Knighthood on the way for Bobby?

ARISE Sir Bobby.Unconfirmed speculation – as revealed on the Evening Star website yesterday – is mounting that former Ipswich Town manager Bobby Robson will be knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

By Victoria Knowles

speculation is rising that former Ipswich Town manager Bobby Robson will be knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours – as revealed yesterday on the Evening Star website.

It seems the Star's campaign to see the former Ipswich Town boss knighted has paid off. Hopefully our fight to see the footballing legend honoured has at last been recognised.

A Newcastle United fanzine website claimed yesterday that the man who led the Blues to European glory would be made a sir in the birthday honours list, which will be announced on Saturday.

Perhaps someone in the palace was slipped a copy of The Evening Star.

Maybe the Queen herself was surfing the net when she came across our campaign.

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No one yet knows what tipped the scales in Robson's favour or indeed whether this rumour is true – but if it is, what perfect timing.

In the year of the golden jubilee the 69-year-old is about to have his statue unveiled in Ipswich. This will happen on July 16 at Portman Road, in yet another show of affection for one of the town's favourites.

The plinth of the statue has still not been completed – in case the name has to include his title.

And as England ride high in the World Cup, Ipswich and the rest of the country are no doubt remembering the great success this footballing genius had when he took us to two World Cup championships.

There is a regular reminder of his success on the international stage as he is a member of the ITV panel of experts for the current World Cup.

The claim that Bobby is about to become Sir was made by Kev Fletcher, editor of the talkofthetyne website.

Mr Fletcher has led a campaign for more than two years to have Robson honoured.

Mr Fletcher, 45, from Spennymoor, County Durham, said last night: "I'd rather not say where this has come from, but it is going to happen this weekend.

"It will be confirmed and I am 110 per cent sure. This is not rumour – this is fact."

The speculation over a prospective Robson knighthood has delighted Ipswich fans.

So confident were they that Mr Robson would be knighted before the ceremony to unveil his statue on July 16, they asked the stonemason to leave room for the word "Sir" to be added.

Phil Houseley, chairman of the Ipswich Town Supporters Club and one of the fans behind the commissioning of the statue ,said: "I think a knighthood would be long overdue and fully deserved.

"It is great news for Bobby and the club, because it would mean that, in Alf Ramsey and Robson, Town would have two very successful England managers who became knights after learning their trade in Suffolk."

Pat Godbold was personal secretary to every Ipswich Town manager since the Second World War – including Mr Robson – until her retirement five years ago.

She still deals with his business interests in Ipswich and works as the club's archivist on a part-time basis. She said:"Bobby is very worthy of the honour for what he has done for football in Ipswich, in England and in general.

"He always thought of staff and players as people, was a thoughtful, caring man and was a great manager to work for."

Despite the confidence that Newcastle United fan Mr Fletcher has in his source, not one official has confirmed his story as correct.

A spokesman for ITV said both it and Mr Robson refused to comment.

A spokeswoman for the prime minister's office, which will announce the honours list, said: "We have not confirmed anything yet, so what you are hearing is pure speculation and we cannot comment any further."

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