Sir Bobby delights fans at charity match

FOOTBALL legends and a crowd of more than 33,000 turned out to honour Sir Bobby Robson last night.

FOOTBALL legends and a crowd of more than 33,000 turned out to honour Sir Bobby Robson last night.

The former Ipswich Town, England and Newcastle manager made an emotional return to St James's Park for a fundraising event for Sir Bobby's cancer charity.

Sir Bobby, who is fighting cancer for the fifth time, defied his ailing health to attend the event.

Before the game he made his way onto the pitch in a wheelchair, looking frail and wearing a fedora hat and a black and white scarf.

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The 76-year-old was presented with a UEFA Lifetime Achievement Award to rapturous applause around the stadium.

Paul Gascoigne and Peter Beardsley were among a host of football stars and celebrities who pulled on their boots to pay homage to the legend in an all-star England team who played Germany in a re-run of the 1990 World Cup semi-final.

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And even Alan Shearer refound his scoring touch in front of the Gallowgate - despite the fact he has not been handed the full-time managerial post.

Newcastle's all-time leading goalscorer tucked away a penalty on 78 minutes to give England a 3-2 a lead they never relinquished to the German side.

Both before and after the tightly-fought contest Sir Bobby's name echoed around St James's Park as his adoring fans paid tribute.

Speaking before the game Shearer said it was an honour to be playing in the game for his ex-manager's cancer charity, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, which has raised �1.3m for cancer treatment facilities in the north east.

He said: “It's nice to be back playing a special game for a special man. He means a lot, not only to me but to this region and world football. He's a very special man.

“He puts his heart and soul into everything and he is certainly doing that now with his charity. He is going through a tough time but he keeps going and that's the Bobby I know.

“There aren't a lot of people who could manage to get these sort of players to come back and play, but Sir Bobby has done that and it's a testament to the person he is.”

At least 25,000 match tickets were snapped up prior to the big kick-off and it is though the event will have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for his cancer charity.

Before the game, three tenors belted out a moving rendition of Nessun Dorma - Luciano Pavarotti's recording was used during the BBC's coverage of the 1990 World Cup campaign.

Ex-Magpies Peter Beardsley and Paul Gascoigne lifted the Sir Bobby Robson Trophy at full-time, after Les Ferdinand and Alan Thompson scored in the first half to level the game at 2-2.

Gascoigne said: “Sir Bobby meant a hell of a lot to the players and to the game. He is a legend around the world.

“He used to call me daft as a brush, but he gave me my first chance in the England team. It was quite heartbreaking to see him looking frail but he is battling away and I knew Sir Bobby would have been here no matter what.”

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