Robson's ten best signings

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The Independent Football

Sir Bobby Robson spent 36 years as a club manager working with some of the best players in the world.

During his time at Fulham, Ipswich, PSV Eindhoven, Sporting Lisbon, Porto, Barcelona and Newcastle, he used his judgement of talent to recruit a series of top signings.

Here, we take a look at ten of his best swoops:


During his short spell in charge at Craven Cottage, Robson paid non-league Tonbridge £1,000 for left-back Macdonald in the belief he had what it would take to become a dangerous centre-forward. History would prove him right as Macdonald became 'Supermac' at Newcastle, where he scored 138 goals in 258 appearances before winning a £333,333 move to Arsenal.


Robson often spoke of Beattie, a man who revelled in the alternative nicknames of "the Beast" and "Diamond", in the same breath as Brazilian striker Ronaldo. Unearthed as a 16-year-old, the pacy Carlisle born-defender played for England at just 19, but his career was ended prematurely by a knee injury.


Singapore-born Butcher was another to emerge from the ranks to provide a rock solid foundation for Ipswich and England. His partnership with Russell Osman establish him as a legend at Portman Road, and his at times blood-spattered heroics for his country earned him wider acclaim.


Spotted as a 15-year-old by Town scout George Findlay, Wark made his debut as a central defensive replacement for the injured Beattie at the age of 17 and never looked back. He was transformed into a goalscoring midfielder and won a £450,000 move to Liverpool in 1984, although he was to have two further spells with the Suffolk club.


A £220,000 signing from Plymouth, striker Mariner was to star for both Ipswich and England before making a £150,000 move to Arsenal in 1984. Prolific for both club and country - he scored 13 goals in 35 international appearances - he was a major figure in Town's rise to domestic and European prominence.


Robson could barely believe his luck when he was able to snap up Twente Enschede midfielder Muhren for just £150,000 in August 1978. The cultured Dutchman helped Ispwich win the 1981 UEFA Cup before moving to Manchester United and then back to Ajax, and was part of the Holland side crowned European champions in 1988.


Signed for £220,000 from Twente six months after Muhren's arrival in England, Thijssen proved equally adept and popular at Portman Road. A player who could run at defenders, he provided a genuine threat and scored in both legs of the UEFA Cup final victory over AZ Alkmaar.


Having been told by Blackburn that Alan Shearer was not for sale, Robson perusaded Barcelona president Josep Luis Nunez to pay USD20million to former club PSV Eindhoven for 20-year-old Brazilian Ronaldo. He was richly rewarded as the striker scored 45 goals in 48 starts as the Catalans won three trophies during the manager's year in charge at the Nou Camp.


Signed by PSV from Heerenveen on his 22nd birthday for a then record £4.2million switch between Dutch clubs, van Nistelrooy was to score 31 goals in 34 games in a transitional period for the club. Robson saw enough during his second spell in Holland to know he had a big star on his hands, and that talent has since been exploited to the full by Manchester United and Real Madrid.


Eyebrows were raised when Robson paid Coventry £6million to take Bellamy to Newcastle in July 2001. But despite a series of run-ins, the fiery Welshman resurrected his career on Tyneside and established himself as a genuine Barclays Premiership striker before his fall-out with Graeme Souness saw him shown the door.