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Friday, September 3, 1999 Published at 13:42 GMT 14:42 UK

Sport: Football

Robson takes Newcastle hotseat

Bobby Robson hopes that the supporters won't show him the handkerchief

Bobby Robson has been confirmed as the new manager of Newcastle United, promising to turn around the fortunes of the club he supported as a boy

Watch highlights from Bobby Robson's press conference
The 66-year-old said he was not under-estimating the size of the challenge facing him at St James' Park but said he was not afraid of it.

"I have got a massive job ahead of me. It's a great challenge and I am up for it. There is no need for panic here."

Chairman Freddie Shepherd introduced Robson to a packed news conference saying his first priority was to improve results - Newcastle have not won a game since April.

Bobby Robson: "I expect Newcastle will make an announcement soon"
But he said Robson, who has only signed a contract until the end of the season, will also undertake a thorough review of all aspects of the playing side.

Robson replaces Dutchman Ruud Gullit, who quit the Magpies last Saturday after one of the worst starts to the season in the club's history. Newcastle have only one point from six games in the Premiership.

Robson said he had no immediate plans to bring in his own deputy to replace Steve Clarke, the second-in-command appointed by Gullit.

[ image: Fallen hero: Ruud Gullit walked out on Newcastle last weekend]
Fallen hero: Ruud Gullit walked out on Newcastle last weekend
Robson said he had dreamed about managing Newcastle since he watched the team as a boy in the 1950s but thought his chance had gone when he turned the job down while manager of Barcelona.

"I thought Barcelona was a big club but I think this has just pipped that."

He was courted for the top job at St James' Park during his time in charge of the Spanish giants.

But he refused to break his contract and the job passed to Kenny Dalglish.

Robson arrived at Newcastle to a hero's reception from the Geordie faithful.

"It's a lovely sunny day - a great day to be manager of Newcastle United," said Robson as he entered St James' Park where as a boy he stood on the terraces.

Robson has not managed an English club side since leaving Ipswich in 1982 to take over as England manager.

The oldest manager in the Premiership, Robson instead found success at clubs in Portugal, Holland and Spain.

Skipper Alan Shearer, whose breakdown in relations with Gullit was one of the factors in the Dutchman's decision to quit, welcomed his new boss.

"I have never had the privilege of playing for Bobby Robson, but it is obvious from his track record that he is an outstanding achiever with vast experience of football at every level.

"He also has local roots and will understand and share the passion of our magnificent fans. I am looking forward to playing for him."

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