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Friday, 14 June, 2002, 23:06 GMT 00:06 UK
Good Knight Bobby
Bobby Robson waves to the Ipswich fans before Town's game with Newcastle
Robson has enjoyed great success across Europe

While most 69-year-olds contemplate whether the lawn needs cutting on a wet June afternoon, Bobby Robson is planning another European journey for Newcastle United.

The veteran has spent 53 years in the game - but is still intent on forging future successes rather than reminiscing on past triumphs.

And how he is doing it. Already he has rejuvenated his home-town club from inconsistent also-rans into potential future Premiership champions in less than three years.

So it is hardly surprising one of the game's most endearing personalities has finally earned the honour he so richly deserves.

Regarded as English football's elder statesman, Robson has left his indelible mark wherever he has been.

He enjoyed his first major silverware as a manager with Ipswich Town, where he brought the FA Cup and the Uefa Cup to the so-called unfashionable Suffolk club.

Bobby Robson parades the Cup Winners' Cup with Barcelona
Robson was successful in Spain with Barcelona
His successful spell at Portman Road then earned him an opportunity which only falls to an exclusive few in 1982 - the England job.

Although his first World Cup in Spain was particularly unmemorable, the next two tournaments were anything but.

Diego Maradona's infamous "Hand of God" goal denied his side a place in the semi-finals in Mexico in 1986.

And four years later, in Italy, he did manage to reach the last four - only this time to be denied by the Germans in an unforgettable penalty shootout.

Football addiction

Post England came Dutch club PSV Eindhoven, where he nurtured the talent of a brilliant young Brazilian called Ronaldo.

Two Dutch championships later, Robson moved to Portugal with Sporting Lisbon and Porto before Barcelona came calling in.

He guided the Catalan giants to a European Cup Winners Cup, thus making him a respected and revered figure at the Nou Camp, something which only few achieve.

Just when it seemed a retired life in the sun was round the corner, his sheer love of football and his need for the drug of the sport he calls "the greatest in the world" became too much to resist.

Especially considering a return to his home town club.

Bobby Robson and Sven-Goran Eriksson exchange tips
Bobby dishes out some World Cup advice to Sven
Robson took over at St James's Park in September 1999, succeeding Ruud Gullit and inheriting a side lying second bottom of the Premiership.

Quite simply, he has turned the Magpies' fortunes around in less than three years.

This proud son of Newcastle will take huge personal pleasure in taking his back into the English elite after an unfulfilling recent period in their history.

He impact was so impressive, he was even approached about a part-time return to the England manager's job after Kevin Keegan quit.

But most of all, Newcastle's revival is testimony to the enduring quality of one of the finest managers of his - and several other - generations.

Find out more about the Birthday Honours 2002

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