Marcus Evans' tribute to Sir Bobby

IPSWICH TOWN owner Marcus Evans is paying a personal tribute to soccer legend Sir Bobby Robson - in a bumper magazine that is being given free to more than 22,000 Blues fans.

Nigel Pickover

IPSWICH TOWN owner Marcus Evans is paying a personal tribute to soccer legend Sir Bobby Robson - in a bumper magazine that is being given free to more than 22,000 Blues fans.

The secretive magnate, who runs a worldwide empire from his headquarters in Marble Arch, will be at Town's first home game of the season tomorrow as the tribute editions are handed out to the Ipswich Town faithful.

Evans, who got to know Britain's favourite soccer boss well following his company's takeover of the Portman Road club, has personally led the operation which has seen the 52-page A4 publication come to life.

Proceeds from advertising revenue will go straight to Sir Bobby's cancer foundation and fans attending the match, against Leicester City, at 3.00pm, will be given the chance to make individual donations.

The Evans gesture will see Town fans snap up what is sure to be a great souvenir - and comes just a fortnight after the death of ex-Ipswich and England boss Sir Bobby, 76, who finally succumbed after his fifth fight against cancer.

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In the week in which England fans drowned out their Dutch counterparts with constant chants of “There's only one Bobby Robson,” in a friendly match in Amsterdam, the timing of the publication is seen as appropriate by the great man's family, friends and club officials.

The magazine is called Sir Bobby Robson: Tribute to a football legend and contains a series of tributes and anecdotes.

Evans told The Evening Star:” The magazine has been provided for Ipswich Town fans in honour of Sir Bobby with the compliments of the club.

“I attended his golf tournament in Portugal recently and listened as stories were told and tributes made to a man who proved to be a master of his profession over 35 years as a football manager. Each story was told with a smile, each tribute made with sincerity.

“Ipswich Town enjoyed its finest years under his leadership. I have had the pleasure of meeting some of the players that took this club to success at home and abroad in Bobby's years and it's clear what he meant to them.

“The flowers engulfing his statue; the tributes in the Book of Remembrance at Portman Road; the calls for one of the stands to be renamed in his honour further evidence of the love and respect the supporters of Ipswich Town have for Sir Bobby and will continue to have.”

The magazine charts Sir Bobby's career at Portman Road and beyond and there are tributes and stories from former ITFC players including Kevin Beattie, John Wark, and Mick Mills as well as his friend and long-term soccer friend and associate, Charlie Woods.

Ex-England greats Alan Shearer, Gary Lineker, as well as former secretary Pat Godbold, who supported her “Mr R” all his football life, have paid their own tributes as have former club supremo David Sheepshanks and Marcus Evans himself.

The gesture comes as Town officials prepare for a suitable celebration of Sir Bobby life's.

Sir Bobby, who managed Newcastle United with such skill and success after his Ipswich and England days, is also fondly remembered and hugely-loved on Tyneside.

It is likely Town will soon name the North Stand the Sir Bobby Robson Stand - as predicted in The Evening Star's stunning front page on August 4th - and Sir Bobby's family are being consulted about the possibility of an unveiling in advance of the Town v Newcastle game at Portman Road on Saturday September 26.