Why it should be Sir Bobby
PUBLISHED: 09:34 03 February 2002 | UPDATED: 15:25 03 March 2010
HE'S been in football management for 34 years - but now it's time for the nation to recognise the contribution of Bobby Robson to the Beautiful Game with the ultimate sporting honour - a knighthood.
HE'S been in football management for 34 years – but now it's time for the nation to recognise the contribution of Bobby Robson to the Beautiful Game with the ultimate sporting honour – a knighthood.
A nationwide campaign backed by some of the biggest names in the game has been launched, and there is a growing belief that his achievements will be recognised in the Queen's Jubilee Birthday Honours list in June.
Bobby's football management career didn't have a great start – he was sacked as manager of Fulham after just a few months in 1968.
But within weeks he was back in the game, behind the boss's desk at Portman Road.
The first three and a half seasons were rocky, with battles against relegation – and occasional chants of "Robson Out" from the fans.
His reputation wasn't helped by a dressing-room row with senior players.
But from the start of the 1972-73 season, the Robson legend really began. The season started with the sale of crowd favourite Jimmy Robertson and predictions of relegation – and ended with the club qualifying for the UEFA Cup for the first time.
It was the start of a glorious decade as the club qualified for Europe in nine seasons out of ten, winning the FA Cup and UEFA Cup on the way. It was also regular runner-up in the Football League.
Bobby took over the England manager's job in 1982 and guided his country to two World Cup tournaments in 1986 and 1990 before moving to European club management with PSV in Holland, Sporting Lisbon and Porto in Portugal, and Barcelona in Spain before returning home to Newcastle.
With the Magpies riding high in the Premiership, the campaign to see Bobby knighted has been joined by some of the biggest names in the game.
Former England star and TV pundit Rodney Marsh has backed the calls on his website www.rodmarsh.co, describing Bobby as representing "everything good about the game."
The award would certainly go down very well in Ipswich – the Town fans have long memories and Bobby's reception each time he brings his Newcastle team to Portman Road is as warm as ever.
Even at 68, Bobby has no firm retirement plans - and there is no reason why a knighthood should mark the end of his career.
Sir Alf Ramsey remained manager of England long after he was knighted following the World Cup victory, and Sir Alex Ferguson was knighted three years ago and is only now making his retirement plans.
So let's hope that when Her Majesty visits Ipswich on July 17 as part of her Jubilee tour, local football fans will have another reason to cheer her – for knighting one of this town's adopted favourite sons!