A charming man who gave Town so much

REST well Sir Bobby Robson.

Elvin King

REST well Sir Bobby Robson.

Where do you start in paying a tribute to a footballing legend who achieved so much - but none more so than lifting homely Ipswich Town up by its boot straps and turning them into a world force?

To lead a club like Ipswich from a rural backwater into European competition for nine out of 10 years is an incomparable feat and one that rightly took Sir Bobby on to lead his beloved England to a world cup semi-final.

Sir Alf Ramsey had previously taken the same route after managing the Blues to the First Division championship in 1962, and his achievements with Ipswich Town should never be underestimated.

But Sir Bobby will be up their alongside his fellow knight when the history of the Portman Road-based club comes to be written.

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He put Ipswich - the town as well as the football club - on the map. And he did it with so much charm.

His appointment was something of an afterthought after apparently better equipped managers turned down the chance of taking over the Town reins.

But he was backed by his chairmen John and then Patrick Cobbold and after a bedding in period brought so much success and so much enjoyment to the followers of Ipswich Town.

By adding the FA Cup - who alive at the time will ever forget those magnificent 1978 Wembley-centred days - and the UEFA Cup to Ramsey's achievements, Sir Bobby cemented Ipswich's credentials as a top line club.

He went so frustratingly close to the Division One title on more than one occasion, and with a couple more experienced players in his squad could so easily have won a league, FA Cup and UEFA Cup treble in 1980/81.

Sir Bobby was that close to achieving the impossible.

He was special, really special, and among his many attributes were his ability to earn the respect of his players, his mould-breaking transfer dealings including bringing super skilled Dutchmen Arnold Muhren and Frans Thijssen into English football and his coaching talents.

And in the days before football became a multi million pound business he virtually ran every aspect of life at Portman Road from the laundry room upwards.

A little over 12 months ago he was talking to me enthusiastically for an hour - and he would have been happy for it to be longer - about his times at Portman Road.

He could remember every player, every match, every detail and his face beamed with delight as he recalled his Suffolk-based days prior to the 1978 FA Cup-winning side reunion held in the town last May.

Sir Bobby was a magnificent servant to Ipswich Town, and a wonderful ambassador for the town of Ipswich.

And a thoroughly charming man who gave Ipswich Town fans so much.

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