Sunday, 2 August 2009

Robsonballs: Memories of a legend

I was shocked and saddened when I picked up my newspaper last Monday morning to see a picture of the great Sir Bobby Robson being pushed around his beloved St James's Park in a wheelchair. It was no secret that he was struggling to beat cancer for a remarkable fifth time in his life, but I had no idea how poorly he had become. Tragically, he died just five days later.

I never had the privilege of meeting him but I know quite a few people who did and, unsurprisingly, they only said good things about the man.

Like everyone else, I admired him not only for his abilities as a football manager but also for his class - in sharp contrast to many of his modern day counterparts.

He was also an incredibly funny man, although not always deliberately so.

In tribute to the passing of a true legend (and shamelessly nicked from a site on t'Web), below I have reproduced a few of the most famous stories about him and some of his most amusing lines. I hope you laugh as much as I did when I was searching for them.

The Stories

Shola’s nicked name:

Reporter to Newcastle's Shola Ameobi: 'Do you have a nickname?'
Ameobi: 'No, not really'
Reporter: 'So what does Bobby Robson call you?'
Ameobi: 'Carl Cort.'

Sir Forgettable:

Alan Brazil: "I'm delighted to say we've got Sir Bobby Robson on the
end of the phone, fresh from getting his knighthood at Buckingham Palace. Bobby, terrific news."
Sir Bobby Robson: "What is?"
Brazil: "You know, getting the old sword on the shoulder from Prince
Sir Bob: Eh? [Long pause] "Oh yeah... well, it was a day I'll never

Who’s name is it anyway?:

Sir Bobby to Bryan Robson: “Good morning, Bobby.”
Bryan: “You’re Bobby, I’m Bryan!”

The Quotes

“Andy O'Brien has a horrendous nose, the poor lad. It is massive, it is black and blue and it is awful.”

“Titus [Bramble] looks like Tyson when he strips off in the dressing-room, except he doesn't bite. And he has a great tackle."

"We didn't underestimate them. They were a lot better than we thought." - After England sneaked through against Cameroon in the 1990 World Cup.

"Hitler didn't tell us when he was going to send over those doodlebugs, did he?" - On why he was refusing to name his England team before a World Cup qualifer against Sweden in 1989.

"We're taking 22 players to Italy, sorry, to Spain... where are we, Jim?" - On whether Paul Gascoigne should have gone to the 1998 World Cup in France.

"There will be a game where somebody scores more than Brazil and that might be the game that they lose."

"Steve Hodge has been unfit for two weeks, well, no, for 14 days."

"Ray Wilkins' day will come one night."

"Tottenham have impressed me: they haven't thrown in the towel even though they have been under the gun."

"Look at those olive trees. They're two hundred years old – from before the time of Christ!" - Sir Bobby illustrates how great life is in Barcelona.

"If we invite any player up to the Quayside to see the girls and then up to our magnificent stadium, we will be able to persuade any player to sign." – Playing up Newcastle’s Playboy image.

"They can't be monks - we don't want them to be monks, we want them to be football players because a monk doesn't play football at this level." - Justifying Newcastle's Playboy image.

"They're two points behind us, so we're neck and neck."

"I'd say he's the best in Europe, if you put me on the fence."

"I played cricket for my local village. It was 40 overs per side, and the team that had the most runs won. It was that sort of football."

"If we start counting our chickens before they hatch, they won't lay any eggs in the basket."

"I would have given my right arm to be a pianist."

"What can I say about Peter Shilton? Peter Shilton is Peter Shilton, and he has been Peter Shilton since the year dot."

"I'm not going to look beyond the semi-final - but I would love to lead Newcastle out at the final."

“Home advantage gives you an advantage.”

Sir Bobby Robson, a true gentleman and a wonderful human being. He'll be sorely missed.

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