Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

How Ballroom Dancing Put Sparkle into Cup Campaign; Unusual Training Regime Is Revealed by 1969 Hero

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

How Ballroom Dancing Put Sparkle into Cup Campaign; Unusual Training Regime Is Revealed by 1969 Hero

Article excerpt

Byline: LISA HUTCHINSON Reporter lisa.hutchinson@reachplc.com @lisachron

HE was a Newcastle United legend and helped bring home the Fairs Cup in 1969.

And now Bryan 'Pop' Robson has revealed how he perfected his nimble footwork and brilliant balance - putting it down to his ballroom-dancing in-laws.

Pop was at the Fairs Club 50th anniversary dinner when he told The Chronicle about his unusual training regime.

And he choked back tears as he reminisced about the good old days when his father-in-law and motherin-law, Lenny and Molly Heppell, would teach him their dance moves to make him a better player.

And in particular he thanked Lenny, who died 10 years ago at the age of 90, for being a fantastic influence on his career.

It was during the summer of 1968 that Pop was playing lots of golf when the football season had ended. But it was Lenny who said he had to ditch his clubs to take up dancing to improve his pitch performance.

He did dance training for hours each day with Lenny as he put his best foot forward and he was also playing ping pong with his international table tennis player wife Maureen to make him more agile.

"I was playing in the Newcastle team and was playing 21 games and scoring nine goals. I was playing a lot of golf, playing every day in the summer period, morning and afternoon," said Pop, 73, of Hexham.

"And my father-in-law said, 'You'd better start concentrating on your football'. I said, 'What do you mean?' and he said, 'Well, you have to move quick and you need to be in better balance.' "Lenny and Molly were professional ballroom dancers and they KINGSTON GATESHEAD: HEXHAM: HETTON: BENTON: had the Fandango nightclub in Hexham, and he said, 'Put your golf clubs away and all the summer we'll do training.' "Maureen was number one in England at table tennis at junior level and number three at senior, so we played table tennis a lot. …

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