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Life President
May 29, 2005
Newcastle United have no manager, an owner that doesn't want them, a vastly inflated wage bill and a squad on the verge of mutiny, yet that was all put into perspective this morning with the news that Sir Bobby Robson passed away. He was 76.

A true icon of the game, his playing success was dwarfed by the managerial prowess that caused so much of England to take him into their hearts. After an indifferent start at his former club Fulham, Robson took Ipswich into the First Division and finished lower than 6th in just one of his nine years there... And even then he brought the FA Cup home to Suffolk.

This earned him the reign of the national team, where he was arguably the most successful manager since Sir Alf Ramsey, taking England to within a penalty shoot-out of the World Cup final. He couldn't overcome the old foe West Germany, but it remains the highest placed finish our national side has made since 1966.

His reputation continued to grow and, following the 1990 World Cup, he bucked the trend and carved out a glorious managerial career in the continent, collecting trophies wherever he went. He won two successive league titles with Dutch giants PSV, three league titles and a Portuguese Cup final with Porto and the Spanish Cup, Spanish Super Cup and European Cup Winners Cup with Barcelona before finally returning to his native Newcastle to a Heroes Welcome.

Despite never winning silverware with the club he supported as a boy, Newcastle flourished under Robson as he guided them from bottom-of-the-league also-rans to a fourth placed finish followed by finishing third the year after, earning Newcastle their first forray into the Champions League. They couldn't maintain the momentum to push into the Knock Out rounds, finished fifth the next year and Robson was cruelly cast aside. Since then, it's all gone down hill for the Tyneside club and the majority look back at his removal as the clubs greatest mistake of recent years.

His managerial record speaks for itself, but if you want further proof, just talk to the people he's worked with. Jose Mourinho, who acted as Robson's translator and assistant during his spell in Portugal and Spain, lists Robson as an inspiration, while the Brazilian Ronaldo, who won the World Player of the Year under his guidance, stated that Robson was "without doubt, one of the greatest trainers in the world."

The title Legend is banded around too frequently these days, but none are more deserving of this title than Sir Bobby Robson. His long-fought battle with cancer was debilitating, but he treated it with the same grit and perseverance that he did with his management. If anything can inspire those at Newcastle for the upcoming season, they should look no further than Sir Bobby Robson.
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