Tributes paid to Bobby Robson

 

The football world has paid tribute to Bobby Robson after he died, aged 76, on July 31st.

Paul Gascoigne (on ITV News)

"I'm speechless. I'm devastated. Bobby was like my second dad. I was like a son to him. I've had loads of texts from football players, managers, everybody.

"I can't describe how much he meant to me. I've just been crying for three hours, and I've come to see my mum and my dad. It's just unbelievable.

"He gave me a chance to play in the World Cup. I can't really talk that much because I just want to cry, that's all."

Asked what his message would be to Robson and his family, he added: "I love him. And his wife Elsie - I'll always be there for her.

"I'm sort of numb. I'm emotionally drained. I want to go up and see his wife Elsie but it's a difficult situation for everyone. I'm going to miss him so badly."

Alex Ferguson, Manchester United manager

"I was never too big or proud to ask him for advice which he gave freely and unconditionally. And I'm sure I am speaking for a lot of people when I say that.

"In my 23 years working in England there is not a person I would put an inch above Bobby Robson. I mourn the passing of a great friend; a wonderful individual; a tremendous football man and somebody with passion and knowledge of the game that was unsurpassed.

"His character was hewn out of the coal face; developed by the Durham County mining background that he came from.

"His parents instilled in him the discipline and standards which forged the character of a genuinely colossal human being. He added his own qualities to that which then he passed on to his sons.

"The strength and courage he showed over the past couple of years when battling against his fifth bout of cancer was indescribable. Always a smile; always a friendly word with never a mention of his own problems.

"The world, not just the football world, will miss him. Let's hope it won't be long before another like him turns up because we could never get enough of them."

Jose Mourinho, Inter Milan coach who worked with Robson for five years at Sporting Lisbon, Porto and Barcelona

"I hadn't spoken to him in the last two months because it was hard for me," he told Inter Milan's official website.

"It was me who found it hard because I didn't want to think that he was dying, that wasn't the image that I wanted to keep with me forever of Bobby Robson, that wasn't the voice I wanted to hear.

"I wanted to and I will keep with me always the Bobby Robson of every day, a person who had extraordinary passion for life and for football, with an extraordinary enthusiasm.

"Bobby Robson is one of those people who never die, not so much for what he did in his career, for one victory more or less, but for what he knew to give to those who had, like me, the good fortune to know him and walk by his side.

"My thoughts and embraces go to all his loved ones."

Inter Milan statement

"The president (Massimo) Moratti and all at Inter Milan join in with Jose Mourinho's grief and are by Sir Bobby Robson's family's side in recording one of the great masters of English and world football."

Fabio Capello, England manager

"Sir Bobby was a wonderful man, a real gentleman.

"It's extremely sad that Sir Bobby has lost his final fight against cancer, but he will never be forgotten. He really was a great man.

"To manage the national team for so long was a remarkable achievement, and we all remember how close he came to leading England to the World Cup final in Italy."

Ian Watmore, FA chief executive

"The whole of football loved Bobby Robson as a player, a manager and an ambassador for the game.

"This is a sad day and on behalf of the Football Association I would like to send condolences to his family and thank him for all that he did for England and football in general."

Prince William, president of the FA

"I am deeply saddened to hear about Sir Bobby Robson's death.

"His contribution to English football as a player, manager and superb ambassador for our national game has been immense.

"He will be sadly missed by football fans everywhere, and I am thinking about his family at this difficult time."

Sepp Blatter, Fifa president

"I am deeply saddened and moved by the passing of Sir Bobby Robson, one of the greatest personalities of our game.

"I particularly remember how he managed to lead England to one of their best performances in history, when reaching the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup in 1990.

"He always showed great passion for the game and will be missed by all football fans across the globe. On behalf of the worldwide football family, I would like to thank Sir Bobby Robson for his memorable contribution to the beautiful game."

Bryan Robson, England captain under his namesake

"I was fortunate enough to be given the England captaincy by him and I thoroughly enjoyed that role and everything about playing for him for eight years. We had some great times - the World Cups in Mexico in 1986 when we reached the quarter-finals and then Italy in 1990 when we got to the semi-final. He was just a pleasure to work with.

"I was with him in Portugal only a few weeks ago when I went over to play in his charity golf day which was a fantastic event. He was struggling [with illness] at the time and had been advised not to travel, but he wanted to be there. And last week he was at a charity football match at Newcastle raising money for others. That just shows the character of the man."

Glenn Hoddle, played under Robson at the 1986 World Cup

"It's devastating, very sad. Our feelings and thoughts go out to Bobby's family. Obviously for everybody in the football world it's a very, very sad day," he told , told Sky Sports.

"He's the closest we've come to winning the World Cup (since 1966) - that's how good Bobby was.

"In the 1990 World Cup with a little bit more luck and calmness in the penalty shoot-out, who knows what could have happened? He was right up there behind Sir Alf Ramsey in that sense. He was a football man, a very endearing man, quite comical.

"We had a fantastic squad certainly in '86 - who knows what could have happened if the 'hand of God' goal from Maradona didn't happen?

"You can see how respected he was all around the world.

"He was a very open and very honest person. He and Don Howe were closely-knit together in my era of playing under Bobby. He was someone that would talk to you. The lads really did take to him and have respect for what he's done not only in football but off the pitch. He was a very charming man but also a winner."

Ray Clemence, former England goalkeeper

"It's a sad day for football and football people.

"He had such honesty and enthusiasm for the game as a player and manager. Even right up to the very end, when he spoke about football the enthusiasm still shone through how much he loved and cared about the game.

"Since Sir Alf Ramsey England have never been as close to winning the World Cup as we were with Bobby. At the top end of sport, these things are decided by the smallest issues and obviously it went to penalties.

"He certainly made the nation very proud because of the way the team played in that 1990 World Cup."

Don Howe, Robson's assistant as England boss

"It is a sad day. When somebody is ill like that you realise what is happening but when it comes it is really shocking to your system.

"Having known him since the 1950s when he was transferred from Fulham to West Brom, where I was already, we just gelled together. We were both similar, we had both got big families to look after and wanted to be successful in football. That's why we got on well together.

"He was a man of standards. Whatever he talked about or did, he had high standards to do the best he could possibly do and he lived his life that way."

Stuart Pearce, England Under-21 coach who played under Robson for England

"It is a massive loss, as a man, and to football.

"I cannot think of anyone in the game who was held in higher esteem. It was an absolute privilege and honour for me to work with him.

"My thoughts are with his family at this time."

Gary Lineker, played under Robson at the 1986 and 1990 World Cups:

"I was deeply saddened to hear of Bobby Robson's death. He was a great football man.

"He had a tremendous enthusiasm and passion for football and life and continued to retain this right to the last days of his life.

"He will be deeply missed by everyone, especially those who played for him. I have the fondest memories of playing for him at two World Cups.

"In recent years he undertook a great deal of work for his cancer charity and raised the profile considerably in addition to the monies raised."

Paul Parker, part of Robson's 1990 World Cup squad

"When I was with the England side he was a fantastic person to play for. The way he asked you and told you do stuff...you really wanted to do it for the man," Parker told 5Live.

"With his love and his drive you just wanted to perform for him. Everybody loved playing for Bobby, he was one of the few managers everybody took to. He was just a wonderful man to play for."

Trevor Steven, a member of Robson's 1990 World Cup squad:

"It is very sad news.

"I knew he was desperately ill, so in some ways it is not a surprise.

"Bobby was a very important man to me in my career, he gave me my first England cap.

"He was a 100 per cent football man, very enthususiastic and it is that enthusiasm that I will remember him best for, that was his most appealing trait.

"He had some tough times as an England manager but he stuck by his players and gave them his full backing."

Ray Wilkins, former England midfielder

"Everyone had the utmost respect for him,'' he told Sky News, adding that players were willing to "run through a brick wall'' for him.

"He handled people in the right fashion and I think that was his major strength.

"He was a joy to be around.''

Sven-Goran Eriksson, former England manager

"For me, he was the special one.

"First of all he was beyond football a great man, one of the kindest people I ever met.

"He helped me a great deal when I was a young coach and I visited him in Ipswich. He took me, an unknown coach from Sweden, down into the dug-out and explained the tactics.

"The year after Ipswich won the Uefa Cup, my team Gothenburg won it and he came and presented the trophy to me.

"When I became coach of England I called him many times and he was always generous with his advice and helpful.

"It seems he was as friendly to everybody as he was to me. In fact for me, he was the special one."

Steve McClaren, former England manager

"I had a cup of tea with him a couple of months ago in his home. He was fighting as he always did but you could tell time was passing.

"To be so successful, but to be so loved by everybody throughout his career... that's special and says something. The game will be worse for Bobby Robson leaving us.

"The passion was still there, it was unbelievable. His mind was still so sharp, so enthusiastic, even at that age and even though he had an illness.

"I saw a programme once on him and the great players around the world adored Sir Bobby Robson because of his sheer passion."

Alan Shearer, former Newcastle striker

"Sunday was a fitting tribute to him and he will be sadly missed by everyone, not just by people in the football world but from all walks of life,'' Shearer said.

"It's a very sad day for everyone, especially his family, his close friends and anyone who's ever worked with him.''

Kieron Dyer, former Newcastle midfielder, who broke down during the minute's silence before West Ham's clash in Beijing

"Obviously he was a massive influence in my career, not just on the pitch but also off the pitch.

"I was told five minutes before kick-off so that was a shock to the system. He had beaten cancer so many times I thought he would go on into his 100s but it wasn't to be.

"At the minute's silence it did overwhelm me. I am just going to look at all the great memories he brought to my life and all the special bits, like in team talks when he used to call me Kevin because he would forget names.

"Off the pitch he treated me like a son. We had the Ipswich connection so when he was at Newcastle he made a beeline straight for me.

"He was like a father figure to me and I am going to miss him."

Terry McDermott, former Newcastle assistant manager

"It's devastating.

"Everybody knew it was coming. The people who've seen him at the weekend at the charity game, you could see he wasn't a well man. It shows the courage of the man to actually turn up in front of 33,000 people and get the fitting send-off he deserved because he's a fantastic football person.

"Everybody knew he was in trouble and he was going to die but it's still a shock to everybody. Everybody remembers him obviously for being a nice person but what a great football person as well.

"He'll be sadly missed by everyone, not just Newcastle but football in general."

Freddy Shepherd, former Newcastle chairman who hired and sacked Robson

"His enthusiasm was unbelievable. He just loved Newcastle," he told Sky Sports News.

"When he first joined us, we asked in London did he want the job? He said 'yeah, I don't want to talk about wages, I just want to be up there today'.

"His enthusiasm was fantastic."

Robson was sacked in August 2004.

"It was a board decision, we were a plc so it was a collective thing and I had to go along with it. I certainly didn't enjoy it. We stayed great friends, played golf etc. He was a great guy.

"He knew how to play me, there's always friction there (between chairman and manager) - it's part of the business but he knew how to play me and he's done it very successfully!"

Sir John Hall, former Newcastle chairman:

"He's a legend at Newcastle," he told Sky Sports News. "He's probably our most successful manager in recent years. He took us into Europe.

"I often wonder what would the success of the club be like if people realise we approached him while he was manager of Barcelona.

"He wanted to come to the club but he said 'I've got a contract at Barcelona, I've got to see it out'. That was a measure of the honesty of the man.

"If we'd got him two to three years before he came I reckon we would have had tremendous success. He was a great manager. He just knew the game, he was dedicated to it."

Simon Clegg, Ipswich chief executive

"This is a very sad day for Ipswich Town football club and the world of football in general.

"Sir Bobby was held in the highest esteem within the local community and in particular by generations of supporters of this football club.

"He will be greatly missed by all.

"On behalf of Ipswich Town, I would like to send our deepest sympathies to Sir Bobby's family.''

PSV Eindhoven issued a statement on their website

"PSV have heard about the sad news that former head coach Sir Bobby Robson passed away this morning at the age of 76 years," the statement said.

"Robson was an icon from British football and he had enormous popularity among our fans.

"The last, warm, meeting between PSV and Robson took place last year in the summer in Newcastle, where PSV played a friendly match in the pre-season against the Magpies.

"Robson came and talked about his memories with everyone from the club, where he worked between 1990 and 1992 and from 1998 to 1999. Despite his already fragile health, Sir Bobby shone and enjoyed seeing PSV one more time."

Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa, Porto president

"Bobby Robson was a great master of the football world, who evokes great nostalgia and pride for being double champion with FC Porto.

"His qualities as a coach were exceptional but his strength in the period of his illness was an example of strength and will to live that I will never forget."

Vitor Baia, former Porto player

"A person who was special as a coach and as a man has died. For all he gave to football, he will surely never be forgotten.

"I remember the moments of great achievements, both in the service of FC Porto, and at Barcelona.

"There were many moments of shared emotions, of shared joy, when he was already suffering, but without ever losing his very real and very contagious humour."

Jose Eduardo Bettencourt, Sporting Lisbon president:

"Bobby Robson was a great sportsman and a great footballing man known around the world.

"Sporting give our condolences to the family and the English Football Association.

"I keep an excellent memory of him. Bobby Robson was a great coach and it was a mistake that Sporting made to sack him.

"It was one of Sporting's rash decisions."

Rafael Benitez, Liverpool manager

"The death of Sir Bobby is a sad loss to football.

"His record in many different countries was testament to his talents as an outstanding manager, and he clearly never lost his tremendous passion and enthusiasm for the game.

"He will be sorely missed by all of us."

Harry Redknapp, Tottenham manager

"He was a great football man, a real family man," he told Sky Sports 2

"I was with him just a couple of weeks ago at a dinner, a charity weekend. He was there raising money for orphaned kiddies in Portugal as well as raising money for his cancer research. He was just amazing. He'll be sorely missed.

"He was a fantastic football manager, probably the most enthusiastic football man I've ever met in my life.

"Look at the job he did at Ipswich, and all over the world. I've never met a man with more enthusiasm and passion for football."

Gianfranco Zola, West Ham manager

"There are wonderful memories.

"He is a man I respected very much. He was always positive and always smiling.

"He has been a great ambassador for football in general and I pay my respects to him. He is a big loss for us."

Richard Scudamore, Premier League chief executive

"It's a real shame. Obviously our thoughts go out to his family.

"Anyone who spent any time in his company was enriched. The great thing about Bobby was he made you feel you knew him well.

"He always had time to speak toyou and share his passion for the game."

Howard Wilkinson, chairman of the League Managers' Association

"My best memories of Bobby are the funny ones, all the more funny because he remained blissfully unaware, nor offended that his faux pas became a source of such fun.

"At one England Under-21 gathering, I selected Shola Ameobi who was a young striker at Newcastle under him. Bobby had also bought at great expense Carl Cort, a striker from Wimbledon.

"Shola had about six Christian names, most of them, to me, unpronounceable and in an attempt to put him at his ease on his debut performance, I called the lad over and asked him what Bobby called him when he was at the club.

"With absolutely no sense of resentment, rather more with a sense of love and understanding, Shola said, 'Carl Cort, mostly'.

"At a time when 'great' and 'world class' are sometimes too freely ascribed, the descriptions underscore Sir Bobby Robson. He was truly a great and world class person."

Juventus released a statement

"On the date of the sixth anniversary of the death of president Vittorio Chiusano, the world of football lost another great personality.

"In the early hours of the morning Bobby Robson, who was one of the symbols of English and European football, passed away.

"He was a footballer but above all a winning manager.

"Juventus also join in the mourning and offer their support to his family."

Martin Jol, Ajax manager

"Bobby Robson was a real football legend.

"He had something special and he also almost always turned his teams into champions. That is exceptional.

"He was a man who never gave up and over and over again he showed up in public. He was a striking personality."

Alan Hansen, former Scotland international

"Bobby took a lot of criticism in 1986 but if you looked at the sides England had in 1982, 2002 or 2006 the players they had in terms of ability were far above those Bobby had," he said.

"Bobby could have won the World Cup in 1990 with what I thought was an average side.

"I had some dealings with him when filming documentaries and he was a bit like Bill Shankly.

"When you spoke with Bill or with Bobby you had a conversation for an hour and a half and you didn't have to say anything.

"He poured the tea and then it was 40 minutes straight off talking about Barcelona or Newcastle or what he was planning. His passion was phenomenal."

Denis Law, Manchester United legend

"I was extremely sad to hear the news about Bobby. I was with him last year at a charity event in Portugal where he was raising funds for an orphanage over there with a friend of mine and he was struggling a bit [with illness] then. He got up to make a speech and I thought he'd probably just do a few minutes, but he ended up speaking for half an hour! I couldn't believe it, but that was Bobby all over. He was enthusiastic about everything he did.

"Not only was he a wonderful player and manager, he was a wonderful man and a very brave man."

Sunderland issued a statement

"Sir Bobby, one of the north east's favourite sons and a regular at Sunderland fixtures at the Stadium of Light, transcended the clubs he represented both on and off the field to become a respected figure across the entire world football community,

"The club would like to pass its sincere condolences to Lady Elsie and Sir Bobby's family at this very sad time."

Gerry Sutcliffe, Minister for Sport

"Sir Bobby Robson was one of the towering figures of English football.

"His record at club, European and international level speaks for itself.

"He was a much-loved and respected figure who lived and breathed football at every level , and in the right spirit, and his passion for the game was infectious. He will be sorely missed."

Lord Mawhinney, Football League chairman

"I am hugely saddened to hear the news of Sir Bobby's death," he said. "He was one of the greats of the English game and will be remembered as a fine player for club and country, an outstanding manager and an ambassador for the sport that he loved.

"He has shown tremendous courage throughout his battle with illness, selflessly raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity from which many others will benefit.

"The thoughts of the Football League, our clubs and their supporters are with Bobby's family and friends today. We will miss him."

Gordon Brown, British Prime Minister

"I was extremely saddened to hear of the death of Sir Bobby Robson,'' Mr Brown said.

"I had the privilege of meeting Bobby on many occasions. He epitomised everything that is great about football in this country.

"His passion, patriotism, dedication and professionalism knew no equal during his time both as a player and a manager.

"His remarkable achievements as manager of Ipswich Town and then of England are among the most distinguished in English football history, and he was able to replicate that extraordinary success during his time at PSV Eindhoven, Porto and Barcelona.

"Over the past few years, he fought cancer with his characteristic tenacity and good humour.

"He will be sorely missed - not only in Newcastle and Ipswich, both of whom he served with such devotion, but by all sports fans in our country.

"My sincere condolences go to his wife Elsie and his family.''

Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister

"Sir Bobby was one of the nicest, most caring and genuine people I ever met - a real Geordie gentleman.

"He was, of course, an outstanding coach, but he was also immensely generous with his time and energy across a range of charitable activities.

"It was a privilege to have known him."

Lance Armstrong, American cyclist who survived cancer

"Sad to hear about Sir Bobby Robson's passing, legendary England football manager and hero to millions the world over."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

"It was a shock because Bobby was a man of exceptional stature and someone I loved because he had an optimistic view of mankind and a positive vision for football.

"We will miss him sadly because people miss people of his stature and vision. It's a very sad day for English football but also football overall."

The Football Association of Ireland

"It was with great sadness that the Football Association of Ireland today learned of the death of Sir Bobby Robson.

"A legend in the world of football, Sir Bobby acted as International Football Consultant for the FAI from January 2006 until November 2007, after which he continued as an Ambassador for the FAI.

"The FAI today expressed its sympathy to Sir Bobby's wife, Lady Elsie, and their three sons."

Jack Charlton, former Republic of Ireland manager

"He was a dedicated man in finding out about other teams - he was always at football matches," Charlton told Sky Sports News.

"I liked Bob - he was a good lad, a good friend of mine."

David Blood, FAI president

"Sir Bobby was a legend in the world of football and it was with great sadness that I learned of his passing this morning. We were honoured when Sir Bobby joined the association and throughout his time involved with the FAI his knowledge and passion for the game was invaluable.

"Aside from his many successes on the pitch, Sir Bobby will be best remembered for his humour, his decency and his well deserved reputation as one of the true gentlemen of the game.

"On behalf of the FAI, I would like to extend my sincerest sympathies to his family. Sir Bobby gave so much to the world of football and he will be greatly missed."

John Delaney, FAI chief executive

"Sir Bobby's contribution to the sport of football is immeasurable. His success was rooted in the fact that he was a thoroughly genuine man and was at all times an absolute gentleman.

"Sir Bobby represented football and the FAI with the pride, passion and dignity which earned him a place in the hearts of football fans around the world. He will be sadly missed."

Damien Duff, Newcastle United and Republic of Ireland

“You just have to look at he outpouring around the towns. He is not only a legend in Newcastle and around the country but around the world. It’s a sad day.”