Stand up for Sir Bobby

IPSWICH Town bosses WILL act on the groundswell of support for the club's North Stand being renamed in honour of the late Sir Bobby Robson, The Evening Star can reveal today.

IPSWICH Town bosses WILL act on the groundswell of support for the club's North Stand being renamed in honour of the late Sir Bobby Robson, The Evening Star can reveal today.

But they are bound by a request from soccer's favourite knight that they do not act in haste and carefully plan details of the accolade.

Countless tributes have been paid to Sir Bobby since his death on Friday morning and now club executives will talk to Lady Elsie Robson - and other members of the family, before any final decisions are made.

But that doesn't rule out a special day of tribute and remembrance when Ipswich take on Newcastle United, the Premier League club Sir Bobby managed with such distinction in the top-flight, in late September.

Given that details of Sir Bobby's funeral - and various memorial services have yet to be announced, Ipswich are opting for a “softly, softly” approach before they make any plans known.

Sir Bobby's statue already graces Portman Road - and has become shrine for thousands of fans, but many are calling for the stand to be named as soon as possible.

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A number of clubs have honoured their former heroes in similar fashion - Nottingham Forest has the Brian Clough Stand and West Ham's Upton Park boasts the Sir Bobby Moore Stand.

Ipswich Town fans are rightly proud that one of football's finest characters has an unbreakable relationship with their club - and they see the renaming of part of Portman Road as the perfect way to cement that bond.

Many supporters believe the North Stand is the perfect choice to bear the great man's name - it is where the more passionate and vociferous fans take their seats on a match day.

Club bosses are known to have already considered the move prior to Friday but such was 76-year-old Sir Bobby's modesty that he requested the honour was not bestowed upon him during his lifetime.

Blues die-hard Andy Feasey launched a campaign to have the stand renamed last summer and is once again calling for the move.

He said: “The man has done so much for Ipswich Town - it's time he was properly recognised for that.

“It is such a shame we couldn't have done this while he was alive.”

Fans have already suggested the unveiling of the Sir Bobby Robson Stand could take place on September 26, on the day the gentle Geordie's two great loves - the Blues and Newcastle United - come face to face at Portman Road.

Town chief executive Simon Clegg said: "We have given serious consideration to a further permanent memorial and tribute to Sir Bobby. There are a range of ideas we are looking at and have been looking at over the past few months.

"Naming a stand after Sir Bobby is one of the options we have discussed and we spoke to Sir Bobby about it but he didn't feel it was appropriate until a period after he had passed away. We obviously want to respect that and will respect that."

- Should the North Stand be renamed in Sir Bobby's honour? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk