Sadly on the 31st July 2009, the world of soccer lost a great legend. Often described as the "Godfather" of soccer in England and Europe, Sir Bobby Robson lost his fight against cancer and departed all of us.
I absolutely fell in love with soccer during the 1990 World Cup and being brought up in Singapore and being an avid follower of the old English Division 1 (that was just about the only league televised on Tele those days), it is no surprise that i was an England supporter during the World Cup. This was the period i absolutely am riveted by the talents of Robson and his 2 biggest stars in the team; Paul 'Gazza' Gascoigne and Gary Lineker.
In 1992, i became a fan of FC Barcelona after watching their European Cup Final win against Sampdoria. I was absolutely delighted when Robson took charge of Barca in 1996, thus seeing probably my fave manager at the time at my fave club. When Barca won thee 1997 European Cup Winners Cup with a young Ronaldo's penalty against PSG, i was again delighted.
I remember Bobby Robson jumping off his bench and holding his head in pure disbelief after Ronaldo scored a wonder solo goal against Compestela in the La Liga that season. That incident showed the great passion this man had for soccer. That season, Ronaldo was the top scorer in the whole of Europe.
During his Newcastle days, he manged to establish the club as a top 4 club, playing hte kind of soccer the Newcastle fans always demanded. Finishing 4th in 2001/02 and then 3rd the following season. Such an achievement with a Newcastle team that does not have a strong squad shows what a good manager he is.
During his time at his beloved Newcastle, we have seen him successfully managed the fiery likes of Kieron Dyer and Craig Bellamy. Til now, i do think that was the best period in Bellamy's stop start career. It is no surprise that Newcastle declined so drastically after Robson was sacked by Freddy Sheperd in 2005. This was certainly a very sad day for Bobby, who had so much affection for the club since he was a boy.
In his career, he has managed and got the best out of the likes of Romario, Ronaldo, Luis Figo, Luis Enrique (who he often describes as the most complete and hard working footballer). He is often described by many as a father figure. Gazza openly proclaims Sir Bobby as his second dad.
I once heard on radio a caller recalling an encounter that goes like this; he had parked his car and when opening his car door he accidentally hit the door of the car next to his, out came a man form the next car and it was Sir Booby, Sir Bobby said " no worries mate, i still have 3 more doors on my car". Such a the magnitude of the man to a complete stranger.
Although i was not old enough to witness it, i do think his achievement of bring the UEFA Cup and 2 runners up spot in the old Division 1 with Ipswich Town is truly amazing.
In the last few years, Bobby have fought against cancer. During this painful period, he was still actively involved with soccer. His passing certainly is a great great loss to the soccer world.
Our hearts goes out to his family and relatives.