Sir Bobby Robson

By Dan Sheridan - Newcastle United Managing Editor

 

Gone but never forgotten - four words that typify world football's affection for one of the game's true greats, who sadly passed away three years ago today.

Sir Bobby Robson lost his long-running battle with cancer in July 2009, leaving an indelible imprint not just on his native North-East, but across the British Isles, Europe and beyond.

During an illustrious career, the County Durham-born legend made friends and followers wherever he worked, from Ipswich Town's Portman Road to Barcelona's Camp Nou.

Of course, during a five-year spell as manager of Newcastle United, the former England boss won the hearts of Geordies everywhere after transforming his boyhood heroes.

Nationally he is remembered as the man that led his country to the semi-finals of the World Cup in 1990 and within a whisker of the greatest prize of all, while on Tyneside his Champions League exploits are still talked about to this day.

Now, on the third anniversary of his death, his legacy lives on through the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation - his cancer charity that has so far raised millions of pounds since being established in 2008.

Today, some of the players he managed at St. James' Park took to Twitter to pay their respects, with former Magpies full-back Robbie Elliott saying: "3 years ago today the world became a sadder place. Lost but NEVER forgotten."

While Michael Bridges, who enjoyed a loan spell with United in 2004, added: "Just wanted 2 pay my respects 2 a true great who passed away 3 years ago. True Gentleman+Top Coach+Funny Guy=Sir Bobby Robson."

And, fittingly, the official Twitter account of his very own Foundation underlined the impact the great man had on those who knew and worked with him and his determination to raise awareness.

They said: "Sadly, Sir Bobby died three years ago today. His input and enthusiasm is missed every day by everyone connected to his charity.

"Sir Bobby wanted his Foundation to be his legacy for others fighting cancer. Incredibly, it has now raised over £4 million.

"Sir Bobby always said 'when', not 'if' we find a cure for cancer. He believed it was possible and it's touching so many share his faith."

A bronze statue of Robson now stands proudly outside the home of Newcastle United - a permanent and appropriate reminder of his status as a true gentleman as well as a footballing legend.

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