Tributes pour in for football legend Sir Bobby Robson

Football rivalries were put to one side tonight as tributes poured in for one of England's greatest managers, Sir Bobby Robson, whose death from cancer was announced earlier in the day.

Football rivalries were put to one side tonight as tributes poured in for one of England's greatest managers, Sir Bobby Robson, whose death from cancer was announced earlier in the day.

Sir Bobby, who guided Ipswich Town to FA Cup and UEFA Cup glory in 1978 and 1981 respectively, lost his long battle with cancer. He was 76.

His energy, enthusiasm and passion for the game never waned despite his deteriorating health and he was remembered fondly by clubs he played for and managed.

The former Fulham, PSV Eindhoven, Sporting Lisbon, FC Porto, Barcelona, and Newcastle boss took England to the World Cup semi-finals in Italy in 1990 where only Germany prevented him securing a place in the final.

It was at a meeting between those same two teams last Sunday, as part of a match in aid of Sir Bobby's cancer charity, that he made his last public appearance in front of his adoring Newcastle fans at St James's Park.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Sir Bobby 'epitomised everything that was great about football in this country' while former Newcastle and England captain Alan Shearer said it was a 'very sad day.'

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Closer to home former Norwich City managers and players lined up to pay their respects.

Former Norwich City boss Ken Brown who locked managerial horns with him a number of times during his days in charge of City said: 'He was good for football and a legend in his own right.'

Mr Brown, who led City to Milk Cup triumph in 1985, went on: 'He was just Mr Football. I know we were rivals but on and off the park we would always end up with a handshake and a laugh even if we had an argument. At the end of the day it was all about football; some you won and some you lost.

'He lived his life to the full for football. He followed the tradition of Sir Alf Ramsey and did it very, very well indeed. It speaks for itself what he's done.'

Brown, 75, who managed the Canaries between 1980 and 1987, said he had not seen Sir Bobby for some time but had been saddened to see his decline through cancer.

'I've seen him get gradually worse and worse with his illness,' he said. 'It's a sad loss. He served football very well from a player until the day he passed away. He was still doing things involving football even to his last days and he wouldn't have wanted it any other way. He really loved his football.'

Current City boss Bryan Gunn said Sir Bobby would be remembered as a 'great ambassador for the game'.

'Over the last two summers I've played in Sir Bobby's golf day in Portugal and I was only with him at the beginning of the month,' said Gunn.

'Although he was in a wheelchair his spirits were high and he was there as jovial as ever. He leaves a great legacy for football and football managers and it's a very sad day for football.'

Born in County Durham on 18 February 1933, the son of a miner returned to the north-east more than 50 years after his father Philip and brother Ron used to join him on the terraces at St James' Park every other Saturday.

It was to be the former England coach's last major role in football. Robson was sacked by the Magpies in August 2004 and, despite a short spell as a consultant to the Republic of Ireland team, at the time of his death, his remaining links to football were as honorary president at the club where he made his name as a manager, Ipswich Town, and as an ambassador for the Football Association of Ireland.

Known for the battling qualities he instilled in his teams, Robson also fought cancer five times.

In December 2007, he received the lifetime achievement award at the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year show, presented by his friend, the Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

As a player, Robson, who played as a wing half, was a key member of the Fulham and West Brom team during the 1950s and 1960s and also won 20 caps for England.

But it was in management that he established himself as one of the greats of the game.

He arrived at unfashionable Ipswich in 1969 and during his 13 years at the helm, he won the FA Cup in 1978, Uefa Cup in 1981, and twice led the Portman Road outfit to the runners-up spot in the old First Division.