They say never meet your heroes – but I could not disagree more

Bobby Robson with FA Cup on the Cornhill, Ipswich
1978. Never meet your heroes? Karl Fuller is s

Bobby Robson with FA Cup on the Cornhill, Ipswich 1978. Never meet your heroes? Karl Fuller is so glad he met Sir Bobby. - Credit: Archant

It’s been a relief somewhat to not have to worry about the thought of an Ipswich game over the weekend and for someone that really dislikes a blank weekend because on an international break, it’s an indication of how bad things are right now, writes Karl Fuller.



That has had me thinking, if I couldn’t care for a weekend without a game as things stand, where will my cares be for next season?

The way things are I wonder what we’ll have to look forward to for a very long time.

Football will be an excuse for a catch up with mates before games rather than the reason as it should be.

Certainly the remainder of this season has that feel about it.

But alas, not all is quite lost, for I can think of one game in particular that really should be embraced by as many Town fans as for one game, we can forget about our grievances surrounding the season ticket pricing saga and that’s the game on Easter Monday against Newcastle United.

The day has now become Sir Bobby Robson day, and it will be an emotional occasion where Ipswich and Newcastle fans can unite as one to remember such a special man.

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Outside of family, the loss of one person is never so endearing on me as that of Sir Bobby.

He was my first football hero and there was always something special about him and fans of any club will tell you the same.

As a fan of Ipswich and with some Catalonian blood, I’m just lucky that he managed two clubs so dear to my heart.

They say you should never meet your heroes and personally, I’ve never really bought into that notion.

When I think of the Ipswich players that I’ve held as heroes and gone on to meet, I couldn’t have asked for more and being star-struck hasn’t found me with any regrets.

From my favourite-ever player in John Wark, to the best ever in Kevin Beattie, from the Dutch maestros Arnold Muhren and Frans Thijssen to modern day heroes in Marcus Stewart and Matt Holland, I’ve met them all and interviewed most and feel highly privileged to have done so.

But the one and only time I met Sir Bobby will always be up there as one of my most special football moments.

It was after a Premier League game at home to Newcastle in 2001.

Bobby had led his side to a 1-0 victory and in those days, I used to take my boys after games to get player autographs.

They were in awe of some of the Newcastle players that came out, especially Alan Shearer and they wasted no time in obtaining his autograph.

One of the last people to come out of the players’ entrance was Sir Bobby and instantly, I was the one in awe.

Flanked by two stewards as he made his way to the coach, I seized the opportunity to try for an autograph and a quick thank you.

At first, I was pushed away by one of the stewards but straight away, Sir Bobby stopped in his tracks, told the stewards to step aside and turned to say hello.

I meekly held out a pen and programme and muttered for his autograph which he duly obliged before shaking my hand and asking how I became an Ipswich fan.

I told him that I started going in 1978 and it was because of him and his wonderful sides of that era.

I thanked him for all that he had done and then he shook my hand, told me it was a pleasure and he was happy that he put the club on the world map for those that mattered – us fans.

Many players managed by him have said that he was like a father figure to them.

I can understand why.

He seemingly had time for everyone.