Remembering Sir Bobby: A birthday tribute to a footballing legend

Sir Bobby Robson is one of the greatest football managers to ever grace the game. Thursday would have been his 83rd birthday.

Remembering Sir Bobby: A birthday tribute to a footballing legend
Sir Bobby Robson is regarded as one of Newcastle's greatest managers (Photo Source: Telegraph)

Today would have marked the 83rd birthday of one of the greatest footballing figures this country has ever seen.

Sir Bobby Robson became one of the most successful managers of the 20th century and his legacy is still being continued today with the brilliant work of his cancer charity.

The numerous achievements

After a playing career that spanned almost 20 years, Robson took it upon himself to take up management and it turned out to be quite a wise decision. 

Sir Bobby began his managerial career with Fulham back in 1968, probably due to the fact he had played for the club for six years at the very start of his love affair with football.

However, the team that first started to make him into the managerial legend he became was Ipswich Town. The Englishman took the job in 1969 and despite a mediocre start, Robson turned Ipswich into a European force. His tenure at the Tractor Boys lasted a whopping 13 years.

What followed next was a fantastic spell in charge of the England national team. The pinnacle of any manager's career. Robson won 47 of his 95 games in charge and guided the country to a fourth-placed finish at the 1990 World Cup

For the next nine years, Robson tried his hand at continental management with spells at Sporting Lisbon, FC Porto and Barcelona in between two tenures at PSV Eindhoven. He won two Dutch titles, two Portuguese titles and a Spanish Copa Del Rey, as well as a European Cup Winners' Cup in that time.

The homecoming

In 1999, he returned to England and more importantly, the North East. Growing up in County Durham, Robson's father would take him to Newcastle United matches so he could watch his hero Jackie Milburn.

After nearly half a century of being in football, Sir Bobby was finally working for his favourite club and the fans could not believe it.

Robson's first game was an 8-0 thrashing of Sheffield Wednesday and it was a sign of things to come. His fantastic tactics coupled with his ability to man manage even the most petulant of players, meant Robson was a hit from the outset on Tyneside.

His interviews were always eventful and he always had a story or two to tell. He exuberated class and confidence and it was no surprise he was a huge hit on Tyneside.

In the seasons that followed, Newcastle finished in-and-around the top-four and were playing European football once again. Alan Shearer formed partnerships with Craig Bellamy and even Lomana Lua Lua. Gary Speed was the general in the midfield and nurtured the likes of Jermaine Jenas and Kieron Dyer during their younger years. Shay Given was the leader between the sticks with players like Aaron Hughes and Nikos Dabizas guarding the back-line. 

Robson was the last manager to guide a Newcastle United side to the Champions League. After three defeats in their first three group stage games, Robson and his team produced a stunning turn around by winning the following three and progressing to the next round. For the older generation of Newcastle fans, the 2002-2003 Champions League season may be the final time they see their side in that competition. 

Newcastle had a team to be proud of and it was all down to Robson. After his departure in 2004, the club went downhill under a succession of poor managers. Still to this day, Sir Bobby is regarded as one of the greatest managers to ever roam the touchline at St. James' Park.

His mentoring

Sir Bobby coached some of the greatest players in the world and there are few that would deny that he had a huge impact on their career.

Brazilian legend Ronaldo is one of many who still continue to contribute to charity events in Robson's name, despite only being coached by him for eight months whilst at Barcelona. 

As well as a vast amount of players crediting Robson for starting or aiding their professional careers, there are a few managers that will be just as thankful. 

When at Sporting Lisbon, Robson had a trusted translator who went by the name of Jose Mourinho. Mourinho worked as Robson's right hand man in Portugal and Spain and was entrusted with both translating the boss' tactics as well as coaching the players. 

Mourinho, now arguably the best manager in world football, claims he owes a huge amount to Robson for making him the success he is today.

Charity work 

Robson's tragic death in 2009 after a long battle with cancer did not spell the end of his legacy.

The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation is a hugely successful cancer charity which helps patients in the North East. The patrons include some of Robson's ex players, including Shearer. The charity hit the £7 million donation mark in 2014.