Sir Bobby Robson's widow has thanked fans from across the country after events were held to honour the much-loved manager.
Over the weekend aspiring players took to the pitch as part of the Sir Bobby Robson National Football Day. On Saturday young football fans all over the region celebrated the Football Association’s special day in memory of Sir Bobby.
The national day, which is part of The FA’s 150th anniversary, saw 150 community events take place across the country.
At the Sir Bobby Robson Centre in Ushaw Moor, County Durham, Lady Elsie Robson, Sir Bobby’s widow, received a cheque for £25,000 from The FA’s Club England managing director Adrian Bevington for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
She said: “I’m sure Bob would have been thrilled having a National Football Day named in his honour. He was always so incredibly passionate about football. He just loved it, whatever level it was being played at.
“He was lucky enough to play and manage at the top of the game but he was just as enthusiastic talking to youngsters about their junior club matches.”
Their son Andrew, also at the event in Ushaw Moor, said: “I think it is great that the FA put this day on. Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves.
“We are really pleased to see so many people here. It is a really good idea and I hope the individuals and youngsters who are playing enjoy themselves.
“I think my dad would have been in awe of a day like this, he would be amazed and I am sure he would have loved to have been here if he could.”
Also watching the young football talent at Ushaw Moor was assistant manager John Carver, who was Sir Bobby’s number two.
He said: “It’s great to see so many kids with a smile on their face. Families and a lot of parents who have brought brothers and sisters because they want to be part of Sir Bobby Robson Day.
“I have seen two or three decent little players today, but they are only eight or nine. I hope we have some scouts here today.”
Proud parents watched from the sidelines as the youngsters played. Grandfather Dennis Corrigan said his grandson Tyler, eight, had been excited about the day at Ushaw Moor.
“It is a brilliant day and it is fantastic for all the family. It is nice to see Lady Elsie here as well as John Carver,” said Dennis, of Sacriston in County Durham.
“Tyler has been looking forward to this day for ages.”
Lady Elsie then travelled to Newcastle United’s St James’ Park as a wreath was laid at the Sir Bobby Robson statue before the club’s pre-season friendly with SC Braga.
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew said: “Sir Bobby wasn’t just a special manager, he was a special person. His warmth and enthusiasm inspired anyone who had the fortune to meet him or work for him and his presence continues to be felt in what we do at Newcastle United today.
“It’s fitting that the Football Association has named its National Football Day after someone who did so much to champion all that is good about our national game. It’s a day we’re very proud to support.”
Others events were held across the North, including footballs days at Swans Recreation Ground in Newcastle and Hillheads Park in Whitley Bay.