As mentioned previously, today marks the eighth anniversary of the death of the late and indisputably great Sir Bobby Robson.
While a dab hand at the practical side of the game, Sir Bobby also possessed a bewitching way with words, even if he didn’t always get them in quite the right order…
“We can’t replace Gary Speed. Where do you get an experienced player like him with a left foot and a head?”
“What can I say about Peter Shilton? Peter Shilton is Peter Shilton, and he has been Peter Shilton since the year dot.”
“I would have given my right arm to be a pianist.”
“People want success. It’s like coffee, they want instant.”
“We’re flying on Concorde. That’ll shorten the distance. That’s self-explanatory.”
“Some of the goals were good, some of the goals were sceptical.”
“I do want to play the short ball and I do want to play the long ball. I think long and short
balls is what football is all about.”
“If you count your chickens before they’ve hatched, they won’t lay an egg.”
“Gary Speed has never played better, never looked fitter, never been older.”
“Ray Wilkins’ day will come one night.”
“When Gazza was dribbling, he used to go through a minefield with his arm – a bit like you go through a supermarket.”
“We put on some good substitutes to hang onto the fort.”
“Denis Law once kicked me at Wembley in front of the Queen in an international. I mean, no man is entitled to do that, really.”
“Steve Hodge has been unfit for two weeks… well, no, for 14 days.”
“The margin is very marginal.”
“Home advantage gives you an advantage.”
“I played cricket for my local village. It was 40 overs per side, and the team that had the most runs won. It was that sort of football.”
“Well, we got nine and you can’t score more than that.”
“In a year’s time, he’s a year older.”
“Look at those olive trees! They’re 200 years old – from before the time of Christ.”
“We’re taking 22 players to Italy, sorry, to Spain… where are we, Jim?”
“We didn’t underestimate Cameroon. They were a lot better than we thought”
“I’m not going to look beyond the semi-final but I would love to lead Newcastle out at the final”
“Anything from 1-0 to 2-0 would be a nice result.”
“The first 90 minutes are the most important.”
You really can’t say fairer than that!
Bless him. A great man with a big heart, and often unwittingly hilarious too.
RIP Sir Bobby, you are still sorely missed.
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(A version of this article first appeared on Pies in August 2009.)