Former England manager Bobby Robson has died

Sir Alex Ferguson and Fabio Capello have led the tributes to former England manager Sir Bobby Robson, who died today aged 76.

Robson died at his home in County Durham this morning after a long battle against cancer. His wife Elsie was by his bedside.

Manchester United manager Ferguson said in a statement released by the League Managers' Association: "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."



England head coach Capello, now president of the LMA, said: "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."

Robson played for Fulham and West Brom during the 1950s and 1960s, and started his managerial career with Fulham in 1968. He went on to manage Ipswich, PSV Eindhoven, Sporting Lisbon, Porto, Barcelona and the club he supported as a boy, Newcastle.

He was England's most successful manager after Sir Alf Ramsey. In the 1982 World Cup his side fell victim to a complicated second group stage and exited the tournament without losing a single match.

In the 1986 World Cup, England were defeated by Argentina in the quarter-finals, thanks in large part to Diego Maradona's infamous 'hand of God' goal.

Four years later, Robson took England to the semi-finals of the World Cup in Italy losing on penalties to West Germany.

It was not until 1999, 31 years after he first became a manager, that Robson took the job he always seemed destined for: Newcastle United's manager.

A successful five-year spell saw the Magpies qualify twice for the Champions League but in 2004, he was dismissed after a poor start to the season.

Robson had beaten cancer on a number of occasions - bowel cancer in 1992, a malignant melanoma in 1995, and a tumour in his right lung and a brain tumour, both in 2006.

Last year he launched the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation to raise money for cancer research.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Robson "epitomised everything that is great about football in this country".

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

Former England and Newcastle captain Alan Shearer paid tribute to a "great man".

"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."

Glenn Hoddle, who played under Robson for England, told Sky Sports News: "He's the closest we've come to winning the World Cup (since 1966) - that's how good Bobby was."

Former England striker Gary Lineker, who played under Robson at the 1986 and 1990 World Cups, said: "He had a tremendous enthusiasm and passion for football and life and continued to retain this right to the last days of his life."

Former Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd said: "I worked every day with him for five years and that's when you see the character of a man. He was certainly the best manager I worked with."

Richard Caborn, former sports minister and now the Prime Minister's England 2018 World Cup bid representative, added: "He was a legend in the game and extremely helpful to me - his counsel was truly valued. He will be sorely missed as epitomising all the very best in English football."

Inter Milan boss Jose Mourinho owes much to Robson too - he was working as a schoolteacher when Robson gave him a job on his coaching staff at Sporting Lisbon before taking him with him to FC Porto and Barcelona.

Mourinho said: "It is difficult to accept such a person is no longer with us - but he is immortal because he leaves in everybody who knows him a mark of his personality - a great coach but, more than that, a great person.'

Scotland manager George Burley was just 15 and living in Ayrshire when Robson asked him to join Ipswich.

Burley said: "It was a big decision for me and my parents to make such a long journey at that age.

"But Sir Bobby was like a father to me, taking a personal interest in me right from the start, always checking whether I was happy; were the digs all right; was I getting the right food and so on. His support and enthusiasm was the perfect cure for homesickness and helped my career to get off the ground and thrive.

"I went on to play over 500 games for Ipswich in a side that drew inspiration from its manager.

"I could not possibly get my head round how my career would have gone had it not been for Sir Bobby Robson. I owe him everything and I only hope I can be guided by the example he showed me."

Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
News
peopleEnglishman managed the quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Flat out: Michael Flatley will return to the stage in his show Lord Of The Dance
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
i100
News
peoplePamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape