It is thirteen years ago today that Sir Bobby Robson passed away.
A sad day for Newcastle fans and indeed everybody who values everything that is good in football.
Simon Smith worked as a coach at The FA for ten years, but before that he was Newcastle goalkeeping coach, initially under Ruud Gullit but then Sir Bobby Robson arrived and everything was to change.
Smith was to leave NUFC only two weeks after Sir Bobby’s unfair sacking, working for a decade at The FA, then eventually returning as Newcastle’s head of goalkeeping in 2015. Only this week it was announced that Simon Smith was leaving after this second stint, exiting SJP after seven years.
However, I wanted to go back to this excellent interview Simon Smith did back in 2015, on the sixth anniversary of the loss of Sir Bobby Robson.
A great read when Simon spoke to The FA about Sir Bobby Robson back in 2015:
“I had got my dream job (at Newcastle) under Ruud Gullit – but then after he was sacked Sir Bobby arrived – a legend even then. The fact that he was coming back home to his own club made it that extra bit special.
“My first meeting with him was something I’ll never forget. We trained at Chester-le-Street and I walked past the reception as he called me into this side room. I feared the worst to be honest.”
I don’t know you:
“I went in and he said ‘Look, I don’t know you and you don’t know me, but we’ll give it a go and see how we get on’.
“As he was saying it, I’m thinking, ‘Well I know who you are, but you actually don’t know who I am’- but he never actually mentioned anything about the job again for the next few years until he left the club.”
“For the first six months, if we went anywhere, he’d introduce his staff to other people but I was always introduced as ‘Goalkeeping lad’.
“He had that lovely way with people. He could make you feel special – but it was him who was special. When he walked into a room, he is one of the few people that I’ve met that had an aura about him.”
After two years found out he had children!:
“He had time to speak to everybody and always had a smile on his face. He was a man of the people who just lived for football.
“It wasn’t until I’d worked for him for two years that I found out he had children – it was just football, football and football.”
“He was so proud being back at the club he supported as a kid, and he had a great affinity with the people of the north-east. With him working abroad and as England manager, in all the people that I’ve met who had ever met him, no-one has ever had a bad word to say about him.”
“I know how proud he would be that he is still remembered and so highly thought of”
“I remember playing Barcelona in the Champions League. After his team-talk we went out to the tunnel, which had a metal fence separating the sides. As we go out, we are lined-up ready for the walkout, and all of a sudden he appeared on the Barcelona side.
“I remember Luis Enrique greeting him, giving him a big cuddle, and calling him ‘Mister’. You could tell that everyone who had worked for him there had a real affinity for him.”
Click HERE for more information on the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
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