Town prepares to honour Sir Bobby

TODAY is Ipswich's chance to show the world how much Sir Bobby Robson meant to the town as the North Stand is renamed after the great man during half time.

TODAY is Ipswich's chance to show the world how much Sir Bobby Robson meant to the town as the North Stand is renamed after the great man during half time.

It is a happy coincidence that the Football League computer paired Town with Toon just days after the great man's memorial service in Durham cathedral - giving Suffolk fans the chance to pay their respects.

A special relationship has developed between the two clubs over the last ten years - a relationship based on their mutual respect for Sir Bobby and the fact that many of Town's best players ended up at St James' Park!

Star columnist and fanzine editor Phil Ham said this relationship stopped short of Town fans seeing Newcastle as their “second club,” but he acknowledged there is a special relationship.

“I don't think you can have a second club who is in the same division as you, especially if they are second top and you're second bottom,” he said.

“But there is mutual respect between the fans, both sets of fans have great respect and affection for Sir Bobby and that has led to their having respect for each other.”

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However the respect might be suspended during the football action this afternoon as both teams will be desperate for three points.

Mark Jensen, editor of Newcastle fanzine The Mag acknowledged that the timing was very special.

He said: “The clubs are the two most associated with Sir Bobby Robson so it's quite poignant that they should meet after the memorial service.

“I just hope the teams can put on an occasion which is a fitting tribute to him. There is a link between the two clubs - it's what football is all about.

“Sir Bobby is someone who was such a massive figure in the game. The affection in which he is held in Ipswich and Newcastle is incredible. Anything that brings fans together has got to be a good thing.”

Newcastle have sold their allocation and Mr Jenson expected some Geordies to find their way into other parts of the ground - but did not expect any problems.

He said: “The Roy Keane angle is a bit more humorous - I'm sure he'll get some stick (based on his Sunderland days).”

EVENTS in Ipswich today were marking Sir Bobby Robson's era at Portman Road.

Former midfielder was this morning due to open a new shop in The Walk while members of the Sir Bobby's family were being shown the new bridge over the River Orwell that is being named after him.

Wreaths were being laid on the statue of Sir Bobby in Portman Road shortly after 4pm with the match itself due to kick off at 5.30pm.

The stand will be formally renamed during the half-time break when great players from the Robson era will appear in front of the crowd.

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