Mick Mills, the former England captain, Ipswich player and Colchester boss has saluted Sir Bobby Robson who died this morning.
Mills, infamously managing the U`s when they were relegated out of the Football League in 1990, was an ever-present under Robson for four seasons in the mid-1970s, having become team skipper earlier in the decade.
“When you saw the pictures of him last week, it was very, very sad then but just thinking about what he has been through in the last two or three years takes me back to when I first met him, in 1989 when he became manager of Ipswich,” Mills told the BBC.
“He took over a very difficult job, he hadn`t actually started his management career too well and it was vital for him to be successful. We saw him really fighting, displaying all that courage he had in his latter years, to make it a success. We weren`t a good team, but Bobby steered us through,” he added.
Robson won the F.A. Cup and the UEFA Cup as Town manager and tributes have been pouring in all day across news agencies and via the internet as football fans pay tribute to a genuine godfather figure of modern English Football.
In August 2008, Vital Colchester ran the following tribute to Sir Bobby ahead of the season`s League Cup clash with Ipswich and as part of a comment column. It was in reaction to the news that his cancer, which he bravely fought off five times, had become terminal.
Sir Bobby Robson`s admission this week [as at August 2008] that he may not be physically able to fight another cancer battle, having defeated the illness many times already, is sad news indeed.
Legend has it that Bobby`s humorous response upon hearing of the logistics behind his first diagnosis ran: ‘Malignant melanoma? We don`t need him!’ Infamously, the 75-year-old apparently mistook the doctor`s identification of his tumour for a German left-back.
His status as an Ipswich Town idol, aka The King of East Anglia, may seem to have little relevance in a space usually reserved for all-things Colchester United, even to geography-conscious readers.
Almost as unimportant as the fact that Bobby nurtured some of the all-time greats of the modern game, like Brazil`s Ronaldo and Romario, Rudd Van Nistelrooy or Luis Figo to the peak of their powers.
All that pails into insignificance, anyway, when considering how one of football`s most endearing individuals, a Grandfather-like guardian of the English game both here and abroad, offers us a mirror of the most desirable traits of all humanity. Grace. Wisdom. Bravery.
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