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Breakfast with Frost Sunday, 23 June, 2002, 13:30 GMT 14:30 UK
Interview with Sir Bobby Robson and David Davies
Sir Bobby Robson, former England manager
Sir Bobby Robson, former England manager
David Davies, executive director of the FA
David Davies, executive director of the FA

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

DAVID FROST: Today's newspapers pick over the England World Cup saga of course in agonising detail. There's this charming picture of David Seaman with his daughter on several front pages, flash up the picture, no - alright we saw it earlier on anyway. And just where England succeeded and failed is dissected everywhere, the former England Manager Bobby Robson knows the joy of doing well but failing to get through to the final only too well from his years as the custodian, the very successful custodian of England's hopes. I'll be talking to him after this reminder of the highs and lows of that clash with Brazil.


DAVID FROST: Well a lot's happened since Bobby, Bobby Robson was here just a few weeks ago after our victory over Argentina and one of the most important things to start with is congratulations on the Knighthood.

BOBBY ROBSON: Thank you very much Sir David.

DAVID FROST: Are you going to be, you're going to be Sir Bobby not Sir Robert aren't you?

BOBBY ROBSON: Do I have a choice?


BOBBY ROBSON: Then I will be Sir Bobby.

DAVID FROST: I, I think that sounds right, absolutely right. Well we want to get your reflections on what we've seen there, first of all David Davies, Executive Director of course of the FA came back on the plane, obviously a somewhat subdued plane, what...

DAVID DAVIES: A bit subdued but also a feeling that the job, had been, everyone had done their very best and we are optimistic about the future.

DAVID FROST: And what, what do the team in general think had gone wrong in that last half hour against Brazil?

DAVID DAVIES: I don't think, having made the point that I did, I don't think the team would claim that the, that the last half hour was the best half hour of the tournament for us and that perhaps yes, the team did under-perform by the standards that they had set, particularly in the Argentina match in that period. Having said all that now's not the time to go over, you know, this could have happened and that could have happened. I think the general feeling we have, we set out, we said publicly right from the start of this the ambition of everybody at the Football Association and Sven and the players and the coaching staff is that England will win a major tournament by the Europe 2006, that is the major objective, be it the European Championship or the World Cup. I feel that we can sit here today and we can say that there has, we've taken a step very much in the right direction.

DAVID FROST: Bobby how do you analyse that last half hour in particular when, as you said in a piece, we didn't manage a shot at it in that last half hour, when we have 11 men and they had 10 and it looked a bit the other way round.

BOBBY ROBSON: One of the most vital things in football is possession of the ball, not only possession of the ball but retention of the ball and that was the one thing, unfortunately which we failed in, we just didn't retain possession of the ball and when you have 11 players which is one man more than the 10 against Brazil, that was a crucial factor, we didn't use the ball well, we lacked a little bit of wit, to be honest, we lacked a little bit of imagination as well, we certainly lost some accuracy and as a result of that we did not make any inroads into a depleted Brazilian team. And, and we're all terribly disappointed and dejected because we know it was almost there, we were on a great stepping stone situation, it was there to be won and while we are optimistic about the future I feel we could have done better, we wish we had because there was a bit prize to be won - Turkey in the semi-final, a team that we could, I think, have beaten. But we're not there.

DAVID FROST: And Sven has been very diplomatic about it and very wise in his comments saying a lot, in a gentle way, saying a lot - we weren't good enough in the last half hour and I was delighted he was saying in the paper some time, well known David Seaman fan that David Seaman will remain his number one as long as he's number one in the Arsenal team, which is again a very positive thing to say.

BOBBY ROBSON: Well of course he's been a fantastic goalkeeper for many years, I mean I took him to Italy in 1990 and that was 12 years ago, he actually fractured a finger in pre-match training and we had to send him home. So he's been around a long time, he has been, without doubt, our most consistent goalkeeper and you know the story of football, you can make a mistake in midfield, you can make ten mistakes up front and nobody sees that. Make one little error in that little 8 yard by 8 foot situation and it's a catastrophe, he suffers from that...

DAVID FROST: Everybody sees it...

DAVID DAVIES: You should have heard the fans this morning, in the early hours of this morning outside Heathrow Airport, Seaman, Seaman, Seaman and they know, they know that without David Seaman frankly we wouldn't have got as far as we did and might not even have qualified.

DAVID FROST: Absolutely and the number of people including the Press Association had a rather thoughtful piece yesterday, said that what we really need, leaving aside small improvements or whatever it is, we really need one playmaker in the middle of the field who can dominate a game in the way that Gascoigne could at his best?

BOBBY ROBSON: That's right, I mean when you look at Beckham's performance against Greece at Old Trafford where he was the mastermind of the play, he was a general, he was a tremendous leader, now unfortunately and I hope David takes this the right way, it wasn't the real David Beckham, it couldn't be, that boy did very well to actually be fit...

DAVID FROST: Very well.

BOBBY ROBSON: To play in the tournament, he broke his foot eight weeks ago, for goodness sake you know, and he was short of fitness in the first match but he improved so we missed his real quality. Owen I think was in the same boat, not quite fit in the last match. Now two World Cup players, we lost Gerard before the tournament, a really top-notch outstanding world-class player, you need your world-class players to perform, so yes we do need that type of player, we need this leadership quality.

DAVID FROST: Thank you both very much indeed for looking back and looking forward in such a splendidly informed way. Thank you Sir Bobby, thank you very much David.

DAVID DAVIES: Congratulations to Sir Bobby as well from everyone, his many friends at the FA.

DAVID FROST: Oh such a popular award, such a popular award.


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