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Robson in his own words

Bobby Robson holds the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1997, watched by his assistant Jose Mourinho (left)
Robson won the European Cup Winners' Cup with Barcelona in 1997

Sir Bobby Robson, who has died at the age of 76, experienced highs and lows as manager of Ipswich, England, Newcastle and other clubs in Europe.

BBC Sport looks at what he had to say about his lengthy career and how he was regarded by others in the game.


Tom told me that if I got tired I should play the ball out to him on the wing and he would keep hold of it until I got my breath back. He did it too.
On England and Preston legend Tom Finney's advice to him on Robson's debut for his country

He is up there with Greaves, Law, Best, Rush, Francis, who all possessed electric pace which gave them that extra yard. He would not have got half the goals without it.
On former England striker Gary Lineker (Against the Odds autobiography, with Bob Harris, 1990)

He has a low flashpoint but that is what makes him a special player.
On former England and Ipswich captain Terry Butcher

Bobby Robson in 1980
Robson was manager of Ipswich Town for 13 years

I can pay Kevin Beattie no greater compliment than to say he could have been as good as Duncan Edwards, the young Manchester United player killed in the Munich air disaster. I had the privilege to play with Duncan; my first game for England against France was his last before the terrible events of February 1958. I also had the misfortune to play against him. Too often all you could do was admire him as he steamed past like an express train.
On Duncan Edwards of Manchester United and Ipswich's Kevin Beattie (An Englishman Abroad, 1998)

Yes, that Paul Gascoigne, the same Geordie I was to give his head in international football and who proved to be the best young player in the 1990 World Cup in Italy. But then this little 14-year-old was the original Milky Bar Kid. He was a real Billy Bunter, as broad as he was tall and so roly-poly that this natural talent rippled through rolls of fat. There was no way you could gamble on a player of his stature on our budget so we sent him back north again. It goes to show that youngsters should never give in.
On turning down the chance to sign a young Paul Gascoigne at Ipswich (An Englishman Abroad)

Brazil star Ronaldo was signed for Barcelona by Robson

I have worked with some outstanding players during my life, players from every corner of the globe, but he was in a different class and when you consider he was 20 when he came to Barcelona it made him very special indeed. As good as Pele and I cannot go any higher than that.
On Brazilian striker Ronaldo during their time at Barcelona (An Englishman Abroad)

In the first half he took a corner, a poor corner, which hit the first defender, and it took him 17 minutes to get back to the halfway line.
On Newcastle winger Laurent Robert in 2004

A few weeks after I lost my job, I heard that Patrick Kluivert had been upset about losing an earring in training. Under me, Patrick would not have lost it because he would not have been allowed on the pitch wearing an earring in the first place.
After being sacked as Newcastle boss (Farewell but not Goodbye autobiography, with Paul Hayward, 2005)


Whenever I needed him or his support he was there, even though it often meant putting himself in the firing line.
On Jose Mourinho, the former Chelsea boss, but who was then Robson's assistant at Sporting Lisbon (An Englishman Abroad, 1998)

Jose Mourinho
Former Chelsea boss Mourinho was Robson's Sporting Lisbon translator

When we won, John Cobbold had a bottle of champagne and when we lost he had two bottles of champagne. That was his civilised way of looking at defeat.
On the former Ipswich chairman's reactions to results (Sir Bobby Robson, Living the game by Bob Harris, 2003).

I am massively disappointed not to be able to finish the job I came here to do.
After being sacked as Newcastle boss in August 2004

Brian Clough had a knack of picking out apparently ordinary players and improving them out of all recognition - John McGovern, Garry Birtles and Peter Withe are examples. Players who left Forest to join other clubs were often never the same again.
On Nottingham Forest managerial legend Brian Clough (Farewell but not Goodbye)


Maradona can win a game on his own in five minutes.
Before the 1986 World Cup quarter-final in which the Argentine led his side to victory over England

With Maradona, even Arsenal would have won the World Cup.


I think I have the best job in the country.
In 1985 when manager of England

If it had frightened me I would have kept my quality of life at Ipswich. I would have kept driving my Jag six miles to work every day and got drunk with the chairman every Saturday night.
Following demands for his resignation after England's failure in the 1988 European Championship

At least Joe Public has been very good to me. You know, he is a damned nice fellow.
Talking on the back of pressure from the media in 1988

I cannot play 57 players in an England team but I would have to do that to accommodate everyone I am told to pick.
November 1988


His man-management was always good and his judgement of a player was as good as anybody's. You can see that with a lot of his buys and the people he has brought in over the years.
Former England striker Gary Lineker (Sir Bobby Robson, Living the Game)

Sir Alex Ferguson
Ferguson's Aberdeen beat Robson's Ipswich in the Uefa Cup in the 80s

I go back with Bobby to 1981 when Ipswich won the Uefa Cup. I was at Aberdeen at the time and we played Ipswich in the first round of the competition the next year and we beat them. Even though they lost he came into the dressing room straight after the game - not an easy thing to do - and told us we could win the cup and not to let him down. Unfortunately, we did, because we lost to Hamburg in the quarter-final.
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson (Living the Game)

You feel like you are going to go through a brick wall for him. You want to do things beyond the normal for Bobby Robson.
Ex-England and Ipswich captain Terry Butcher (Living the Game)

To play for Barcelona at 20 is not easy. Winning and scoring goals bring their own pressures and Bobby Robson showed me how to deal with all of this in my career.
Brazil's former Barcelona striker Ronaldo (Living the Game)

The club rules were that each player had to wear a collar and tie when we travelled to a match. Mr Robson realised I had a problem and that is why he and coach Cyril Lea each gave me a shirt and a couple of ties for good measure.
Kevin Beattie on how Robson helped him out when he was a penniless youngster on his arrival at Ipswich (The Beat, published in 1998).

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see also
Legend Sir Bobby Robson, 76, dies
31 Jul 09 |  Football
Robson was gentleman of game
31 Jul 09 |  Football
Football honours Sir Bobby Robson
01 Aug 09 |  Football
Sir Bobby Robson's life in photos
31 Jul 09 |  Football
Your tributes to Sir Bobby Robson
31 Jul 09 |  Football
The disease that stalked Sir Bobby
31 Jul 09 |  Health
Archive - Sports Personality honours Sir Bobby
03 Nov 08 |  Sports Personality
PM 'saddened' by Robson's death
31 Jul 09 |  UK Politics
Football match honours Sir Bobby
26 Jul 09 |  England
Sir Bobby becomes Freeman of city
09 Dec 08 |  Wear
Sir Bobby charity raises 500,000
21 May 08 |  England
Sir Bobby given freedom of town
06 May 08 |  Suffolk
Ipswich's '78 FA Cup-winning team
01 May 08 |  Ipswich
Sir Bobby launches cancer charity
25 Mar 08 |  England
Robson takes on new Republic role
08 Mar 08 |  Football
Sir Bobby in cancer cash pledge
16 Feb 08 |  England
Robson humbled by lifetime award
10 Dec 07 |  Sports Personality
Ipswich president role for Robson
07 Jul 06 |  Ipswich
Sir Bobby's managerial babes
09 Aug 05 |  Premier League
Sir Bobby receives city freedom
02 Mar 05 |  Tyne
Newcastle force Robson out
30 Aug 04 |  Newcastle
Sir Bobby Robson receives knighthood
21 Nov 02 |  England

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