A new study of the 20+ years of the Premier League, sees Sir Bobby Robson included on a list of the most influential people in its history.
The summer break sees the media coming up with all kinds of lists to fill the void: best, most useless, most expensive…and so on, but this has a bit more substance.
Journalist Nick Harris of the excellent Sporting Intelligence website has put together this list for The Mail.
Great detail and thought has been gone into and it isn’t just a case of listing who has won most trophies or spent the most money.
Nick Harris explains his rationale for the (his) choices:
‘Because they directly influenced the formation, development and blossoming of the Premier League into the world’s richest and most-watched club competition and/or they played a fundamental role in shaping the destiny of the league’s major clubs, who in turn helped the league’s growth, and/or they were central to a hugely significant rule change or other development.’
Numbers 50-21 in Nick Harris’ list are listed below but let’s go straight to his appreciation of Newcastle United’s knight of the realm…’
24 Bobby Robson
If money has become important to football – and it has, evidenced by every fan who ever moans at a lack of jaw-dropping outlay – then the counterpoint remains the game’s simplicity, and its fundamental role at the heart of communities.
Sir Bobby is on this list not just because he was a towering figure in the global game, though you cannot buy PR like that.
Nor is he here just for his major contribution to England’s most successful one-club city, Newcastle, where he guided the Toon from from mid-table to successive PL finishes of fourth, third and fifth.
Sir Bobby is included because he understood the real power of football, and communicated it always.
‘What is a club in any case?’ he wrote.
‘Not the buildings or the directors or the people who are paid to represent it. It’s not the television contracts, get-out clauses, marketing departments or executive boxes. It’s the noise, the passion, the feeling of belonging, the pride in your city.
It’s a small boy clambering up stadium steps for the very first time, gripping his father’s hand, gawping at that hallowed stretch of turf beneath him and, without being able to do a thing about it, falling in love’.
The list so far:
50 Steven Gerrard, 49 Peter Ridsdale, 48 Didier Drogba, 47 Karren Brady, 46 Philip Don, 45 Sol Campbell, 44 Gary Lineker, 43 Carlos Tevez, 42 Rune Hauge, 41 Kevin Keegan.
40= Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, 38 Paul Hawkins, 37 Cristiano Ronaldo, 36 Frank Lampard, 35 George Graham, 34 The Glazer family, 33 Gary Neville, 32 Dennis Bergkamp, 31 Andy Melvin.
30 Jorge Mendes, 29 Gianfranco Zola, 28 Gordon Taylor, 27 Peter Schmeichel, 26 Juninho, 25 Peter Kenyon, 24 Bobby Robson, 23 Wayne Rooney, 22 Ken Bates, 21 Ryan Giggs.