Matt Holland ‘honoured’ to follow in Sir Bobby Robson’s footsteps
MATT Holland has said he is very “humbled and honoured” to take over from the late Sir Bobby Robson as patron of the Ipswich Town Charitable Trust.
The former Blues skipper yesterday spoke of his delight at returning to the club where he captained the team to play-off jubilation, European dream nights and an incredible fifth place in the Premier League.
A definition of fans’ favourite, Holland said his affinity to Ipswich made his decision to support the trust an easy one after he was initially approached by the charity.
Holland said: “Ipswich are very much in my heart. I have got a really close affection to Ipswich and Portman Road. The club has paid a huge part in my football career and for me to be asked to be patron and thought of as a worthy person to take over from Sir Bobby, I am very honoured and humbled.
“Bobby was a fantastic football person, a great guy and hugely missed by everyone – they are big shoes to fill.”
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Holland’s never-say-die commitment and box-to-box ability made him hugely popular among the Blue Army but his work in the community off-the-pitch was equally respected.
“I know that the work the football club has done in the community has always been huge,” said Holland, who now enjoys a thriving media career.
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“When I was asked to be patron, I had no hesitation. It was something I was very happy and keen to do and very privileged to do.
“I will hopefully raise the profile of the trust and the work it does. I wouldn’t have accepted the role if I didn’t think I had the time to do it justice.” Terry Baxter, chief executive of the trust, said the charity didn’t want to rush replacing such a respected figure as Sir Bobby. But in Holland, who still lives near Colchester, they believe they have the obvious successor.
Baxter said: “Through our work consulting with various focus groups, fans felt Matt was by far the outstanding candidate to take over from Sir Bobby. He was an obvious choice for this role. They are big shoes to fill but with Matt’s pedigree and commitment to both the club and the wider community, we are delighted to have him on board.”
Holland joined Town in the summer of 1997 and went on to captain the side to play-off success at Wembley and then fifth place in the Premier League before going on to enjoy success at Charlton Athletic.
Relying on the generosity of others to survive, the Ipswich Town Charitable Trust has worked with more than 60,000 people of all ages, abilities, communities and backgrounds in the last 12 months.
More information on the charity is available by visiting www.itfccharitabletrust.org.uk.