Albion promote day in honour of club legend
ALBION are today promoting Sir Bobby Robson National Football Day - a call for people to come together in celebration of the nation's favourite game and one of English football's most iconic figures.
In all, 150 community-focused events will take place across the country as part of The FA's 150th anniversary - providing a showcase of organisation’s work at grassroots level and giving the nation the opportunity to get involved.
Sir Bobby played for the Baggies between 1956 and 1962, making 257 appearances and scoring 61 goals.
He made his name here at The Hawthorns, captaining the club and breaking into the England side, travelling to the 1958 and 1962 World Cups.
There, under the leadership of England manager Walter Winterbottom, Robson, along with his Albion colleague Don Howe, caught the coaching bug and began an education that was to shape his post-playing career.
Today will see a focus on every aspect of the game including the women's game, disability football, refereeing and coaching, while fans are also in the spotlight with their support of matches like this afternoon's final pre-season friendly against Bologna.
Albion’s head coach Steve Clarke had a spell working under Sir Bobby at Newcastle United, a period which he recalls as crucial to his own personal development.
“For me, as a young coach, working with him was just the best possible environment to be in because I learnt so much in a short time from him,” said Clarke.
“I had a year with him and I couldn’t have asked for anything better.
“His biggest strength was the way he dealt with players, how he handled the group.
“He knew which ones needed a cuddle, which ones needed a rollocking and he always delivered it to the right person in the right way.
“He had such fantastic enthusiasm for the game and that was just infectious”.
Lady Elsie Robson, Sir Bobby's widow, said, “I'm sure Bob would have been thrilled having a National Football Day named in his honour.
“He was always so incredibly passionate about football.
“He just loved it, whatever level it was being played at.
“He was lucky enough to play and manage at the top of the game but he was just as enthusiastic talking to youngsters about their junior club matches”.
Sir Trevor Brooking, The FA's Director Of Football Development, said, “The Sir Bobby Robson National Football Day has been created as part of our 150th anniversary celebrations to showcase the nation's love for the game and the huge number of people who get involved in football every week, whether that's playing, coaching, volunteering or refereeing.
“This day will shine a light on the sheer breadth of the nation's favourite game and we hope it will encourage more people to get involved.
“Whether you visit one of the planned 150 events or simply head to your garden or local park with family and friends, there's no better day to get into football”.
This October, the FA is once again supporting Sir Bobby's Breakthrough Auction.
Organised entirely by volunteers, this online auction will raise funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, Breakthrough Breast Cancer and cancer services within Suffolk Hospitals.