Tyne & Wear

Sir Bobby Robson statue unveiled at Newcastle United's ground

Sir Bobby Robson statue
Image caption The statue depicts Sir Bobby at the height of his fame

A statue of Sir Bobby Robson has been unveiled at Newcastle's ground before the last home game of the season.

The 9.5ft (3m) bronze figure, by local sculptor Tom Maley, stands outside the south-west corner of the stadium.

Sir Bobby managed Newcastle United for five years between 1999 and 2004. He died of cancer aged 76 in July 2009.

The ceremony was attended by some of those who played under him, his widow Lady Elsie Robson and their sons, Andrew, Paul and Mark.

Current manager Alan Pardew, members of his backroom team and representatives from the foundation Sir Bobby set up in 2008 also attended.

The unveiling ceremony took place at 10:30 BST, ahead of the game against Manchester City.

'Black-and-white life'

Lady Robson said that her husband's great love affair with football had begun on that very spot.

Speaking before thousands of fans, she said: "My husband often spoke of living a black-and-white life.

"It took him from the darkness of Langley Park Colliery to the bright glare of the floodlights.

"It feels fitting that we should be standing on the hill that Bob used to walk up with his father and brothers on a Saturday afternoon to watch Albert Stubbins and his other boyhood heroes."

She added: "It was also Newcastle where Bobby built his final team, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, the charity he established to help people fighting with cancer, and that has now raised more than £4m.

"Even from the depths of darkness, brightness can emerge."

Newcastle United's managing director, Derek Llambias, described Sir Bobby as a "Geordie icon", who helped change the history of the club.

He said: "Throughout the world of football, he was respected for his achievements as a player and as a manager and is held in the highest regard by everybody associated with the game.

Sir Bobby, who twice steered Newcastle United into the Champions League, led the club to the Uefa Cup semi-final in 2004. He received the freedom of the city of Newcastle Upon Tyne in March 2005.

He also managed Ipswich Town for more than 13 years between 1969 and 1982, winning the FA Cup in 1978 and the Uefa Cup in 1981, and guided England to the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup.

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