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Bobby Robson Biography

He is known as one of the best English football coaches of all time who had many successes in England and Europe. In this article, we will take a look at Bobby Robson biography.

Robert William Robson, better known as Bobby Robson, born 18 February 1933 in Sacriston and died 31 July 2009 in Durham, was an English footballer and football coach. He became most famous as a coach, a position he held for several European clubs, including European clubs, and the English national team.

Robson played for three clubs during his football career: Fulham, West Bromwich Albion and Vancouver, however, he had spent the majority of his playing career with West Bromwich Albion between 1956 and 1962. He also played 20 international games for England, in which he scored four times.

During his managerial career, he won national championships in the Netherlands and Portugal, cups in England and Spain and guided England national team to the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup in Italy. After Terry Venables, he is the last English coach to manage Barcelona.

Robson started having health problems in 1991. Several times he was diagnosed with cancer and in March 2008 he founded the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. It was announced in August of the same year that the lung cancer he was suffering from could no longer be cured. On 31 July 2009, he died from his illness.

All You Need to Know About Bobby Robson Biography

Bobby Robson was awarded numerous accolades and decorations for his outstanding achievements in football. Along with being awarded the Knight Bachelor, he won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in 2007, received the UEFA Order of Merit in 2009 for "services to the world of football" and the FIFA Fair Play award for excellence as a footballer and a gentleman on and off the field, among several others.

Bobby Robson Information

Now that we know the English coach much better, in this section of

Bobby Robson biography

we will share more general information about him such as

Bobby Robson nationality

to let you know him even better.

Bobby Robson Bio

  • Full Name: Robert William Robson

  • Nickname: Bobby Five-O

  • Profession: Professional Football Coach

Bobby Robson Physical Stats

  • Weight: 75 Kg

  • Height: 1.82 m

  • Eye Color: Hazel

  • Hair Color: Dark Brown

Bobby Robson Football Information

  • Position: Inside Forward

  • Jersey Number: 4

  • Professional Debut: 1950

Bobby Robson Date of Birth and Personal Info

  • Date of Birth: 18 February 1933

  • Birth Place: Sacriston, County Durham, England

  • Date of Death: 31 July 2009

  • Place of Death: County Durham, England

  • Zodiac Sign: Aquarius

  • Nationality: English

Now stay tuned to this section of

Bobby Robson biography

as we want to share some info about

Bobby Robson childhood


Bobby Robson Early Life

He was born on 18 February 1933 in Sacriston, County Durham. His parents were Philip and Lilian Robson and he had four brothers. His parents were Philip and Lilian Robson and he was the fourth of five children. As a young boy, his family relocated to Langley Park, a village in County Durham in which his father worked as a miner.

There was no bathtub in their two-bedroom house, and there was no outdoor toilet. From childhood, Robson became a fan of Newcastle, a club of which his father was also a supporter. Robson always described Jackie Milburn and Len Shackleton as his childhood heroes; both of whom played for Newcastle as strikers, the same position he would assume during his professional football career.

He studied at Langley Park Primary School and later attended the Secondary Modern School at Waterhouses, but he was not permitted to play for the school team. He started playing instead for Langley Park Juniors, where his development as a footballer began.

He was eleven years old at the time and was playing matches on Saturday mornings; by the age of fifteen, he was the club's representative at the U18 level. Playing football at every possible opportunity, he dropped out of school at fifteen to start working as an electrician for the National Coal Board, a public mining company established in 1946.



coach Bill Dodgin personally visited the Robsons' home in May 1950 to offer Bobby a full-time professional contract. Nevertheless, Bobby refused to accept the offer. However, Bobby was offered another with Middlesbrough, but ultimately opted for Bill Dodgin's offer, and therefore transferred to Fulham and moved to London, playing as a striker and occasionally as a midfielder.

While Robson had already signed a contract with Fulham, but his father strongly urged him to continue as an electrician. Nevertheless, Robson kept up both jobs and only was training with his club three times a week. He played his first-team debut in 1950 for Fulham, which had just been promoted to the Football League First Division, the highest level of English football.

He was aware that Fulham was a good club, in both social and sporting terms, but they were not challenging for the championship; and indeed the English club was relegated in the 1951-52 season. Yet after four years, Fulham was back in the top flight, precisely when he was transferred to Vic Buckingham's

West Bromwich Albion

in March. Albion, as they were known, paid Fulham £25,000, which was a record fee at the time.

Now stay tuned to this section of

Bobby Robson biography

as we want to share some info about his WBA career.

West Bromwich Albion

His debut for West Bromwich came on 10 March 1956, losing to Manchester City. He became the league's top scorer with 24 goals in the 1957-58 season, which included four goals against Burnley. In his role as a striker, he played 257 games and scored 61 goals; he was also captain of the team in the 1960-61 and 1961-62 seasons.

He returned to Fulham in August 1962, after a dispute with vice-chairman Jim Gaunt over his salary. Several players in the team including Jimmy Hill and the Professional Footballers' Association had pushed Robson to ask for a pay rise, but Gaunt declined to negotiate the contract, so Robson asked for a transfer request and was eventually sold to Fulham for £20,000.

Return to Fulham

While Robson had joined Fulham, he was aware that he had no chance of winning championships with the sale of top players such as Alan Mullery and Rodney Marsh, and was thus frustrated and exclaimed. Notwithstanding reports and rumours of possible Arsenal interest, as well as an offer from Southend United to join as player-coach, Robson chose to leave Fulham in 1967 and accepted a three-year contract with Canada's Vancouver Royals.

Vancouver Royals

About his decision to sign a contract with the Canadian team he said that "it was a very difficult time for me, and I had to leave Fulham in 1967. The offer from Canada was too good an opportunity to pass up". However, he had some difficulties with his new team which ended up with him terminating his contract.

Another Return to Fulham as a Manager

However, in January 1968 Fulham invited him to take up a contract as manager, a position he finally accepted. In 1968 Fulham won only 7 out of 42 games and was relegated to the third division along with Bury. This led to the club's management terminating his contract, and he was fired at the end of the year.

England National Team

He made two trips to the Football Association's embassy in the Caribbean region in 1955 and another to South Africa in 1956 during his first season with Fulham. But it was while he was at West Bromwich Albion that he gained prominence.

Vic Buckingham, his manager, was an advocate of a more tactical game employing collective techniques such as the wall; an attacking system "which allowed quick ball movement speed to beat one or more opponents", a forerunner of total football. Furthermore, it was at this club that he was introduced to Don Howe, who was to become the future


national team coach.

He played 20 games for England and netted four goals. His debut was in 1957 against France and he managed two goals in a 4:0 win. In spite of his impressive debut, he subsequently missed the next match against Scotland.

Nevertheless, he was invited to play in the 1958

World Cup

over other gifted players like Nat Lofthouse and Stanley Matthews, only to return from Sweden disappointed, as England were eliminated from the World Cup by the Soviet Union team in a match played at the Ullevi Stadium in front of 23,182 spectators.

Following the 1958 World Cup Robson emerged as one of the key players in the team, where he experienced success during October 1960 and March 1961, when the team recorded six consecutive victories; against Scotland, he netted a goal in a 9:3 victory at the legendary Wembley Stadium.

He also received a call-up for the 1962 World Cup, although an ankle injury ruled him out of several matches.


England reached the quarter-finals, losing 3:1 to Brazil at the Sausalito Stadium in Viña del Mar in front of a crowd of 17,736.

Bobby Robson Profile

Then England manager Walter Winterbottom and the head of the Football Association recommended Robson to attend a coaching course at Lilleshall Hall, a mansion used as a training and coaching centre, in 1959. Robson completed the course and was assessed and passed after leading several clubs, including Oxford University.


Meanwhile, in 1968 he debuted as Fulham manager, in a match against Macclesfield Town in the third round of the FA Cup. Fulham struggled to avoid relegation from the second tier and while the club had signed the promising young Malcolm Macdonald, Robson failed to keep Fulham in the league; he found out that he had been fired after reading a poster published in the London Evening Standard outside Putney station.

Now stay tuned to this section of Bobby Robson biography as we want to share some info about his coaching career at Ipswich Town.

Ipswich Town

He moved to

Ipswich Town

in 1969 where he built up a good reputation as a manager, supported by club chairman John Cobbold who eventually became one of his great friends. The team finished in twelfth place in his first year with 41 points and 60 goals scored, being the eighth highest-scoring club in the First Division.

In the 1969-70 season, things were worse still, when they finished in eighteenth place with 31 points; in the subsequent seasons, the team continued in the lower reaches of the table. Nevertheless, in the 1972-73 season, Robson's team managed to qualify for the UEFA Cup, which was the second most important UEFA tournament, by finishing third with 53 points.

In addition, they won the Texaco Cup against Norwich City, a match that ended 4:2. In the following four seasons, Robson's team performed well, reaching the top positions with the exception of the 1977-78 season, where they ended up in the bottom places. He did, however, manage to win the FA Cup that season by 1:0 against Arsenal.

But his finest success with Ipswich Town arrived in the 1980-81 campaign when they were champions of the UEFA Cup with a 5:4 aggregate win over Dutch side AZ Alkmaar. Robson's thirteen-year involvement with the club saw them finish runners-up in the First Division in 1980-81 and 1981-82.

Robson's tenure as manager of Ipswich Town saw him recruit only fourteen players from other clubs, which included Allan Hunter, Bryan Hamilton and Paul Mariner while giving priority to home-grown footballers such as Terry Butcher, George Burley, John Wark, Mick Mills, Colin Viljoen, Alan Brazil, Trevor Whymark, Brian Talbot, Kevin Beattie and Eric Gates.

The Dutch footballers Frans Thijssen and Arnold Mühren were the only two footballers who were sold. Robson was above all a motivator, who educated his players to fight to achieve their goals through hard work and interpersonal skills.

England National Team

His success with Ipswich Town was good enough to bring him to the attention of the Football Association, who approached him for a contract as a national manager; Robson had turned down a ten-year contract extension and a pay rise from Patrick Cobbold, Ipswich Town's boss at the time.

Two days after England's exit from the 1982 World Cup, he took over from Ron Greenwood as manager on 7 July 1982. Meanwhile, Don Howe, a former England manager and ex-West Bromwich Albion boss, was named as an assistant coach.

Robson's managerial debut was surrounded by many controversies, as he excluded Kevin Keegan from the England squad for the match against Denmark. He lost to Denmark on 21 September 1983, in what was to be his only loss after playing 28 games. In addition, it kept England from qualifying for Euro 1984, and Robson, therefore, decided to resign as a manager; Brian Clough was to be his replacement.

Bert Millichip, FA chairman at the time, rejected the resignation and confirmed Robson as manager. In the 1986 World Cup qualifiers, England topped their group with 12 points and had a goal difference of 19. This was their first major achievement after the failure of the 1984 European Championship.

England was drawn in Group F with Morocco, Poland and


in the 1986 World Cup. The first game against Portugal ended 1:0 in favour of the Portuguese at the Tecnológico de Monterrey stadium. In the second game, England drew with Morocco89 and won the last match against Poland 3:0 in front of 22,700 spectators.

England finished in second place with one win, one draw and one defeat to reach the Round of 16 against Paraguay. England team played a great match against the South Americans, with

Gary Lineker

scoring two goals, one in the 31st minute and the second in the second half. Peter Beardsley rounded off the 3:0 win at the Azteca stadium in Mexico City in front of 98,728 spectators.

They faced the Argentina national team led by Carlos Salvador Bilardo in the quarter-finals. From the start it was an eventful match, with opportunities for both teams, however, the match ended in a draw at the end of the first half.

Argentina attacked more in the second half, and in the 51st minute, Diego Armando Maradona controversially scored a goal with his hand that the referee did not see. Maradona scored the second goal of the match 5 minutes later after passing through six opponents: Glenn Hoddle, Peter Reid, Kenny Sansom, Terry Butcher, Terry Fenwick and goalkeeper Peter Shilton, and England scored their only goal of the match in the 81st minute by Gary Lineker.

It was one of the most unforgettable matches in World Cup history, in part because of Maradona's second goal, known as the "goal of the century" or the best goal in the history of the World Cup, and also due to the "hand of God", the name of the first goal scored by Diego.

Following defeat and exit at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, Robson concentrated his efforts on getting England through to Euro 1988. In the qualifying stage, the England team won 5 out of 6 matches, including an 8-0 win over Turkey with three goals from Gary Lineker.

Having qualified for the European Championship, they were placed in the second group with the Soviet Union, the Netherlands and Ireland. In the tournament, England went on to lose every match and ended up in the last place with seven goals conceded. Robson was heavily criticised in the British press, to the point of calling the performance a failure.

England played another match against Saudi Arabia, which brought further criticism. Faced with poor results and criticism, Robson stepped down as manager once again, but his resignation was again rejected by Millichip.

Having secured his position, Robson had another challenge to tackle: qualifying England for another World Cup. They were drawn in the second qualifying group with Sweden, Poland and Albania.101 Ultimately, Robson's team qualified unbeaten for the 1990 World Cup in Italy and were drawn in Group F with Ireland, the Netherlands and Egypt.

In contrast to the 1986 World Cup, this time Robson's team ended the group stage in the first place and were unbeaten with one win and two draws. In the finals, England had two wins, one against Belgium 1:0 and another against Cameroon 3:2, and in the semi-finals, they drew with Germany over 90 minutes and extra time. They lost 4:3 in the penalty shoot-out.

PSV Eindhoven

The Football Association (FA) notified Robson ahead of the 1990 World Cup that his contract as England manager was not going to be extended, prompting him to take over the coaching of

PSV Eindhoven

in the Netherlands, as a replacement for Guus Hiddink, after he had guided the team to several national titles and one international title: the 1987-88 European Champions Cup.

They were in search of a coach who could impart discipline and hard work into the team, which Hiddink did during his tenure. The news of Robson's hiring circulated ahead of the start of the 1990 World Cup, leading to various reactions in the press, such as in Today, where he was described as a "traitor".

Under his management of PSV, they won the


in the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons. He had outstanding players in his squad including Romario, Jan Heintze, Hans van Breukelen, among others. Besides the domestic titles, he was able to qualify for the 1991-92 European Champions Cup, only to be eliminated in the round of 16 by Royal Sporting Club Anderlecht 2:0.

At the end of the 1991-92 season, Robson departed the club, partially because of poor performances in European competition. In the middle of the year, he was appointed manager of

Sporting Lisbon

, which was one of the most successful teams in the Portuguese Football League.

Now stay tuned to this section of Bobby Robson biography as we want to share some info about his coaching career in Portugal.

Sporting Lisbon

When he joined Sporting Lisbon, as he did not speak Portuguese, he was in need of a translator.

Jose Mourinho

, an assistant who was just starting his technical career, was appointed as his interpreter. Robson was with the club until December 1993, leaving the team in third place in the 1992/93 Primeira Divisão and with a chance of playing in the UEFA Cup.

Later he was sacked from the Portuguese club. According to Robson, the club was struggling in terms of playing football and that president Sousa Cintra was recruiting players without his consent. Faced with this, Cintra admitted that he fired Robson for the team's early elimination in the 1992-93 UEFA Cup against Swiss side Grasshopper Club Zürich.

FC Porto

He joined


in 1994, where he came to know André Villas-Boas, a 16-year-old young boy who was just beginning his career as an assistant at the club. At the time Robson offered Villas-Boas the chance to become an assistant manager in training and other roles.

At the time Robson was hired, Porto was experiencing a serious football crisis, and the average attendance at matches had dropped to 10,000. Nevertheless, the club made it to the final of the Portuguese Cup, where they defeated Sporting Lisbon 2-1 with goals from Rui Jorge and Rui Pires.

Following this championship, the team concentrated on the 1994/95 Primeira Divisão, which they had lost last season to


. Porto kicked off the campaign with six consecutive wins but lost 2:1 in the seventh match to Marítimo, but still, Robson's team recorded another 29 wins with 73 goals scored and 15 conceded, their highest tally of the season.

Porto finished in first place with 62 points and qualified for the 1995-96 UEFA

Champions League

. This was his second title achieved in Portugal. In the following season, Porto won the league with 84 points and the same number of goals. Despite this, Robson stepped down in 1996.


Barcelona's Spanish vice-president, Joan Gaspart, contacted him in the summer of 1996 to discuss a job offer. The two eventually came to an agreement and the Englishman took charge of


in July, together with José Mourinho, his personal assistant. By then Barcelona had spent 5250 million pesetas on six transfers and were expecting the return of Hristo Stoichkov, who was at Parma in Italy.

At that time Barcelona had spent 5250 million pesetas on six players and were expecting the return of Hristo Stoichkov, who was playing for Italian club Parma. Ronaldo was the big signing, for whom they paid 2550 million, making him the most expensive transfer in history at the time. Robson had had one of the most highly competitive squads in Europe, with which he won the Copa del Rey, Spanish Super Cup and European Cup Winners Cup.

Newcastle United

Following his departure from Barcelona, he had a short spell at PSV, where he won the Johan Cruyff Shield. After that, Robson came back to England to join the technical department at Chelsea Football Club, but when Ruud Gullit stepped down at

Newcastle United

, he made the move to St James' Park in September 1999. Initially, he was unhappy with the salary offer made by the club, but ultimately he negotiated a one-year deal for £1 million.

In his first season as manager of Newcastle, the team ended in 11th place with 52 points, but were the third highest-scoring team; their highest-scoring game of the season was played on 19 September, when the Magpies won 8:0 against Sheffield Wednesday. In late 2000, after Kevin Keegan's dismissal as England manager, the Football Association approached Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd to permit Robson to take temporary charge of the team, but Shepherd declined to grant the request.

In the next season, the club reached the third round of the 2001 Intertoto Cup, which was one of the European championships organised by UEFA. Out of contention to win a domestic championship, Newcastle turned their attention to the tournament and reached the finals, but narrowly lost the chance to be crowned champions after a 4:4 draw on aggregate against Troyes Aube Champagne.

Robson served at Newcastle United until 30 August 2004, only to be fired by Freddy Shepherd after a disappointing start to the Premier League, also due to some problems in the team. Robson was disappointed with the situation and the fact that he was unable to finish his job at the helm of Newcastle.

Style of Play

During his time as a coach, he used many different systems of play, from the 5-man defensive line during his time with the England national team to the 4-4-2 system which he used mostly while he was coach of Newcastle United.


He will be always remembered as one of the best English coaches of all time, who had a successful career not only in his country but in other European countries too.

Bobby Robson outside Football

During the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004, he was a commentator for ITV. He was featured in several documentaries, television series and videos; he was featured in a number of films after his death, including One Night in Turin and Gascoigne.

He replaced Brian Clough as a columnist for FourFourTwo magazine, a specialist English football publication, in 2004. That same year he was a weekly columnist for The Mail on Sunday newspaper.

Bobby Robson Personal Life

In this section of Bobby Robson biography, we will take a deeper look into his personal life and share some information about things like

Bobby Robson life story


Bobby Robson religion

, stay tuned.

Family, Children and Relationships

In June 1955 Robson married Elsie Gray, a young nurse he first met in his hometown after a trip to be with his parents. Tom Wilson, his Fulham team-mate, was his best man; with his wife, he had three sons: Andrew, Paul and Mark.

He was diagnosed with cancer in the early 1990s and since then he had suffered repeatedly from the disease. When he was an advisor to the Irish national team in 2006, he had surgery to remove a brain tumour; he was discharged on 17 October 2006 and served out his contract as a consultant. In addition, during his time as coach of Porto, he was also diagnosed with a malignant melanoma on his face, and it was surgically removed.

Robson died of lung cancer on 31 July 2009 at his home in County Durham when he was 76 years old, having fought a long battle with the disease. In the wake of the news of his death, major figures from the world of football and politics paid tribute to Robson.


After his last cancer diagnosis, Robson devoted the last years of his life to helping and fighting the disease. The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation was launched on 25 March 2008. The foundation had raised £1 million by November 2008.

Several research centres and a laboratory were built with the money raised, backed by the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle. Some of the money was used for various cancer tests and treatments. The majority of these donations come from business people, football fans, managers and footballers.

Legal Issues

During his life and professional playing and coaching career, Sir Bobby Robson never had any legal issues or disputes and there are no such reports on media.

Bobby Robson Career Statistics

In this section of Bobby Robson biography, we will take a deeper look into his career stats, both as an international and club player.


During his 18-year playing career, he appeared in a total of 627 matches in all competitions and scored 141 goals. He spent most of his career with Fulham.


Between 1957 and 1962 Robson played a total of 20 matches with the English national team, scoring four goals.


He had a win ratio of 49.65 percent with 718 wins, 351 draws and 377 defeats in a total of 1446 matches he managed during his coaching career.

Bobby Robson Honors

As a manager, he had won many awards and titles, which the most notable of them include UEFA Cup, FA Cup, Eredivisie, Primeira Divisão, Copa del Rey and many others in England, Portugal, Netherlands and Spain.

His list of personal awards includes FWA Tribute Award, European Manager of the Year, FIFA Fair Play Award, among many others.

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