Gallery: Mourners drawn to Portman Road

THROUGHOUT the weekend they came, spanning the generations in silent homage to their hero.

Colin Adwent

THROUGHOUT the weekend they came, spanning the generations in silent homage to their hero.

Early yesterday morning the young and the old, many of whom were not born when Sir Bobby Robson became a legend, were still descending on Portman Road as others did for the remainder of the day.

His iconic statue was the spiritual symbol of his passing.

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All who came believed they will not see his like again.

It may have been football which made Sir Bobby Robson's name, but for them his words and deeds transcended the sport.

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They revered him for his humility, passion and determination, but most of all for what he gave them.

Overwhelming feelings of pride and joy were the gifts he bestowed on Suffolk, and Ipswich Town in particular.

Scarves, flags, caps, flowers, and football shirts laid at the feet of his statue, which was itself adorned along with the barriers surrounding it.

Everywhere you looked there were tributes and reminders of what Sir Bobby Robson did for Ipswich.

Alwyn Basford, president of Ipswich Sports Club for the Disabled, and his wife Carolynne made the journey to Portman Road just before 4pm yesterday.

Mr Basford said: “I felt it was a mark of respect. Sir Bobby was a great inspiration for people in the town. He is a legend. He inspired people to get involved in sport.

“I don't think there will ever be another like him.”

As she surveyed the shrine surrounding Sir Bobby's statue, Mrs Basford said: “I have great respect for Bobby Robson. He was just a fantastic person. I would like to see some part of the ground dedicated to this for Sir Bobby.”

Tribal allegiances were set aside as supporters of Reading, Orient, Dundee United and even Norwich also left mementoes at his statues feet.

Across the road streams of people queued to sign the book of condolence.

Among the 1,200 people who had done so on Saturday and Sunday were FA Cup-winning goalscorer Roger Osborne, Sir Bobby's fearsome former centre-half Allan Hunter and the man the ex-Ipswich manager prized above all others, Kevin Beattie.

Their signatures encapsulate the love and gratitude which Suffolk has for the man whose legend and legacy will live on in the cancer charity in his name.

Among the tributes were :

Thank you for making my dad happy and for giving him so many memories - love Rachel

Bobby, you were always a gentleman. I will never forget that time you showed me round Porto Football Club. Ipswich Town will never forget you - Graham, Helen and Josh

You will never be forgotten in my heart and I will still sing your name on the terraces. You are my hero and you are Ipswich. Thanks for making me so happy - Wayne, Witham

Privileged to be part of Sir Bobby Robson's Ipswich Town FC 1978 - Julie Anderson and my late father Peter Zarkos

A true genius and the greatest manager of all time. May you rest in peace in football heaven - James and Samy

Thank you for taking us on so many adventures, RIP Sir Bobby - from Wayne

Thanks for putting Ipswich on the map. Sleep well and you will forever be in our hearts - xxx

Sir Bobby, thank you for all the wonderful football you gave me during my childhood. I will never forget it

You are a legend and will always be a Blue. Rest in peace.

Sir Bobby, our loss is God's gain. You are up there organising the beautiful game. Your pain and suffering are all over now, but the legend that you are will always live on. God Bless Sir Bobby. Rest in peace. We will miss you.

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