Town legend Sir Bobby Robson dies

LEGENDARY ex-Ipswich Town and England manager Sir Bobby Robson has died.

LEGENDARY ex-Ipswich Town and England manager Sir Bobby Robson died today, aged 76.

He passed away at around 6.30am at his home after a long battle with cancer.

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 with cancer.

“He died very peacefully this morning at his home in County Durham with his wife and family beside him.

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“Sir Bobby's funeral will be private and for family members only.

“A thanksgiving service in celebration of Sir Bobby's life will be held at a later date for his many friends and colleagues.

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“Lady Robson and the family would very much appreciate it if their privacy could be respected at this difficult time.”

Sir Bobby, who was honorary president at Ipswich, led the Blues to glory at home and abroad after taking over at Portman Road in 1969.

The highlights of his wonderful rein as boss came in 1978 and 1981, as unfashionable Town won the FA Cup and UEFA Cup respectively.

The Geordie's playing career as an inside-forward spanned nearly 20 years, during which he played for Fulham, West Bromwich Albion and briefly for the defunct Vancouver Royals.

He also made 20 appearances for England, scoring four goals.

He left Ipswich in 1982 to manage England, the second Town boss to do so.

During his time in charge of the Three Lions, Sir Bobby steered England to the semi-finals of the World Cup in 1990, his team narrowly losing to West Germany on penalties.

He later went on to win league championships in both the Netherlands and Portugal, as well as winning trophies in Spain.

Sir Bobby also managed his beloved Newcastle United and was most recently a mentor to the manager of the Irish national team. He was voted European manager of the year in 1997.

Since 1991, he had battled recurrent medical problems with cancer. His fifth diagnosis of cancer, consisting of cancer in both lungs, was confirmed as terminal in February 2007.

He was in Ipswich with the team of '78 last May for the 30th reunion of the Wembley FA Cup win. He was the undoubted star of the show as he recounted memories of Town's 1-0 victory over Arsenal.

In emotional scenes on Sunday, Sir Bobby made his last public appearance, receiving a rapturous welcome from fans at St James' Park in Newcastle before a charity match in aid of his cancer foundation.

In an interview last year, Sir Bobby revealed: "My condition is described as static and has not altered since my last bout of chemotherapy...I am going to die sooner rather than later.

“But then everyone has to go sometime and I have enjoyed every minute.”

He married Elsie in 1955 and leaves three sons.

Former FA executive David Davies told the BBC: “The players took to him in a big way. They respected him. They had some fun at his expense, to be sure ... but they will be immensely sad this morning.”

Football pundit Alan Hansen described Sir Bobby as a “tremendous manager, a tremendous person.”

“If you are a manager of a football club you have got to be very, very single-minded,' he told the BBC.

“You've got to be tough, you've got to be hard but Bobby did it in a way that was special inasmuch as he was hard, he was tough, he was single-minded but the players knew that and they respected him for that.”

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