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Monday, August 30, 1999 Published at 09:00 GMT 10:00 UK

Sport: Football: News

Robson: Dream to manage Newcastle

Robson turned Newcastle down once but the 66-year-old now wants the job desperately

Former England manager Bobby Robson, fans favourite to take the vacant Newcastle post, has admitted it would be his 'dream job'.

Former England captain Terry Butcher: "There's no better man for the job"
Robson, born in County Durham and a Newcastle United fan, is such a clear favourite to succeed Ruud Gullit - who resigned on Saturday after the side's dismal start to the season - that bookies are no longer taking bets.

"I would love that job more than anything else in the world. It is impossible to put into words what it would mean to become manager at Newcastle," he told the Mail on Sunday.

The 66-year-old was being touted as a possible replacement even before Gullit announced his decision to leave St James' Park.

A spokesman for United refused to comment on Robson's candidacy, saying:

[ image: Beardsley: Fans want him as Robson's number two]
Beardsley: Fans want him as Robson's number two
"We are leaving Steve Clarke to prepare the team for the game at Manchester United, and in the 10-day break that follows, the board will decide which way to go."

Gullit brought deputy Clarke with him from Chelsea and some fans are hoping Robson will replace him with Peter Beardsley as his second-in-command.

Stephen Lawton, 24, from Burtley, Tyne and Wear, said: "I would love to see Bobby Robson with Peter Beardsley as his No. 2 maybe to take over in a few years, that would be the dream ticket as far as I am concerned."

There is little doubt that the man who led his country to the brink of the 1990 World Cup Final is a popular candidate on the streets and his name is the only one so far to be seriously linked with the post.

Second chance

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

Robson, who currently works for the Football Association's technical department in an advisory capacity, said: "I have had no contact with Newcastle since the day I told them I could not break my contract with Barcelona when they tried to persuade me to manage the club after Kevin Keegan had left.

"I was compelled to do that because I had a two-year contract in Spain at the time and was only in the first year. I had to honour that contract.

"They were not too impressed with me for talking to another club. Nobody leaves Barcelona and I had waited 18 years to get there.

Bad timing

"The Newcastle job was the right job for me at the wrong time.

"They had four directors sitting in my house trying to persuade me to go home to Newcastle. It was an unbearable decision to tell them I couldn't go."

Robson, who left Barcelona to join Dutch side PSV Eindhoven where his contract expired at the end of last season, had distanced himself from rumours linking him with the club while Gullit was still in post.

But he broke that silence as soon as the Dutchman announced he was quitting.

Boyhood dream

Robson has followed the Magpies since he was a boy.

"There was never another club for me when I was growing up.

"My father was a Newcastle supporter all his life. I grew up watching men like Jackie Milburn and Len Shackleton. They were my heroes."

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