Memorial service held for Sir Bobby Robson in Durham Cathedral, England

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A memorial service was held in the Durham Cathedral in England to honour the late soccer manager Sir Bobby Robson.

Sir Bobby Robson in 2007
Image: rockface.

Sir Bobby Robson was born on February 18, 1933 and had died on July 31, 2009, aged 76 after a fifth, long battle with lung cancer. A memorial service was held on Monday to honour the late world-famous former football manager of Manchester United F.C. in County Durham, in the north of England. The service was broadcast live on Sky News and on Sky News Online. Football fans were also able to watch the ceremony on giant screens in St James' Park in Newcastle and in Ipswich town centre.

The congregation at the service was very large. It was attended by such famous people as Terry Venables, Sir Alex Ferguson, Paul Gascoigne, Gary Lineker, Katherine Jenkins, David Moyes, Harry Redknapp, Steve Bruce, Mick McCarthy, Ant & Dec, and a whole host of other celebrities. Gary Lineker paid tribute to Robson, and said: "He made me feel 7ft tall. When he first called me up for England, I was nervous arriving at the hotel in Wrexham for a game against Wales, meeting up with stars I idolised like Bryan Robson, but Bobby was waiting for me in reception. He'd seen something in my game I wasn't even aware of myself. He put me on the bench to face Wales but did bring me down to earth somewhat when he pointed at me with about 20 minutes to go and said: 'Get warmed up, Garth'."

"Sir Bobby was ... without question the single most enthusiastic and passionate man I've ever met in football."

Gary Lineker

Lineker also added: "Two World Cup campaigns and a European Championship over a six-year period was easily enough time for me to realise that Sir Bobby was indeed not just a brilliant leader of men, who brought the absolute best out of his players, but also without question the single most enthusiastic and passionate man I've ever met in football. From Ronaldo to Robson, from Gascoigne to Given, from Shilton to Shearer and from Wark to Waddle, the gaffer was hugely supportive and fiercely loyal. In return the players loved him and respected him. He was everything that was good about the game. He loved the game and the game loved him. He was a lion of a man – no, make that Three Lions," he said, referring to the nickname for the England national football club.

Robson's best man, Tom Wilson, said: "He had innate charm and a ready smile, but was modest all his life, even somewhat shy – though he had largely overcome that in later life. He was always passionate about football, had a deep love of his family and great loyalty to his old friends, with a touching and justifiable pride in his beautiful home up here in his beloved North-East. Friends have said to me you should never finish a eulogy with a cliche, such as 'we will never see his like again'. But we won't."

Bobby Robson played for five football clubs, one of them the England international football team. He also managed nine football teams across Europe. He had been survived by his wife Lady Elsie since their marriage in June 1955, and also survived by his three children Paul, Andrew and Mark. His family had held a private funeral service for him in August.