Sir Bobby fights cancer for third time

IPSWICH Town legend Sir Bobby Robson believes a skiing accident could have saved his life - after it led to the discovery of cancer on his lung.The 73-year-old, who has now beaten the disease three times, has declared himself the luckiest man alive after a scan on his bruised ribs revealed a golf ball-sized tumour.

IPSWICH Town legend Sir Bobby Robson believes a skiing accident could have saved his life - after it led to the discovery of cancer on his lung.

The 73-year-old, who has now beaten the disease three times, has declared himself the luckiest man alive after a scan on his bruised ribs revealed a golf ball-sized tumour.

The growth was found after Sir Bobby suffered a heavy fall while skiing in the Austrian ski resort of St Anton in February.

Sir Bobby, who managed Ipswich from 1969 to 1982, told a Sunday newspaper: “If I hadn't fallen over, I wouldn't have known about the tumour and you don't know what might have happened from there.


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“I had an x-ray to see if I'd broken any ribs and it showed a spot on the lung that proved to be a melanoma.

“The operation to remove it has been 100% successful. I've had a thorough scan from top to bottom and I'm clean as a whistle. There aren't any other tumours so I don't need any more treatment.

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“I feel very fortunate it was caught early. I was cursing my ski accident at the time because it was so painful. But it turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me.

“I had no symptoms so if it hadn't been spotted early, the tumour could have grown. Someone up there must like me - I'm the luckiest man alive.”

Sir Bobby, who beat bowel cancer in 1992 and a rare form of mouth cancer in 1995, has been declared fit to return to work as a consultant to Republic of Ireland manager Steve Staunton.

He underwent a three-hour operation at the Freeman Hospital, in Newcastle, on April 9. He was let out after five nights and has since been resting at his home, near Chester-le-Street, County Durham under the watchful eye of his wife, Lady Elsie, a former nurse.

Last night, former Ipswich Town players spoke of their relief that the disease appeared to have been caught in time.

Roger Osborne, who scored the winning goal for Sir Bobby's Ipswich in the 1978 FA Cup Final, said: “Obviously it's disappointing to hear that he has been ill.

“Knowing Sir Bobby as I do he will fight it and will soon be back to full health. Of all the people for it to happen to, he seems best able to deal with it.”

Fellow ex-players Kevin Beattie and John Wark, who both played under Sir Bobby, also sent their best wishes.

Beattie said: “I wish him all the luck and love in the world. The man is a legend as far as I'm concerned.

“When I heard this news about The Boss, I was really worried. But he's quite a battler. If you put Mohammed Ali and The Boss in the ring I'd have my money on The Boss.”

Wark said: “I was shocked when I heard but I'm pleased to hear it seems he has got over it again. He has always had battling qualities all of his life. He has beaten it twice before so it's good he seems to have done it again.”

As a player, Sir Bobby played for West Bromwich Albion, Fulham and Canadian side Vancouver Royals in a career that saw him represent England 20 times.

Sir Bobby joined Ipswich Town as manager in 1969, after a previous ill-fated spell in charge at Fulham.

He left the Portman Road club in 1982 after leading them to FA Cup glory in 1978 and victory in the UEFA Cup in 1981. He remained with England until 1990, guiding his country to quarter-final and semi-final finishes in the 1986 and 1990 World Cups.

He went on to manage Dutch side PSV Eindhoven, FC Porto and Sporting Lisbon, in Portugal, and Spanish giants Barcelona.

The Geordie's last job in club football was with his boyhood side Newcastle United. He was fired in August 2004 but returned to football with the Republic of Ireland early this year.

mark.bulstrode@eadt.co.uk

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