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Football greats pay tribute to Sir Bobby

PUBLISHED: 10:05 01 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:16 06 July 2010

SIR Alex Ferguson and Fabio Capello have led the tributes to former England manager Sir Bobby Robson.

Manchester United manager Ferguson said in a statement released by the League Managers' Association: “I was never too big or proud to ask him for advice which he gave freely and unconditionally.

SIR Alex Ferguson and Fabio Capello have led the tributes to former England manager Sir Bobby Robson.

Manchester United manager Ferguson said in a statement released by the League Managers' Association: “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.

“In my 23 years working in England there is not a person I would put an inch above Bobby Robson. 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 coal face; developed by the Durham County mining background that he came from.

“His parents instilled in him the discipline and standards which forged the character of a genuinely colossal human being. He added his own qualities to that which then 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.”

England head coach Capello, now president of the LMA, said: “Sir Bobby was a wonderful man, a real gentleman.

“It's extremely sad that Sir Bobby has lost his final fight against cancer, but he will never be forgotten. He really was a great man.

“To manage the national team for so long was a remarkable achievement, and we all remember how close he came to leading England to the World Cup final in Italy.”

Former England and Newcastle captain Alan Shearer paid tribute to a “great man”.

“He will be sadly missed by everyone, not just by people in the football world but from all walks of life,” Shearer said.

“It's a very sad day for everyone, especially his family, his close friends and anyone who's ever worked with him.”

Glenn Hoddle, who played under Robson for England, told Sky Sports News: “He's the closest we've come to winning the World Cup (since 1966) - that's how good Bobby was.”

Former England striker Gary Lineker, who played under Robson at the 1986 and 1990 World Cups, said: “He had a tremendous enthusiasm and passion for football and life and continued to retain this right to the last days of his life.”

Former Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd said: “I worked every day with him for five years and that's when you see the character of a man. He was certainly the best manager I worked with.”

Former England midfielder Ray Wilkins said Sir Bobby was a “smashing guy” who “lived his life with humility”.

“Everyone had the utmost respect for him,” he told Sky News, adding that players were willing to “run through a brick wall” for him.

“He handled people in the right fashion and I think that was his major strength.

“He was a joy to be around.”


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