Page last updated at 11:12 GMT, Friday, 31 July 2009 12:12 UK

PM 'saddened' by Robson's death

Sir Bobby Robson
Sir Bobby made his mark as both a player and a manager

Gordon Brown has paid tribute to the former England football manager Sir Bobby Robson, who has died aged 76, saying he will be "sorely missed".

Mr Brown, a keen football fan, said he was "extremely saddened" to hear the news and praised Sir Bobby's "remarkable achievements" in the game.

Former PM and Newcastle supporter Tony Blair described him as a "real Geordie gentleman".

Tory leader David Cameron said he had been "an inspiration to all".

'Passion and humour'

Sir Bobby, who guided England to the semi-final of the World Cup in 1990, fought cancer for many years.

Mr Brown said he had coped with the illness with "characteristic tenacity" and "good humour".

"I had the privilege of meeting Bobby on many occasions. He epitomised everything that is great about football in this country.

"His passion, patriotism, dedication and professionalism knew no equal during his time both as a player and a manager.

Sir Bobby was one of the nicest, most caring and genuine people I ever met.
Tony Blair

"His remarkable achievements as manager of Ipswich Town and then of England are among the most distinguished in English football history.

"He will be sorely missed - not only in Newcastle and Ipswich - both of whom he served with such devotion but all sports fans in our country."

Mr Blair said it had been a "privilege" to know Sir Bobby.

"Sir Bobby was one of the nicest, most caring and genuine people I ever met.

"He was, of course, an outstanding coach, but he was also immensely generous with his time and energy across a range of charitable activities."

Conservative leader David Cameron said Sir Bobby's battle against cancer "was an inspiration to all".

"He will be remembered for his bravery, his sense of humour and his achievements as one of our greatest ever football managers."

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