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Pablo remembers Bobby's Spanish joy

PUBLISHED: 08:46 25 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:11 06 July 2010

PABLO Counago, when he discusses the impact of Sir Bobby Robson, does not immediately start talking about Ipswich, Newcastle or even England.

Instead, Town's Spanish marksman harps back to Sir Bobby's great cup-winning season at Barcelona, when the much-respected manager masterminded a cup treble.

PABLO Counago, when he discusses the impact of Sir Bobby Robson, does not immediately start talking about Ipswich, Newcastle or even England.

Instead, Town's Spanish marksman harps back to Sir Bobby's great cup-winning season at Barcelona, when the much-respected manager masterminded a cup treble.

Tomorrow, Counago is set to spearhead Town's attack against Newcastle, as Sir Bobby's two great passions cross swords at Portman Road, in front of a near-capacity crowd and in front of the BBC 2 TV cameras (kick-off 5.30pm).

This grand occasion will be marked by a ceremony, at half-time, to re-name the North Stand as “The Sir Bobby Robson Stand.”

Counago will be hoping to mark the occasion with a first goal of the season, as well as paying respect to the internationally-renowned manager.

“I was never lucky enough to meet him (Robson), but everyone has always spoken good of him,” explained Counago.

“We had a lot of respect for him in Spain, and that's where I know more of him, rather than Ipswich.

“He did really well in Spain, with Barcelona. He brought in some really good players, like Ronaldo and (Luis) Figo. I remember that well.

“Barcelona won the European Cup Winners Cup and the Spanish Cup, so he had a great team.

“Sir Bobby had a long career, with so many great clubs, and people always had good things to say about him as a person,” added Counago.

After his spell as England manager, which ended in 1990, Robson went to the continent to manage PSV Eindhoven (won the Dutch League in 1990-91 and 1991-92, returned in 1998), Sporting Clube de Portugal, FC Porto (successive League titles in 1994-95 and 1995-96) and then Barcelona.

He lifted three cups during his one and only season as a hands-on manager at the Nou Camp - the Spanish Cup (Copa del Rey), Spanish Super Cup and European Cup Winners' Cup - and was also voted the European Manager of the Year.

Robson stayed with Barcelona for one more season, but in the position of General Manager, with Louis van Gaal taking over the managerial reins.

Of course the Barcelona connection will be largely over-looked tomorrow, as Town try to secure their first league win of the season at the expense of second-placed Newcastle.

Counago, back to full fitness after injury, can't wait. He added: “This would be an ideal time to score my first goal of the season.

“I'll be looking for goals, both for me and the team.”

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