Sir Bobby 'doubly proud' of honour

PORTMAN Road is going to have another permanent reminder of Sir Bobby Robson.And the former Ipswich Town manager says that it has made him doubly proud.

Elvin King

PORTMAN Road is going to have another permanent reminder of Sir Bobby Robson.

And the former Ipswich Town manager says that it has made him doubly proud.

The Galleria restaurant and bar is to be re-named the Sir Bobby Robson Suite, and the man who guided the Blues to victories in the UEFA and FA Cups is delighted.

He said: “I was proud when they erected a statue of me outside the ground, and I am just as proud to have the Galleria named after me.

“I will raise a toast to an amazing football club for giving me another honour.”

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Robson plans to visit the suite when he returns to Suffolk from his Newcastle base to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the FA Cup win at Wembley Stadium against Arsenal.

He will take in the final Coca-Cola Championship game of the season at home to Hull City, and then be the focal point of the big celebrations on the Cornhill the following day - May 5 - when the rest of the successful 1978 Wemb-ley squad will also be present.

“I have to shake my head sometimes to believe it is all happening,” said the man who was in charge of Ipswich for 14 years before taking England to the world cup semi-finals in 1990 and then successfully managing abroad before finishing with Newcastle United.

“I never thought for one minute when I was given a chance at Ipswich that it would come to all this.

“Frank O'Farrell and Billy Bingham had both turned the job down, and Town chairman John Cobbold said he would give me a chance, but would I mind working without a contract?

“I jumped at the opportunity to prove myself, after the then Chelsea manager Dave Sexton had recommended me.

“Ipswich is an amazing club, and the pressure is never on the manager.

“If we had some adverse results the chairman - both John and then his successor brother Patrick - used to worry for me.

“John said a cat had nine lives, and I had only lost two at most.”

An Ipswich spokesperson said: “We feel this tribute to Sir Bobby Robson is right and proper.

“For many supporters the Robson era was the golden period for Ipswich Town FC so far.

“We are delighted that Sir Bobby has allowed us to honour him in this way.”

Robson confirmed that he had a succession of tempting offers to leave Portman Road, but he had no thoughts about moving on until the England job came along.

He explained: “I stayed for four reasons - loyalty, respect for my two chairmen, because I was content and because I had a very good team.

“My players were the best paid in the country, but John Cobbold always insisted that no one else at the club was paid more than me.

“This would not happen nowadays.

“I look back now and see how wonderful it all was.

“I never lost out on a player I wanted to sign for contractual reasons. I signed all I wanted to sign. I always got my man.

“Yet we won the FA Cup with a side made up of just three signings - Paul Cooper, Allan Hunter and Paul Mariner.

“We produced the rest, and that also makes me proud - George Burley, Mick Mills, Brian Talbot, Kevin Beattie, Roger Osborne, John Wark, David Geddis and Clive Woods.

“They were all great players.”