Sir Bobby Robson is one of the most respected people in football at the present. Sir Bobby returned to his native North-East in September 1999 for Newcastle with he said would be his last job.
A Newcastle supporter since childhood, County Durham-born Robson started out as a player with Fulham, whom he joined from his local club Langley Park Juniors in 1950, and as an forward he scored 68 goals in 152 games.
In March 1956, Robson joined West Bromwich Albion, where he played 239 times, netting 56 goals, before returning to Fulham 10 years later, where he played a further 192 games, scoring nine goals. With West Bromwich, Robson made his England debut against France at Wembley in November 1957, scoring twice in a 4-0 win.
Despite that success, he had to wait six months for his second cap and it came against against Russia in Moscow. He played well and made the 1958 World Cup squad and went on to collect 20 caps in the next four years.
In 1967 Robson left Fulham to become player-coach of Vancouver Royals in Canada, but the job fell through and he returned to take over as full time manager at Fulham, l in January 1968, leaving behind his playing days. Fulham were already bottom of the old First Division, but Robson carried on into the 1968-69 Second Division season and was sacked in November 1968 after a poor start.
Two months he was appointed manager of Ipswich Town and after two difficult years he embarked on a magnificent run of success which catapulted Ipswich into the top realms of English football. Playing stylish football, Ipswich took the 1978 FA Cup and the 1981 UEFA Cup under Robson.
After the poor England 1982 World Cup campaign, Robson was the FA's choice to replace Ron Greenwood as the England manager and in 1986 he led them to the World Cup quarter-finals. Four years later, in Italy, he steered England to the semi-final, where they were beaten only on penalties by West Germany.
Robson left England and went back into club managment. By now he was known throught the globe, and PSV Eindhoven snapped him up. Sir Bobby won the 1991 and 1992 Dutch Championships before going to Sporting Lisbon in Portugal. However, he was sacked controversially in December 1993, even when Lisbon were top of the league.
A few weeks later, Robson was appointed head coach at FC Porto - and masterminded that seasons Portuguese Cup Final victory over Sporting Lisbon. He then led Porto to two League Championships before leaving to take over at mighty Barcelona. Robson won a Spanish Cup and the 1997 European Cup-Winners Cup, and finished runners up in La Liga.
But Robson had to concede his role as coach to Louis van Gaal and was appointed Technical Director in charge of transfers. He then proved his loyalty in Brcelona, by refusing to take over as boss of Newcastle in January 1997 when Kevin Keegan left the club.
At the end of the season, Robson returned to PSV Eindhoven on a one-year contract, but then left to take over the job he wanted so much all his life, Newcastle United. Aged 66, Sir Bobby took the hotseat at struggling Toon, and steered then off the bottom of the table to an 11th place finish in 1999-00. He also took them to the FA Cup semi final, but lost against Chelsea.
He carried on working hard at Newcastle, and he then took Newcastle back into Europe via a 4th place position and a Champions League spot for 2001-02. He was finally given a long awaited knighthood from the Queen in June 2002 in her Birthday Honour's List.
Sir Bobby continued to re-structure Newcastle, and sure enough they improved on the placing in 2001-02 to finish third in the table, after challenging Manchester United and Arsenal for the title all the way through the season. Sir Bobby has said he won't retire until he's brought trophies back to St James', and who wouldn't rule out our chances of silverwear next season?