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Monday, 17 February, 2003, 11:26 GMT
Football salutes Sir Bobby
Sir Bobby Robson with his manager of the month award
Robson will celebrate his birthday in Leverkusen
Newcastle United boss Sir Bobby Robson celebrates his 70th birthday on Tuesday.

Widely regarded as one of football's greatest figureheads, Robson has dedicated 54 years to the game.

His career has taken him from scoring goals for Fulham, Uefa Cup glory as Ipswich manager to the bitter-sweet role of guiding England through two World Cup tournaments.

Sir Bobby Robson
I'll never get over losing on penalties in the 1990 World Cup

Bobby Robson

Robson played up front for Fulham and West Brom and earned 20 caps for England.

He has seen plenty of changes in the game, but admits his era cannot be compared to today's football standards.

"A good game today is way ahead of one 20 or 30 years ago," he said.

"The pace, power, fitness levels, technique - you never saw shots and headers that you do now."

When his playing days were over Robson found that management was his forte.

After a spell in charge of Fulham, Robson took up the reigns at Ipswich and it was there that his management career took off.

He brought silverware to the unfashionable Suffolk club - the 1978 FA Cup and 1981 Uefa Cup - and twice came close to the leading them to the title.

Manager Robson
1967: Vancouver Royals
1968-69: Fulham
1969-82: Ipswich
1982-90: England
1990-93: PSV Eindhoven
1993-94: Sporting Lisbon
1994-97: Porto
1997: Barcelona
1998: PSV Eindhoven
1999-present: Newcastle

In 1982 Robson jumped at the chance to take charge of England and spent eight rollercoaster years leading his country.

It was at the 1986 World Cup finals that his career was touched by Argentina's Diego Maradona, whose controversial "hand of God" goal helped to knock England out of the quarter-finals.

"I'm still unhappy about it because he robbed us so I'll never forgive him," said Robson.

"But he is arguably the best player the world has ever produced.

"He was phenomenal, mis-shaped, but what a footballer, absolutely fabulous."

There was more trauma for Robson four years later as he watched his side miss out on a place in the final after losing to West Germany on penalties.

Robson (right) is consoled by West Germany coach Franz Beckenbauer
Robson can't get over losing to West Germany in 1990

"It still hurts," he admits. "I'll never forget it and I don't think I'll ever get over it.

"We would probably have won the final against Argentina, we were so, so near."

Robson stepped down from the England post and sought new challenges abroad with PSV Eindhoven (twice), Sporting Lisbon, Porto and Barcelona.

Robson returned to the North East in 1999 to take up the reins at the club he supported as a boy - Newcastle.

He is the only manager we have ever had who has been a success in major leagues on the continent

Jimmy Armfield

He took over a club second bottom of the Premiership and has turned them into championship contenders.

He insists it will be his last job, although he has always been tempted by the chance to lead England for a second time.

Sir Bobby Robson is still going strong at the grand old age of 70

Sir Bobby's big day

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