Bobby's back in town

SIR Bobby Robson CBE will today be named as President of Ipswich Town.The managerial legend, who led the Blues to FA Cup and UEFA Cup success before going on to manage England, has accepted the honorary position which comes into effect immediately.

By Derek Davis

SIR Bobby Robson CBE will today be named as President of Ipswich Town.

The managerial legend, who led the Blues to FA Cup and UEFA Cup success before going on to manage England, has accepted the honorary position which comes into effect immediately.

The Blues have also invited former club secretary David Rose to become a Vice-President and the Babergh councillor joins Lord Ryder and Harold Smith as a VP.

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The 73-year-old Sir Bobby will be the first Ipswich Town President since Lady Blanche Cobbold, who died in 1987, and accepted the role with the blessing of his current employers the Football Association of Ireland.

Although the presidential role is purely ambassadorial and he will continue to live in the north-east, Sir Bobby has made his vast managerial experience available to new Blues boss Jim Magilton and his number two Bryan Klug.

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Sir Bobby said: “In 1969 Ipswich took a very big chance on me. In managerial terms I was a 'nobody' and yet it paid off. Naturally I can see a similarity to that situation at the club right now.

“I have spoken with Jim Magilton and Bryan Klug, who was a player when I was at Portman Road and I'm excited for them both.

“They know that I will always be happy to offer support if asked but they are both very aware of the task before them.

“I look forward to watching the team again this season on as many occasions as I can, hopefully both home and away.”

As Republic Of Ireland manager Steve Staunton's football advisor Sir Bobby will be able to report back on the progress of young Irish protégés Owen Garvan, Shane Supple and Billy Clarke, who are pushing for international honours, along with the more established Alan Lee.

Sir Bobby made his name as a manager at Ipswich after playing for Fulham, West Bromwich Albion and England, including the 1958 World Cup, and returning to Craven Cottage as boss.

He led the Blues out of the doldrums and to within a whisker of the old division One Championship title.

He team, packed with names that trip off the tongue of all Town fans, including Kevin Beattie, Mick Mills, John Wark, Allan Hunter, George Burley, Paul Mariner and Alan Brazil, won the FA Cup in 1978 and UEFA Cup in 1981.

Sir Bobby said: “I'm extremely flattered to have been asked to become the President of Ipswich Town. “David Sheepshanks reminded me that the last person to hold the position was Lady Blanche Cobbold, so I feel immensely privileged to take on this honorary role from the wonderful Cobbold 'dynasty.'

“Despite going on to manage England, Barcelona and Newcastle United, the 13 years in charge at Portman Road were among the happiest days of my managerial career.

“I still think of Ipswich Town as 'my baby' and always will. It gave me a great education in football and made me confident to face anything, it put me on the 'football map' so as you can imagine it is very close to my heart.

“I have kept in touch with the club since I left, particularly with David Sheepshanks and former chairman John Kerr and would like to thank them and with their fellow directors for this special honour.”

Blues chairman David Sheepshanks said: “Sir Bobby Robson is one of the great sporting heroes of our time. All those who support Ipswich Town hold him in high esteem and deep affection.

“His achievements at Portman Road between 1969 and 1982 were nothing short of remarkable.

“Some such expressions are over used in this day and age but Sir Bobby Robson is a true football 'legend' in his own lifetime. We are thrilled that he has accepted this honorary position.”

The club secretary during Sir Bobby's, and four other Town managers' reigns, was David Rose who retired last year but has now accepted the role of Vice-President.

Mr Rose said: “I feel very privileged to have been asked to become a Vice President of the Club that has been such a huge part of my life and I am very much looking forward to joining my illustrious fellow Vice-Presidents and Sir Bobby.”

Mr Sheepshanks said: “David has been an outstanding and loyal servant of Ipswich Town for very nearly 50 years having started work in the club office in the late 1950's.

“David's devotion has been an inspiration to all around him and speaking for past chairmen and directors as well as myself and the current board, we have found his help invaluable.”

The Blues hope to present the new President and Vice-President on the Portman Road pitch when the new season begins in August.

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