Ipswich/Newcastle: Fans and friends unite to celebrate Sir Bobby’s 80th

Sir Bobby Robson

Sir Bobby Robson - Credit: Contributed

IPSWICH Town and England fans across Suffolk are to join friends and family of the late Sir Bobby Robson in marking the former manager’s 80th birthday today.

A huge party is planned to take place tonight in the ex-Barcelona coach’s native North-East, with a long line-up of celebrities set to pay tribute to Sir Bobby, who died three years ago after a long fight with cancer.

Sir Bobby Robson – A Celebration will feature some of Sir Bobby’s “Desert Island Discs” as well as excerpts from his final interviews, which were originally filmed for use at the celebration event when it was first planned, with his involvement, in 2009.

The former Town, England and Newcastle boss enjoyed a glorious, trophy-laden career in management and was one of the most popular figures in the game.

Tonight’s event will raise funds for The Alan Shearer Foundation and The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, which was launched by Sir Bobby and his wife Lady Elsie in 2008 and has gone on to raise more than £4.7million to help find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer.

Sir Bobby A Celebration will be hosted by Jim Rosenthal and Billy Mitchell and is being backed by Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Money. It will feature charity patron and Ipswich legend Mick Mills as well as England Under-21 team manager and Italia ‘90 veteran Stuart Pearce.

Lady Elsie said: “The way everyone has pitched in to help make this night a success is amazing. We were looking at our list of people to thank in the programme and it struck me that it has both FIFA and a local junior football club on there. Bob would have loved that.

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“It’s taken an awful lot of work to get things to this stage and so much of it’s been done by volunteers. That kind of commitment is incredible. It’s going to be a wonderful night of music, football and comedy and, no doubt, a lot of very happy memories.”

Sir Richard added: “These days it’s all too easy to use the word legend to describe someone, but I don’t think anyone could dispute its use when describing Sir Bobby Robson. Bobby was genuinely loved by die-hard football fans and by the nation at large.”

The celebrity-studded celebration will feature appearances from stars including Russell Watson, Alistair McGowan, Paul Smith of rock band Maximo Park, Ruby Turner, Faryl Smith, Mark Knopfler, Joe McElderry, the Northern Sinfonia, The Unthanks and comedians Simon Day and Paul Whitehouse.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas will be sharing his special memories of Sir Bobby from his time at Portuguese club FC Porto.

In addition, Newcastle United’s coaching team, including John Carver, and Sir Bobby’s former players Steve Harper, Shola Ameobi and Steven Taylor will talk about his enduring influence at the club.

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