Sir Bobby Robson dies

SIR Bobby Robson has died, aged 76. The former Newcastle United and England manager passed away just days after 33,000 supporters and a host of legends showed their appreciation for one of football's all-time greats at a St James's Park charity match.

Sir Bobby Robson
Sir Bobby Robson

SIR Bobby Robson has died, aged 76.

The former Newcastle United and England manager passed away just days after 33,000 supporters and a host of legends showed their appreciation for one of football's all-time greats at a St James's Park charity match.

A statement released by his spokesman this morning said: "It is with great sadness that it has been announced today that Sir Bobby Robson has lost his long and courageous battle with cancer.

"He died very peacefully this morning at his home in County Durham with his wife and family beside him.

"Sir Bobby’s funeral will be private and for family members only. A thanksgiving service in celebration of Sir Bobby’s life will be held at a later date for his many friends and colleagues.

"Lady Robson and the family would very much appreciate it if their privacy could be respected at this difficult time."

Just five days ago thousands of football fans crowded into Newcastle United's St James's Park to pay tribute to Sir Bobby and raise funds for his cancer charity.

The friendly game featured an England side including Alan Shearer and several members of the 1990 World Cup squad. including Paul Gascoigne. They beat a Germany team 3-2.

One of Sir Bobby’s most memorable games as England boss was the 1990 World Cup semi-final when England lost on penalties to Germany in Italy.

Before the kick-off of Sunday’s game a guard of honour gave fans and players a chance to show their appreciation of Sir Bobby, who shook the hand of every player.

Proceeds from the match went towards The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, launched in March 2008.

The foundation has raised more than £1.3m to fight cancer.

Biographer Bob Harris paid tribute to Sir Bobby’s fight against cancer, saying the way he had battled five bouts of serious illness made him start to think he was ``immortal".

``He was a lovely lovely man," he told Sky News. ``The way I will remember him is that he was a genuine, real football man who loved the game beyond everything else."

Mr Harris said he had a ``great attitude" to the sport wherever he played or managed.

He added: ``As a manager England was his greatest pinnacle.

``He always wanted to manage England. I think he would have liked to have carried on."

Sir Bobby was one of the most popular figures in football.

His exploits in the Italia 90 World Cup when England battled through to the semi-final made him the country’s most successful national boss since Sir Alf Ramsey.

Before that, his skill as a manager had nurtured Ipswich Town into a European force.

After leaving the England job, Sir Bobby managed club sides in Holland, Portugal and Spain, capturing the hearts of millions more fans along the way.

Five times he fought cancer and after his last diagnosis he devoted his time to raising money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, which kitted out a state-of-the art centre in his beloved Newcastle to fight the disease.

Such was the public’s regard for Sir Bobby that the £500,000 needed was raised in just seven weeks.

Fans from around the world contributed to what Sir Bobby hoped would be his most lasting legacy.

By his 76th birthday, the total was well over £1.2m.

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