A Legend of English Soccer: Sir Bobby RobsonOne of England’s most beloved sporting figures, Sir Bobby Robson, yielded to his courageous fight with cancer recently at the age of 75. British soccer fans mourned his passing after a lifetime in the game, first as a player and then a team manager and elder statesman. Even the often snippy British press had nothing bad to say about the universally respected Robson, headlining their obituaries with adjectives like The Bravest Knight or simply The Legend.Robinson enjoyed a twenty year career as a player, split between the English Premier League clubs of Fulham and West Brom. He also earned twenty ‘caps’ in International play for England, scoring four goals.After his retirement in’68 as an active player, he found more fame as a team manager both in England and on the international level. In the EPL, his guidance transformed Ipswich Town from a laughing stock to a league powerhouse and he would lead the club for well over a decade. He would also serve as the England National Team manager for 8 years, before ending his career in British football with a stint as manager of Newcastle United that ended in 2004.Robson earned even more respect and admiration due to his public battle with cancer. Although a brain tumor left him partially paralyzed in 2006, he never wavered in his commitment to English football or to raising money and awareness for cancer treatment. After being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in 2007, he dedicated the rest of his life to helping others with the same diagnosis.Such was the respect for Robson that two other soccer icons not known for seeing eye to eye were quick to pay their respects. Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho gave this tributes shared his thoughts on Robson:“I wanted to and I will keep with me always the Bobby Robson of every day, a person who had extraordinary passion for life and for football, with an extraordinary enthusiasm. Bobby Robson is one of those people who never die, not so much for what he did in his career, for one victory more or less, but for what he knew to give to those who had, like me, the good fortune to know him and walk by his side. My thoughts and embraces go to all his loved ones.”Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson shared his own touching comments:“In my 23 years working in England there is not a person I would put an inch above him. I was never too big or proud to ask him for advice, which he gave freely and unconditionally. And I’m sure I am speaking for a lot of people when I say that. I mourn the passing of a great friend, a wonderful individual, a tremendous football man and somebody with passion and knowledge of the game that was unsurpassed.”“His character was hewn out of the coalface; developed by the County Durham mining background that he came from. His parents instilled in him the discipline and standards which forged the character of a colossal human being. He added his own qualities to that which he passed on to his sons. The strength and courage he showed over the past couple of years when battling against his fifth bout of cancer was indescribable. Always a smile, always a friendly word with never a mention of his own problems.”“The world, not just the football world, will miss him. Let’s hope it won’t be long before another like him turns up because we could never get enough of them.”Many EPL clubs will honor Robson in some form or another during the upcoming season with a number of more lasting tributes planned. Several statues and other permanent forms of remembrance are reportedly under consideration.Ross Everett is a consulting staff handicapper for Oddsbay sportsbook directory. He has written extensively on World Cup soccer betting, travel, fencing, horse racing and falconry. He lives in Southern Nevada with three dogs and a a pair of retired racing wombats.
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