Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Sir Bobby of Sacriston (NZ238477)

(from Wikipedia)

Perhaps Sacriston’s greatest claim to fame is its status in the realm of professional football – namely, as the birthplace of Sir Bobby Robson, one of the most famous figures in the history of the sport. His links with the town, though, are somewhat tenuous. He will certainly have had no memories of his first home, as he and his family moved to nearby Langley Park within months of his birth.

Born on 18th February 1933, Robert William Robson was the fourth of five sons of Philip and Lilian. Chasing work as a miner, Philip soon took his family to their new home a few miles to the south-west – and there Bobby grew up and attended the local primary school. Fired by watching Newcastle United with his father, he took to the game himself at an early age, playing for Langley Park Juniors – before moving on quickly to the professional ranks with Fulham, for whom he made his debut in 1950.

He spent six years at the London club, before moving to West Brom (1956-62) – and then returned to Fulham for a second spell during 1962-67. He played primarily as an inside-forward, and though he never won a major honour at club level, he did earn 20 caps for England. In his personal life, he married Elsie in 1955 and they had three sons together.

Robson moved into management in 1968, where he stayed in continuous employment for 36 years. First Fulham and (notably) Ipswich Town, then a spell as England manager during 1982-1990, before many years abroad with PSV Eindhoven (twice), Sporting Lisbon, Porto, Barcelona and then, of course, back home with Newcastle United, completed a glittering career. He won many, many major club honours across Europe (though, ironically – and typically – none with Newcastle!), and famously took England to the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup. He was deservedly knighted in 2002.

He died on 31st July 2009 amidst great outpouring of grief and mourning by folk across the North-East. His name lives on in the activities of the high-profile Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, which funds cancer projects across the region.

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