By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Newcastle United's Club sponsor, Virgin Money, is supporting a celebration to mark what would have been Sir Bobby Robson's 80th birthday this month.
The event, at the Sage in Gateshead on Monday, 18th February, will raise funds for the Alan Shearer Foundation and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and will feature big names from music, comedy and football.
Hosted by Jim Rosenthal and Billy Mitchell, the star-studded line up includes Russell Watson, Alistair McGowan, Peter Brewis of Field Music with The Cornshed Sisters, Paul Smith of Maximo Park, Ruby Turner, Faryl Smith, Scarlett Street, Ben Ottewell, Mark Knopfler, Joe McElderry, Northern Sinfonia, Orchestra of The Sage Gateshead, The Unthanks, Simon Day and Paul Whitehouse.
Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas will be sharing his special memories of Sir Bobby from his time at Porto while Newcastle United's coaching team, including John Carver, and Sir Bobby's former players Steve Harper, Shola Ameobi and Steven Taylor will talk about his enduring influence at the club.
Unfortunately, England manager Roy Hodgson is now unable to attend but he will be ably replaced by England legend and Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce, who will be recalling the memorable and emotional night in Turin when the Three Lions so nearly reached the Italia 90 World Cup final.
Virgin Money has came on board to support the event and Virgin founder, Sir Richard Branson, said: "These days it's all too easy to use the word legend to describe someone, but I don't think anyone could dispute its use when describing Sir Bobby Robson. Bobby was genuinely loved by die-hard football fans and by the nation at large.
"As a business based in the North-East, Virgin Money is proud to support such a great tribute to the life of Sir Bobby and, equally as important, we hope the event raises lots of money for these two great foundations."
Tickets for Sir Bobby Robson - A Celebration sold out within hours of their release in October. However, the first of a limited number of seats originally set aside for production purposes will now be released for sale on Thursday, 14th February priced at £75.
More may be released for sale closer to the event. Please see www.thesagegateshead.org or call 0191 443 4661 for details.
Lady Elsie Robson said: "I'm so touched by the enthusiasm there is for this event and I'm really pleased to welcome Virgin Money on board. We appreciate their support and they are joining a tremendous team.
"The way everyone has pitched in to help make this night a success is amazing. We were looking at our list of people to thank in the programme and it struck me that it has both FIFA and a local junior football club on there. Bob would have loved that.
"It's taken an awful lot of work to get things to this stage and so much of it's been done by volunteers. That kind of commitment is incredible.
"It's going to be a wonderful night of music, football and comedy and no doubt a lot of very happy memories."