone to Ipswich for the first time in 1978 and was invited by the man to look around the club I loved and to the dance celebrations. I was not prepared and had to go along in my orange corduroy dungarees but Mr Robson made me feel I was wearing a designer dress - it did not matter - he was just so special and warm and kind. I am pleased I made the effort to go to Newcastle last Sunday for the charity match and see him for the last time. Thank you Sir Bobby
Jean Richards

how can you write what the great Sir Bobby Robson gave to the world in just a few words? i think it's fair to say that there's much we can all learn from the way he lived his life - a true inspiration in football, in fighting cancer and in all that's great about our country. The world is a sadder place today but i'm sure the legacy he left will carry on and bring many more brighter tomorrows... Our thoughts are with his family and all those who knew him personally in particular. rest in peace.
mrs c trett

Sir Bobby will always have a place in the hearts of all Ipswich Town fans after all of the magnificent achievements he undertook whilst in charge of the club, in my opinion the best years in the history of the club – he truly put the Town of Ipswich on the Map as far as Football was concerned, not just throughout England, but also Europe as a whole.I can say I've had the pleasure of meeting Sir Bobby in the past, and you couldn't wish to meet someone nicer in not just football, but life as a whole. His passion for both football and life always shined through. He always gave it his all, in every respect of life. Even when the odds were stacked against him, he continued to fight them and raise money for his charity and making the most of the time he had left with never a word of discontent.Sir Bobby was a truly magnificent and brave man who had time for everyone, always happy to give a friendly word, and a smile to everyone who came across him. He was a one in a million person, a true gent, respected by everyone in the football community throughout the world - the likes of which we are unlikely to ever see again – rest in peace Sir Bobby – we’ll never forget you and will miss you deeply.Justin Johnson - Editor, - Ipswich Town FC Website
Justin Johnson ( Editor)

A great and truly wonderful man. He will never be equalled. I am proud to have supported Ipswich Town for his entire reign as manager. We will remember you always Sir Bobby
Geoff Fenn

One of the greatest managers of all time, deserving to be ranked up there with Shankly, Paisley, Clough, Ferguson.... He will be sadly missed by the whole football world.
Gordon Secker

The greatest manager ever. A part of him will remain at Ipswich forever. Rest in Peace Sir Bobby a remarkable man. xx
Joanne Rowe

as a lifelong fan of Ipswich now living in liverpool the whole of football will be mourning the passing of one of the greatest person to have had in english football i was lucky enough to have been at the FA cup final and in Amsterdam he will always have a special place in the heart of every ipswich fan and the joy he gave us.WE WILL NEVER FORGET YOU
Barbara Atherton

Sir Bobby Robson and Sir Bobby Moore two gentlemen giants of football.We fans salute you,from a West Ham Fan.
Anthony R Cory

Bobby will be missed so mucha great man We will never see another manager as respected.
jenny wright

On behalf of all at Suffolk FA and the football fraternity within the County I would like to express our sadness at the passing of Sir Bobby Robson. As a county we were privileged that he brought his contagious enthusiasm, knowledge and ability into Suffolk when working for Ipswich Town and his success ensured that Ipswich and Suffolk became well known worldwide and synonymous with a brilliant football team. He has been so courageous during the last few difficult years and months and we extend our sympathies to his family and friends whilst we all mourn the loss of a lovely man" Martin HeadCEO Suffolk FA
Martin Head

Bobby Robson the original angel of the north. A truly great man. Gone, but never forgotten.

Bobby was a real gentleman both on & off the pitch. He has been an inspiration to the world of football, an amazing man who has achieved so much & pleased so many. God bless you Bobby Robson, may your spirit live forever, you will be sadly missed by all.
Dave Winters

Sir Bobby will always be admired and respected by everyone who followed football. I will miss such a true gentleman and legend of the game. I hope his family can take some solace from all the tributes given to such a great man. Rest In Peace Sir Bobby.
Ed Gill

R.I.P Sir Bobby. A true Ipswich legend.A true footballing legend.Never to be forgotten.

R.I.P Sir Bobby Robson a legend with Ipswich and worldwide. xxx
James Kester

We were honoured and priviledged to have had Sir Bobby as our Ipswich manager. A humble and proud man who will be sadly
Audrey, Susan & Bill

Thank you, made me proud to support my home team rather than the big names that kids go for now. Had some wonderful trips abroad during the European seasons. Current teams may do not compare to yours, but we still have the memories.

R.I.P Sir bobby u are a great man
Sarah Cawdron

We had just arrived in Ipswich when Town won the FA Cup, it was great. Since then we have come to love Sir Bobby Robson and the various occasions here since, when he has been present. God bless him and his family with our deepest respect. He is now free of his pain. RIP Sir Bobby.
Mrs Angela Harris

Thanks Bobby for Ipswich town football club,the F/A cup 1978 and for being a true pall to myself and my family. R.I.P.
Anthony Rush " Antiques "

You made us believe we could do it.....and we did.Thank you, Sir Bobby(I was there, 1978)
Graham Jennings

RIP Sir Boddy a legend who will be sadly missed by all xx
The Kemps

Sir Bobby Robson1933-2009A True GentlemanA True Blue LegendForever in our hearts and songs'All together now - There's only one Bobby Robson, one Bobby Robson, walking along, singing our song, walking in an Ipswich wonderland'Always Missed, Always Remembered.
Tristan Pithers

what can you say about sir bob. i was fortunate to meet bobby out side planet blue. he said to me and my son hello boys hope it is a good game .it was. i had a lot of time for bobby he is a true hero/legend at 30 yrs of honour at the corn hill the atmosphere was totaly electric when the team appeared the crowd when mad .when bobby appeared we all erupted in charnt "there's only one bobby robson" what a memory to live with. may tractor boys & magpies play (in sept on bbc)as a fitting tribute to sir bob
pete nicholls

R.I.P. Sir Bobby. A truly great man. xx
Deanna Knights Wrentham

i miss him sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo muchhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh i remember seeing him at a town match i asked dad what his name was he said his name is bobby robson
katie godbold

A true legend. We'll miss you Sir Bobby

R.I.P Sir Bobby Robson. He was a gr8 manager of England and Ipswich. Its a same i wasn't alive 2 c it. I remember seeing him at a town game where he was sitting 2 seats in front of me. He was a legend and always will be. He will be greatly missed. xxx
Steph Godbold

My hero. I slipped over on the wet grass in Christchurch Park, he brought me his chair to sit on. Bless him. Will be sadly missed. xxx

As a Norwich fan I am so sorry to hear about Bobby Robson. He was the best East Anglian boss we've ever had. My heart goes out to his family and every footie fan

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