“The English sure love their football.”
Not only do we love watching (and playing) it, but we also write songs about it and produce films and TV about it.
Such proof is Bobby Robson: More Than a Manager, a documentary film about English football’s favourite old uncle (and the Godfather of Newcastle United) Bobby Robson, which continues to draw audiences via Netflix even several years removed from its initial release.
Released in 2018, Gabriel Clarke’s documentary is a loving portrait of a man and his remarkable contributions to the game and further afield, this beloved figure of the sport painted not only in all of his glory, but also all of the intestinal fortitude the man held in his moments of defeat. The film offers a stunning insight into a truly great man, with legends of the game lending their voices to the film in the truest testament of the manager’s far-reaching and continued influence.
In this list, we’re looking closely at all of the great moments outlined in Bobby Robson: More Than a Manager and, in a rough order of increasing intensity, outlining the 7 moments in which this great football documentary is guaranteed to give you chills.
With “soccer” being the most popular sport in the world, it is basically impossible for the most disinterested person to avoid the knowledge osmosis, with all people instantly recognising particular names. For much of the turn of the century, it was a universal acknowledgement that Ronaldo was a big deal. Playgrounds around the globe would put up bans on picking Ronaldo on early FIFA computer games due to his insane stats from being the best football player in the world.
So, when in Bobby Robson: More Than A Manager we see Sir Bobby take the FC Barcelona job, and it’s oh-so-casually dropped in that he wants to sign a young player from PSV Eindhoven, hairs stand on end as the realisation sets in that he’s targeting… Ronaldo. As in the original, Brazilian Ronaldo – R9 himself.
Sir Bobby Robson thrust the Ronaldo into prominence?! And at such a risk too – with the move being the world record for a transfer fee at the time.
Robson’s risk is shown to almost instantly pay off as Barcelona win 5-4 against Atlético Madrid in the 1996-97 Copa del Rey, where Ronaldo was responsible for three of the goals. The great manager’s passion as a football person is captured in his reaction to Ronaldo’s goal against Compostela in ’96, in which the just as great player runs off the entire defence.
In Ronaldo’s own words, part of why the goal was so memorable was due to Robson’s unrestrained elation.
2. Ipswich Town Win the FA Cup
Despite Sir Bobby’s continued association with Newcastle United, it is the people of Ipswich who seem to place the greatest claim upon him. Being associated with the club from 1969 to 1982, Ipswich Town proved to be Robson’s longest management gig of his 36 year coaching career.
Back in ’69, Ipswich Town Football Club were not in the best position financially (or in the league table) and Robson was a relatively inexperienced manager at that point – oh how typical of Robson’s legacy to have such a perilous beginning. It took twelve long years, but Robson would ultimately turn around the fortunes of the East Anglian team, winning the much coveted UEFA Cup, one of the loftiest heights any European team could possibly aspire to reach.
The more spine-tingling revelation of the film however, was the club’s FA Cup victory 3 years prior – the auspicious moment in which Robson’s reputation as one of the best football managers in the world truly began.
Every team Robson took on after Ipswich would flourish, leading most to major title victories. It is the footage of the celebration of Ipswich’s FA Cup win that holds the secret to Robson’s success – his passion.
As the cup toured the whole of Suffolk, Robson was always slap bang in the middle of the hubbub, practically jumping for joy, waving the FA Cup high in the air for all to see. This is something all football fans yearn to be a part of for the team they support, and through this eager sharing of the victory, we see the unmistakable warmth and generosity of Robson’s nature, which sets him apart from his peers and contemporaries.
It was the nurturing of his team and players, which went hand in hand with his naturally generous spirit, that was key to his long and continued success.