Robson to have brain surgery to remove tumour

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The former England manager Sir Bobby Robson yesterday revealed he is to undergo brain surgery to remove a tumour. The 73-year-old was taken ill while watching Ipswich a fortnight ago and was suspected to have suffered a stroke.

Tests carried out since then revealed a "very small tumour", which will be removed on Wednesday. He is expected to make a full recovery.

Robson said: "I had a scan to assess why I felt unwell and had to leave the game at Ipswich early, and the doctors discovered a small, operable tumour that caused an affliction on the left side of my face.

"On Wednesday I will have an operation to remove the tumour and, as surgeons tell me the rest of my body is clean, I should be able to make a full recovery.

"The tumour is in my brain, which sounds bad, but it is in a position where it can be removed easily and it's extremely small - the size of a grape - which indicates they have caught it early. Apart from the funny turn at the match, I have felt great, so it's a bit annoying that I have to go into hospital again.

"Having successfully fought cancer three times, I am confident of getting through this as well."

The County Durham-born footballing statesman, who managed his boyhood heroes Newcastle, had a golf ball-sized tumour removed from a lung in May.

In 1995, he was discovered to have a rare form of skin cancer behind an eye, and underwent complex surgery. Three years before that, he survived bowel cancer.

Robson, currently an international consultant for the Republic of Ireland, took England to the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup.

He went on to manage with great success across Europe, before ending his club career at Newcastle.

A spokeswoman for Robson thanked his fans for their good wishes.

In a statement, she said: "Since being taken ill at Ipswich on 5 August, Sir Bobby has undergone extensive tests to determine the cause of the problem.

"Sir Bobby has been diagnosed with a very small tumour on his brain and will undergo surgery to remove it. He is in good spirits and his doctors anticipate a complete recovery.

"Sir Bobby would like to take this opportunity of thanking the many well-wishers who have inquired about his health."

Robson will be unavailable for Ireland's opening Euro 2008 qualifier against Germany in Stuttgart on 2 September.

But the Football Association of Ireland are hopeful he will be able to resume his duties alongside manager Steve Staunton for the games against Cyprus and the Czech Republic in early October.

An FAI spokesman said: "It's unfortunate that Sir Bobby won't make it to Germany. Our next match is on 7 October away to Cyprus and obviously the situation will be clearer following Bobby's surgery, which we all hope will be a complete success."