Wednesday, 24 August 2011


In preparation for my entry to this Great North Run in aid of the Foundation, I found myself running the streets of Newcastle this week, squeezing in some training between work commitments.

I had my route mapped out that included, naturally a trip past St James’ Park (avoiding The Strawberry pub on this occasion for obvious reasons) when I chanced upon the Sir Bobby Robson Memorial Garden.

I must confess I was on holiday when the garden was unveiled earlier in the year so although I've visited it since with my son I missed the fanfare of the launch.

Well, trust Sir Bobby to provide a place for a sit down when I needed it most and a suitable spot for quiet contemplation (“13 miles? 13 miles? How am I going to make 13 miles?”). The garden, if you haven’t been, is nestled almost under the eves of the football ground, and even thought it’s hemmed in by the Metro station, busy Gallowgate and bustling Chinatown it manages to provide a place to rest a while and a chance to escape the daily grind.

As I was sat there exhausted (all I needed was a sweat-less vest and a tab to complete the image of “useless runner”) one crystal clear thought entered my mind. For all the talk of jovial Sir Bobby, of the glint in his eye, of clich├ęs gone wrong, of mispronounced young footballer’s names, of the amiable, affable man from County Durham done good, for all that talk… one thing stands out at the garden. Sir Bobby Robson was an out and out winner.

As player with twenty England caps. In management at FC Barcelona, the greatest, most prestigious club in football. In Holland, the home of total football, and in Portugal where they mass-produce flair players (as he might have said) “for fun”. In England as well, with unfancied underdogs Ipswich Town.

And in life too – with a family to be proud of, a charity bearing his name that continues to do wonderful things and a scoreline against cancer that read Robson 4 v Cancer 0, prior to his final battle with the disease in 2009. Winning, quite simply, was what he was all about.

So I kept that with me as departed to complete my training circuit of the city and although I didn’t count the miles I did, I felt stronger for the experience and just a little bit more determined. I’m not going to win the Great North Run clearly, but I will like the thousands of runners alongside me on the day gain something on completing it, and that’s the knowledge that I can achieve something that I previously thought impossible. I guess too, that’s what Sir Bobby was striving for with the Foundation. Take on cancer… and do whatever it takes to win.

If you would like to support my run, your donation would be very gratefully received at:

Monday, 15 August 2011


A very special charity football match took place on Sunday (14th August) with Newcastle United fans taking on Sunderland AFC fans at Harton Technology College, South Shields, to decide the ‘fans derby.’

The game was in memory of 22-year-old father of two, Jamie Wright from South Shields, who died suddenly last month of unknown causes.

Both teams wore their respective club kits and players donated money to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation in recognition of Jamie’s passion for football and Newcastle United – and on this occasion it was Sunderland AFC who won the match.

Players included Jamie’s brother Jordan Wright who says: “It’s a fitting tribute to my kid as he taught me to play football because our dad was ill.

“Jamie was a massive toon fan and even though he had agoraphobia he would try his best to get to games.

“I think giving all the proceeds to charity is what he would want as he was a giving and very caring person.”

The game came just six days before the official derby when Newcastle United travel to the Stadium of Light in the Premier League.

With local bragging rights up for grabs it was a very competitive match including a disallowed goal and two missed penalties. The Sunderland fans team eventually claimed the trophy winning 2 – 1 and the match raised over £500 for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Before the game the players and crowd joined together for a minute’s applause to remember Jamie and it was officially kicked off by former Newcastle United player Olivier Bernard.

Liz Luff, from the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, says: “It was a fantastic match and a very special way to remember Jamie.

“It was wonderful to see players and fans in red and white and black and white uniting behind a common cause and the game was played in a very positive spirit.

“The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation funds projects which help people fighting cancer from all across our region and we’re very grateful to everyone who contributed at the fan’s derby for their support.”

Since its launch in March 2008, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has raised £3.5 million to help find more effective treatments for cancer. It funds projects within the Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust, which directly benefit cancer patients from across the north east and Cumbria.

In addition to equipping the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care in Newcastle, the charity has also funded a specialist clinical research nurse and research doctor within the Sir Bobby Centre.

It has funded leukaemia laboratory research equipment and contributed to the Royal Victoria Infirmary’s teenage cancer unit in Newcastle.

It has also enhanced a children’s waiting area, jointly funded a patient ‘quiet and information area’ with help from Macmillan Cancer Support and part funded a complementary therapy programme providing symptom relief for cancer patients – all at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care.

It is also working with Newcastle University and has purchased an ultra-compact cyclotron which will help with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The cyclotron costs in excess of £500,000 and is only the second of its type in the world and the first in Europe.

Thursday, 11 August 2011


On a weekend when sadly football league games in London are at risk of cancellation, one game will definitely be going ahead in the capital.

On Saturday afternoon (1.30pm 13th Aug), a Sky Sports Fanzone team will be taking on Newcastle United Women’s (NUWFC) team in a charity MATCH to mark the start of the Premier League season.

Jointly in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and NUWFC, which is an amateur team and relies completely on donations and sponsorship, the match will be played at Imperial College Sports Ground, Harlington, London.

Sponsored by and, the match brings together the Fanzone commentators from a variety of different teams who provide the regular fan’s view on games broadcast by Sky Sports.

Darren Williams, the Newcastle United Fanzoner and event organiser, says: “Local rivalries and club commitments will be forgotten as we all come together as one to form Fanzone United.

“It will be a very special match and our charity choice was a no brainer really. Ask any Newcastle fan or any other football fan for that matter, who has been a gentleman and legend of the game and you will usually get the same answer... Sir Bobby Robson.

“We sadly lost Sir Bobby to cancer a few years ago, but his legacy lives on in the form of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation which is continuing the work Sir Bobby started and helping other people fighting cancer now.”

Since its launch in March 2008, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has raised £3.5 million to help find more effective treatments for cancer. It funds projects within the Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust, which directly benefit cancer patients from across the north east and Cumbria.

Phil Eadon, chairman of NUWFC, adds: "The ladies are delighted to be taking part in the match and supporting the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

“NUWFC also needs help and support to enable them to continue to operate and I hope that Sir Bobby would have been proud of what they do and the way that they play their football. 'Bobby's Girls' are really looking forward to the match against the Sky Sports Fanzone United lads on Saturday and let the best team win!"

To support the event please donate to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation via the Fanzone United Just Giving website at

Or to donate to NUWFC please go to their website where sponsors and donations will be gratefully received via their Paypal application.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011


Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas is supporting Sir Bobby's Breakthrough Auction this October by donating a very special auction item.

Mr Villas-Boas has kindly offered to present a Chelsea shirt with 'Sir Bobby' on the back and signed by the whole team in person to whoever wins in the online charity auction.

And this week, Mr Villas-Boas also paid tribute to Sir Bobby, who had such a great impact on his own career in football, by saying: "Sir Bobby is a true legend of the game. He was a great man, a great manager and a real gentleman. I often think of him and the inspiration he gave me not only at Porto but throughout his life.

“Sir Bobby has influenced everyone who ever met him with his enthusiasm and knowledge of the game. The fact that so many fellow managers and clubs are supporting this campaign speaks more about his legacy than I ever could.

“That Bobby is fighting against cancer even now shows that even though he was taken from us his spirit will never die. I am proud to support the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction and I hope fans across the country and throughout the world will do the same.”

Gina Long, the auction founder, said: “Having Mr. Villas-Boas and Chelsea Football Club’s support for Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction is very special indeed.

“Their auction prize truly is a ‘money can’t buy’ prize, it also reflects the amazing man Sir Bobby was.

“I have been lucky enough to spend many special times with Sir Bobby and Lady Elsie, seeing first-hand the time and kindness he gave to all who approached him – even when picking him up from Stansted Airport for Ipswich Town’s 25th celebration of winning the FA Cup – it took Bobby over two hours to walk through the airport, generously taking time and talking to all who stopped him.

“Sir Bobby gave so much, to so many, and Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction is a spectacular way for the country to have the opportunity to give something back in Bobby’s memory helping Sir Bobby’s Foundation and Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

“We have been overwhelmed by the support from Premier League and Championship clubs and we want to encourage companies and individuals to get involved by donating an auction prize or by bidding in October or simply by making a donation – it really will make the biggest difference in raising crucial funds and achieving our goal of raising £250,000.”

Sir Bobby's Breakthrough Auction and Ball is endorsed and backed by the FA Chairman David Bernstein, the Robson family and Delia Smith, who will be attending the ball.

Former Ipswich stars, including Mick Mills, Ipswich captain for 10 years during Sir Bobby’s reign as manager and now a Patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, will also be attending.

For more information please visit

Tuesday, 2 August 2011


The charity football match between Kevin Keegan's 'Entertainers' and Liverpool's 'Spiceboys' on Sunday 9th October is now being staged on Tyneside.

The match will now be played at the Newcastle Falcon’s Kingston Park stadium instead of the Northern Echo Darlington Arena as originally advertised.

Event organiser, Steve Wraith, says: “We would like to wholeheartedly thank Darlington for offering to stage the match but it should be staged on Tyneside.

“I’m delighted that the fans will have the chance to see their heroes, such as Keegan and Shearer, one more time in Newcastle.”

Fans who have already bought tickets from Ticketmaster will be contacted and given first allocation at Kingston Park, which is now the point of contact for new ticket sales.

Former Newcastle favourites Ruel Fox and Brian Kilcline are also now confirmed in Keegan’s team.

Ruel says: “I had some great times on Tyneside. There was a feel good factor at the club in those days under Kevin Keegan and Terry Mac and it will be nice to experience that again.

“It's a big honour to be asked by Kevin to play for him one last time and I'm just as excited about pulling on the shirt and playing for those incredible fans again as I am seeing some old faces. Bring it on!”

With Phil Thompson heading up a Liverpool side, which now includes new confirmations Rob Jones and Stig Bjornebye, it promises to be a very special night. Fans are urged to buy their tickets now to avoid any disappointment.

Five charities - the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, NSPCC, Pathways, CHUF and the Alan Shearer Centre - will benefit from the game.

All information can be found on the website