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Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 18:14 GMT
Robson seeks birthday cheer
Robson will celebrate his birthday in Cologne
Robson has lost none of his enthusiasm for the game
Newcastle boss Sir Bobby Robson celebrates his 70th birthday on Tuesday by sending his side out for their Champions League game with Bayer Leverkusen.

The former Ipswich, PSV Eindhoven, FC Porto and Barcelona manager is one of football's most respected figures having dedicated 54 years to the game.

He is also the national team's second most successful manager having guided England to two World Cups where the eventual champions beat his team on both occasions.

Robson joined Newcastle United in 1999 and has moulded the club into Premiership title challengers.

But despite his age, Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd believes that Robson still has a long time left in the game.

"All I will say to Bobby on Tuesday morning is happy birthday and after that the fact that it is his birthday and he will be 70 will not be mentioned," said Shepherd.

"All Bobby will be thinking about in our hotel in Cologne on Tuesday morning is just how we can beat Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League that night.

Sir Bobby Robson is the elder statesman in world football today

Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd

"Age just does not come into it.

"He does not think or talk about it. And neither do I or the rest of the board.

"But this does not mean we do not recognise what a fantastic achievement it is for someone not only to be involved in football at the age of 70 but being successfully involved.

"Sir Bobby Robson is the elder statesman in world football today and we are delighted to have him here with us at St James' Park."

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

Sir Bobby's big day

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