The Verdict: Sir Bobby Robson would have enjoyed that – football is meant to be fun

The statue Sir Bobby Robson is decorated with a scarf and floral tribute for Bobby Robson Day. Pictu

The statue Sir Bobby Robson is decorated with a scarf and floral tribute for Bobby Robson Day. Picture: ADAM DAVY/PA WIRE - Credit: PA

Ipswich Town produced their best display of a frustrating season to beat promotion-chasing Newcastle United 3-1 at Portman Road today. Chief football reporter STUART WATSON gives his verdict.

Sir Bobby would have enjoyed that.

Ipswich Town produced a fitting tribute to the late, great Robson – on the day named in his honour – with a scintillating 3-1 victory over Newcastle United.

If one of the warm rays of light breaking through the cloudy spring sky was ‘the boss’ then his childlike love of the game permeated Portman Road.

On one hand he would have been leaping around at the sight of Emyr Huws’ thumping stoppage-time volley hitting the back of the net in front of the stand that bears his name to send the fans into a frenzy.

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On the other he will have been slightly saddened at the site of the Magpies stumbling in their bid for a quickfire return to the Premier League.

Ultimately though, he would have savoured the spectacle.

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Robson understood fans. He summed it up best when saying: “What is a club in any case? Not the buildings or the directors or the people who are paid to represent it. It’s not the television contracts, get-out clauses, marketing departments or executive boxes.

“It’s the noise, the passion, the feeling of belonging, the pride in your city. It’s a small boy clambering up stadium steps for the very first time, gripping his father’s hand, gawping at that hallowed stretch of turf beneath him and, without being able to do a thing about it, falling in love.”

It’s a poetic sentiment that has been increasingly forgotten in the modern era.

Over the last 18 months too many cautious and forgettable footballing fares on Suffolk soil have seen young fans tell their parents they’ve lost interest. Yesterday, any first-timers in a bumper 25,000 crowd will have well and truly got the bug.

It’s not Town’s falling league position or even their 15-year stay in the second-tier which has created a feeling of apathy, rather a complete lack of entertainment value. Football is meant to be fun and there’s not been enough of that at Portman Road in recent times.

Yesterday, everyone went away grinning from ear-to-ear. A few may just be reconsidering thoughts of not renewing their season tickets.

It’s a shame Mick McCarthy had to bring up the subject of those that have ‘sneered’ at him in a testy post-match press conference. This wasn’t the day for that.

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