Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

An Icon Who Gave Us Back Our Sense of Pride

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

An Icon Who Gave Us Back Our Sense of Pride

Article excerpt

Byline: Lee Ryder Chief sports writer lee.ryder@trinitymirror.com

WHENEVER fans wonder if following Newcastle United is all worth it after a bad defeat or a miserable bus journey home after an away-day disaster, it is probably a good time to pop on any DVD featuring Sir Bobby Robson.

His passion will always epitomise everything that is good about watching the Magpies.

Today marks the FA's Sir Bobby Robson National Football Day.

A great idea and one that is designed to get everybody back involved with grassroots football, with events taking place all over the country inspired by Robson.

No doubt memories of Sir Bobby will come flooding back, and let's be honest there are enough to last us a lifetime.

Sir Bobby has left a lot of legacies since he sadly passed away in 2009 but his memories will always remain golden to supporters.

I always think back to when Robson first arrived as manager at Newcastle back in 1999. The mood could hardly have been lower.

Having lost 2-1 to Sunderland in monsoon conditions on a night when Alan Shearer and Duncan Ferguson watched on helplessly for large parts of the contest, the Magpies found themselves stranded near the foot of the table. But Sir Bobby lifted the city.

Just listening to his interviews gave Geordie fans the feelgood factor again.

And after Ruud Gullit's management had left fans frustrated and concerned about their team, Sir Bobby began to build up some pride again.

He took the club from the bottom of the Premier League to the very top.

True, Newcastle didn't stay there but having tapped into the crowd he underlined the importance of it to his players.

There's no doubt in my mind that when Robson came in as manager, Newcastle were heading for relegation.

Within two years they were challenging for the title and playing in the Champions League.

If that shows anything it shows the potential that will always be at St James' Park.

Alan Pardew managed Newcastle to a fifth-place finish just over a year ago to again show that there is a snowball effect in this city that doesn't exist at every football club. Both Sir Bobby and Kevin Keegan showed that, Pardew has too to an extent, and can do so again if he plays his cards right.

Newcastle challenged for the title in 2002 and 2003 and Bobby's take on the situation was exactly right: "We might not win it.

"But we can challenge for it."

When talking about rubbing shoulders with Barcelona and Inter Milan, he said: "I wouldn't say getting into the Champions league was beyond our wildest dreams because we do have wild dreams."

Even during the bad timesBobby always had a way of making the fans feel better.

Remember when Dennis Bergkamp scored that wonderful goal at the Gallowgate End when he spun past the back four before stroking the ball home? …

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