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Opinion

The Northern rock- tribute to a legend 10 years on

1 week ago
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Whose name transcends all languages, still wins the league despite no longer managing, has worked at the top level in 4 countries and is black and white to the core?

No, this isn’t the start of some joke, the beginning of a Mackem chant, or even a plug for the bank (as the title might suggest.)

The truth is, one of the biggest and best managers of all time is still inspiring and impacting tactics more than ten years after his death. This is a short tribute to the late, great, Sir Bobby Robson.

Ten years!

In that time a lot has happened, we’ve re-voted the conservatives into power, had the Liberal Democrats in power (sort of), left Europe (sort of), seen Sunderland plummet to League 1 and even had Leicester win the Premier League – which was the strangest? I will leave that up to you.

Whilst the world has kept on turning and unexpected change has happened, the actions of Sir Bobby Robson have continued to impact and shape modern tactics and even influenced which team has won the title.

Growing up in the 90s I (like Gazza) had a thought, that having Bobby in charge of the Toon was natural (I assure you that’s where the similarities stop!), Bobby was always noted as being a gentleman and had his own unique style.

Recently, coming home on an Air Emirates flight, I browsed the football section and amongst all of the Arsenal propaganda was the Bobby Robson autobiography. This should tell you all that you need to know.

Not only did he manage in multiple countries, he also inspired some of the modern great managers. Coaches such as Capello, Hoddle and even Sir Alex Ferguson noted their admiration for the great man and remember having a glass of wine whilst talking tactics. More importantly for modern EPL titles, a young language translator with a love for football (and a big smile) would learn his trade and progress into management after starting with our hero.

‘The Special One’ as he would later be known, yes!, Jose Mourinho (now a lot less smiley) started his career working alongside Bobby. Mr Guardiola also worked alongside Mr Robson for over a year before his career took a similar trajectory. Both managers arguably have shaped modern football and have won most awards the game has to offer. Both managers attribute a lot of their success to the grounding and man-management skills taken from Robson. His name may not be shouted in schools or in the papers but his tactics are still winning titles.

A decade after losing a man who inspired fundraising of more than £13.5 million for Cancer Research and took charge of around 1,500 matches ranging from 1968 to 2004, I believe that Newcastle fans are calling out for his genius and inspiration to return to St James Park. I will leave you with a quote from Robson, something that I hope both the fans and those in power at the club can hold onto during these difficult times.

“What is a club in any case? 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 the 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.”

No written article, artwork or even Gazza anecdote can pay true homage to this great man. He is a true legend in every sense of the word (and by the way, I say this as a neutral in terms of club football, as I’m not actually a Newcastle fan).

‘There’s only one Bobby Robson!

Luke is a regular contributor to the Armchair Fan blog here and you can follow that blog on Twitter @NUFCarmchairfan

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