Sir Bobby Robson dies.
Sir Bobby Robson dies.
Jul 31 2009, 03:12 PM
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The football world is mourning the death of former England manager Sir Bobby Robson, who has died from cancer at the age of 76.
Sir Bobby, one of the game's finest and most charismatic coaches, was knighted in 2002 for services to football.
A statement issued on behalf of his family said: "It is with great sadness that it has been announced today that Sir Bobby Robson has lost his long and courageous battle."
They appealed for privacy and announced an initial funeral will be held for family members only.
Robson made his managerial name at unfashionable Ipswich Town, leading them to European and domestic glory in 13 wonderful years.
He then became the England national side's second most successful manager - behind another Ipswich legend, Sir Alf Ramsey - taking the team to the semi finals of the 1990 World Cup.
Ray Wilkins, who played under him for England, told Sky News he was "absolutely devastated" at the news of his passing.
"He was an absolute gentlemen," he said. "You don't come across people like Bobby very often.
"He lived his life with humility. He was a joy to be around."
Sir Bobby's assistant with the England team and former team-mate, Don Howe told Sky: "He had high standards in his football and in his family and he always wanted the best.
"At the same time, he emphasised if you wanted the best, you had to work hard to get the best."
Prime Minister Gordon Brown paid tribute to his tenacity and good humour: "He epitomised everything that is great about football in this country.
"His passion, patriotism, dedication and professionalism knew no equal during his time both as a player and a manager."
Throughout the 1990s Sir Bobby enjoyed successful spells with clubs on the continent, culminating in an illustrious management role with European giants Barcelona.
He returned to English football with Newcastle United, where he was adored.
Just five days ago thousands of football fans crowded into the club's home ground St James's Park to pay tribute to Sir Bobby and raise funds for his cancer charity.
Before the kick-off of Sunday's game a guard of honour gave fans and players a chance to show him their appreciation.
Proceeds from the match went towards The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, launched in March 2008.
The foundation has raised more than £1.3m to fight cancer.
Sir Bobby's official biographer Bob Harris paid tribute to his strength amid the many health problems that blighted his later years."The way he battled on and refused to give in to five bouts of cancer, I was beginning to think he was immortal," he said.
"I will remember him as a genuine football man who loved the game beyond anything else."
I feel saddened by what has happned, as he was one of the worlds greatest managers. I feel the world has lost a vital part of football history.
R.I.P Sir Bobby Robson.
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