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banner Saturday, 21 October, 2000, 19:09 GMT 20:09 UK
English football's elder statesman
Bobby Robson
At 67 Robson is the elder statesman of English football
Bobby Robson's hopes of a fairytale return to the England manager's job have been scuppered - by his beloved Newcastle United.

Robson is enjoying an Indian summer to his career at St James' Park, having revived the ailing Toon Army after a year in the job.

The Football Association were confident of tempting Robson back to the international scene, after he quit the job following the 1990 World Cup semi-final defeat by Germany.

But Newcastle turned down the FA's approach - so the 67-year-old will be staying in the United hot-seat.

Bryan and Bobby Robson
Robson appointed his namesake Bryan as his inspirational England captain
Robson was hoping to end a glilttering management career, which includes stints with European giants Barcelona and PSV Eindhoven, by bringing glory to his native North-East - and then England.

The Durham-born Robson has described the Newcastle post as his "dream job".

Such is his devotion to the club that he proclaimed he has "black and white blood".

Many will wonder exactly why he wanted to accept the posioned chalice of the England job, a post that is renowned for the intensity of public expectation and media scrutiny.

Robson led Barcelona to Cup Winners' Cup glory against his former club PSV in 1997
Robson led Barcelona to Cup Winners' Cup glory against his former club PSV in 1997
As a former holder of the post - and one of the more successful of recent years - he should have more idea than most of the peculiar pressures of the job.

But Robson is accustomed to pressure and success.

When he took the mantle of England manager in 1982 after leaving Ipswich Town, he had a reputation of a letting his teams play with skill and flair.

In a 13-year spell at the East-Anglian club, he enjoyed considerable success - taking the provincial side to an FA Cup victory in 1978 and then European glory in the Uefa Cup in 1981.

So impressive was his tenure at Portman Road that the call from the FA soon came.

  Bobby Robson career highlights
1969: Becomes Ipswich manager and leads club to FA Cup and Uefa Cup
1982: Takes over as England manager
Quits England after World Cup semi-final
1991: Wins first of two Dutch titles with PSV Eindhoven
1994: Joins Porto and wins two Portuguese titles
1996: Moves to Barcelona and wins Spanish Cup and Cup Winners' Cup
1999: Returns to England at Newcastle
He took over the England job from Ron Greenwood after the 1982 World Cup in Spain - and the following eight years saw a rollercoaster ride of differing fortunes for Robson and the national team.

The 1986 World Cup was symbolised by Maradona's 'hand of God' incident.

The Argentinian denied Robson's side the chance of reaching the semi-finals in Mexico.

But a place in the last eight was still considered a success - particularly after Robson had raised national spirits by creating one of the finest strking partnerships in England history, as Peter Beardsley joined Gary Lineker up front and the goals began to flood in.

Tabloid abuse

But just two years later it was a different story altogether.

Robson said the lifestyle in Spain was one of the chief draws of the Barca job
Robson said the lifestyle in Spain was one of the chief draws of the Barca job
After a humiliating 1988 European Championships in Germany, which culminated in a 3-0 demolition by the Soviet Union, the press were hungry for the manager's head.

A friendly draw with the relative minnows of Saudi Arabia sparked particularly hostile headlines: "In the name of Allah, go" screamed one.

That episode left a bitter taste and when no offer of a contract extension was forthcoming from the FA, he decided to quit the international scene after the 1990 World Cup.

But Italia '90 proved a spectacular swangsong for the out-going England boss as the team produced their best display for 20 years and reached the semi-finals.


England, inspired by his fellow North-Eastener Paul Gascoigne - the man he famously branded "daft as a brush" - produced a brand of continental-influenced, attacking football that few of their fans had seen before.

In a memorable match against Germany, the outcome was decided on penalties.

But misses from Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle denied England and Robson their first appearance in a World Cup final since 1966.

He turned his attentions to managing on the continent, leading Porto, Barcelona and PSV Eindhoven to success both in their domestic championships and in Europe.

The script, according to Robson, should have read:

  • Guides Newcastle to Premiership title;
  • Takes over as part-time England manager and leads them to the 2002 World Cup;
  • Retires as a national hero.

    But barring an abrupt about-turn by Newcastle, that dream is now a long way off.

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    See also:

    21 Oct 00 |  World Cup 2002
    England bid for Robson rejected
    21 Oct 00 |  Eng Prem
    Campbell strike shocks Magpies
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