Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sir Bobby's Talk Was Supposed to Last 30 Minutes. at a Quarter to Midnight He Got a Call on His Mobile Phone. Great Moments - but Were You There as Well?: A Man Who Made Every Visit Special

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sir Bobby's Talk Was Supposed to Last 30 Minutes. at a Quarter to Midnight He Got a Call on His Mobile Phone. Great Moments - but Were You There as Well?: A Man Who Made Every Visit Special

Article excerpt

Byline: Neil McKay

AT Tow Law Town football club on Saturday they held a minute's silence before kicking off a pre-season game against Workington Reds in memory of Sir Bobby Robson.

No different, then, from countless other grounds across Britain.

Except that at Tow Law, more than 1,000 feet above sea level and just a few miles from Sir Bobby's home village of Langley Park, the silence had a special resonance.

For Sir Bobby was Life President of the tiny County Durham club and had formed a special bond with its officials and supporters, helping out when it was strapped for cash after the foot-and-mouth outbreak which devastated the area in 2001.

In Tow Law they still talk about the time he came straight from St James's Park, where he was managing Newcastle United at the time, to give a talk on football to raise much-needed funds.

The talk - which he gave for free - was supposed to last around half an hour, but two-and-a-half hours later his mobile rang - at around 15 minutes before midnight.

It was his wife Elsie wondering where he had got to!

Tow Law supporter and Durham county councillor Joe Armstrong said: "That was typical of Sir Bobby.

"He never forgot where he was brought up. He got so engrossed in chatting to the locals in the clubhouse about football and signing autographs on whatever was thrust before him that he completely forgot the time.

"But Lady Elsie is also a wonderful, down-to-earth woman. She would have known he would have been in full flow chatting about football when she rang him."

In Langley Park they still talk about the time that, as manager of Ipswich Town, he brought both the FA Cup and the Uefa Cup "home."

Retired miner Frank Powell, 87, who now lives in what was Sir Bobby's late father Philip's bungalow in Browney Court, said: "There were hundreds turned out when he brought the Uefa Cup to Langley Park in 1981. It was like a visit from royalty. …

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