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15 quotes that prove Sir Bobby Robson was the greatest English manager of all time

Robson made his final public appearance just days before his death in 2009, but his memory lives on

He is one of the major influences that forged Pep Guardiola’s management career.

The new Sir Bobby Robson: More Than a Manager film celebrates the life of one of the game’s most iconic bosses.

The film charts Robson’s career, from his humble upbringing, right through to the highs and lows he experienced in some of the most prestigious dugouts in world football.


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Sir Bobby Robson’s wife, Elsie Robson, proudly shows off the film poster

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Sir Bobby Robson’s wife, Elsie Robson, proudly shows off the film poster

The film features interviews with several high-profile characters in football, including Sir Alex Ferguson, Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, Ronaldo, Paul Gascoigne, Alan Shearer and Gary Lineker.

Here are our 15 favourite quotes from the film which prove Sir Bobby is the greatest English manager of all time.

1 “I am not afraid to follow him, when the President of the United States leaves, they have to get another President of the United States” – Sir Bobby Robson

Sir Bobby took charge of Barcelona in 1996, in what was one of the most testing periods for the club.

The pressure associated with replacing a club legend such as Johan Cruyff would have weighed heavily on some, but not Robson.

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2 “Two policeman came back with me and I slept with the FA Cup under my bed, I can promise you that… I really did!” – Sir Bobby Robson

In 1978 Sir Bobby’s Ipswich Town side won the FA Cup, dramatically overcoming Arsenal in the final.

The historic success prompted mass celebrations in the town and Robson was given a police escort back to his home where he kept the trophy in the safest place possible.

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3 “The President said to me ‘we need bums on seats, we need a top class striker, do you know where their is one?’ I said yes, I know there’s a young kid at PSV that I like very much. I think he’s terrific, but he’s a risk” – Sir Bobby Robson

In need of an eye-catching signing at Barcelona, Sir Bobby made one of the football’s most significant ever transfers.

Ronaldo, who had been playing for PSV Eindhoven at the time, caught the eye of Sir Bobby who paid £20million to bring him to the Nou Camp… the rest is history.

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4Without feeling his trust I couldn’t jump so fast to be working with the best players in the world. The relationship was phenomenal.” – Jose Mourinho 

After Robson took the Barcelona job, a condition of the deal was that Jose Mourinho, who had been his interpreter at both Sporting Lisbon and Porto, would join him at the Nou Camp.

Mourinho worked with Sir Bobby at Barcelona and the Portuguese manager cites him as one of the major influences on his career.

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5 “He made you feel so good about yourself and your job. You went out there and wanted to do it for him.” – Terry Butcher

Terry Butcher was a vital part of Robson’s successful Ipswich side.

During his 13-year tenure at Portman Road, Sir Bobby famously only bought 14 players from other clubs, instead relaying on the Ipswich youth squads, which led to Butcher breaking through to the first team.

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6 “If you write, ‘no football, no football, no football, no system, no system, no system’, then the public will believe you!” – Sir Bobby Robson

Sir Bobby found himself under immense pressure just months into his time at Barcelona in 1996.

The media were berating him for his style of football, a criticism that Robson wasn’t going to accept without a fight.

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7 “I was convinced I would be left out because I had not had a great start to the World Cup. Bobby made my career what it was. For some reason he stuck with me and I’ll be eternally grateful to him for that for that. My life would have been nowhere near as good as without that.” – Gary Lineker 

England endured a slow start to their group campaign at the 1986 World Cup, suffering defeat against Portugal and a draw with Morocco.

Gary Lineker had feared for his spot in the team, but Robson stuck by him and it paid off after the striker scored a hat-trick against Poland to send England through to the knockout stages.

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8 “He said it was the hand of God. I said it was the hand of a rascal… and I’m right. He was the best player in the world and he had the chance to be the best sportsman in the world too.” – Sir Bobby Robson

England’s World Cup hopes in 1986 were ended at the quarter-final stage after the infamous defeat to Argentina.

When asked post-match about Diego Maradona’s handball, Sir Bobby didn’t hold back.

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9 “For the worst coach in the world, it’s going really fantastic. Yesterday I read that I was the worst coach in the world. I find that incredible. No respect and I find that a disgrace. That’s the story and I am angry with you.” – Sir Bobby Robson

Speculation over Robson’s future continued to mount during his time at Barcelona.

The former Ipswich Manager was tired of the constant unwarranted criticism from the press and stormed out of a press conference.

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10 “You talk with them everyday, you train with them everyday, you motivate them everyday, for times like this when you are in trouble and they put something back for you.” – Sir Bobby Robson

Sir Bobby orchestrated one of Barcelona’s most famous victories in their history.

His side were 3-0 down at half time in their 1997 Copa Del Rey Quarter-final against Atletico Madrid, before he inspired his side to a 5-4 victory, which saw them progress 7-6 on aggregate.

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11 “I learned a lot from him in that period. I thought I wanted to become a manager, how he handled that situation, it was incredible, I admire him a lot. It doesn’t matter what the media say, when everybody pushed him, he always tried to be calm.” – Pep Guardiola 

Guardiola, who was a crucial part of Robson’s Barcelona side, outlined the respect he had for his manager during what he recognised was a challenging period.

Despite the fans and media criticising him, Robson never lost the support of the players.

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12 “Talk about a father figure, the guy was phenomenal for me. When I saw Bobby, I knew I was safe.” – Paul Gascoigne 

Paul Gascoigne was taken under the wing of Sir Bobby ahead of the 1990 World Cup in Italy.

Robson showed off his excellent man-management skills when he got the best out of the enigmatic Gascoigne.

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13 “My heart sank the moment he took out that yellow card. That kid won’t play in the final.  I said to him ‘listen to me. We know you can’t play in the final, but what you can do, son,  is make sure everybody else does, get them in the final.'” – Paul Gascoigne 

Gascoigne famously picked up a yellow card which would have ruled him out of the World Cup final in 1990.

Robson reveals what he said to the visibly distraught Gascoigne, to try and inspire him to win the game for England.

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14 “If you are a fantastic painter, you are never rich until you are dead. And I think it’s the same with managers. You’re never appreciated until you’re gone.” – Sir Bobby Robson

A philosophical Robson reflected on his season at Barcelona.

He was relieved of his duties despite winning the treble at the club and believes his work was underappreciated.

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15 “If it wasn’t for him then I would have left the football club. I wasn’t getting on with the previous management. He knew straight away what made me tick. He saved Newcastle and he also saved my career.” – Alan Shearer

In 1999, Robson took charge of Newcastle after Ruud Gullit left the club.

Alan Shearer cites Robson as a character who regenerated his career and also saved the club in the process.

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Bobby Robson: More Than a Manager is now available to pre-order from iTunes and Amazon.

Keep up to date with all the news about the film on its official website.

Watch the official trailer for the film below:


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