Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sir Bobby Robson

The weekend before last, on Sunday afternoon, my Wife and I were pottering around the house when I turned on the TV to see what was on.

On one of the sports channels, there was a charity football game between England and Germany. This wasn't any old football match between the two historical foes. This was the teams from the 1990 world cup semi-final meeting again for the Sir Bobby Robson foundation.

Sir Bobby Robson was the England coach for both the 1986 & 1990 world cups. It says a lot for Bobby's standing in the game that so many former players, not to mention a full crownd at St James' Park in Newcastle turned out for the occasion.

Before the game, they wheeled Bobby out in front of the crowd and I was shocked to see how bad he looked. After four previous fights with cancer, Bobby had been diagnosed a fifth time with terminal lung cancer in 2008.

The reason I mention this now is that sadly, Sir Bobby Robson died on Friday and the football world lost one of it's greats.

The 1990 world cup holds a lot of memories for me. It is the first world cup where I watched pretty much every game. England started slowly but made it to the semi-finals, the furthest they'd got since 1966.

If you're not familiar with the outcome of that England-Germany semi final, the Germans won on penalties and it remains the only game of football I have cried over.

The game itself was full of drama, from the Germans' first lucky goal, to Gary Lineker scuffing in an equaliser, to Gazza getting booked and the tears of missing the final should England get through.

A penalty shoot out is a horrible way to lose a world cup semi final. I was 12 years old and after Chris Waddle and Stuart Pearce missed their kicks to let the Germans through, I calmly went into the kitchen and cried for about five minutes, hoping no one else came in. No one did and I wiped my eyes and rejoined the family in the living room.

One of my favourite memories of Bobby Robson is the legendary story of when he greeted England Captain Bryan Robson one day with a 'Morning Bobby.'

To which Captain Marvel replied 'I'm Bryan, you're Bobby'.

For so many reasons, Sir Bobby Robson will be missed.

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