University honours for Sir Bobby

Soccer manager Sir Bobby Robson joked he had got his education "back to front" yesterday after he received an honorary degree at the age of 70.The well-loved former England and Ipswich football manager received the highest honour Newcastle University can bestow, an honorary Doctorate in Civil Law.

Soccer manager Sir Bobby Robson joked he had got his education "back to front" yesterday after he received an honorary degree at the age of 70.

The well-loved former England and Ipswich football manager received the highest honour Newcastle University can bestow, an honorary Doctorate in Civil Law.

Sir Bobby was delighted with the award which followed his knighthood in November last year.

He admitted when he was a schoolboy in nearby Langley Park, County Durham he concentrated on football and left aged 15-and-a-half.

But he said he impressed upon today's young hopefuls the importance of education.

Sir Bobby, who also received an honorary degree through Suffolk College from the University of East Anglia in 1997, said: "When I was 17 I was interested in football, not education.

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"Obviously I realise now time spent in education is not time wasted.

"I suppose I have done it back to front.'

Sir Bobby wore the red and white robes of the Doctorate of Civil Law - despite them being the colours of Newcastle's arch rivals Sunderland.

But he chose a black and white tie for his special day, also attended by his wife Elsie, brother Ron and sister-in-law Brenda.

"I'm very proud to receive it here in Newcastle in the area where I was born and bred, played my early football and came back to,' he said.

"I'm going to have a great day.'

Sir Bobby laughed at the suggestion his Civil Law qualification would give him more clout when negotiating with players' agents.

"My chairman is a hands-on chairman and he deals with a lot of agents,' he said.

The degree was being conferred by Newcastle University's chancellor Chris Patten who arrived at the ceremony on crutches.

The former Conservative minister and Governor of Hong Kong injured his leg playing tennis some weeks ago, a university spokeswoman said today.

She said Sir Bobby was nominated for the award because he had made an outstanding contribution to his field and had strong links to the region.

This year Sir Bobby, the oldest manager in the Premiership, has led Newcastle United to qualify for the Champions League for the second season running.

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