Interview: Seb White 
Images: Offside Sports Photography

"Bobby Robson was my idol. I was an Ipswich Town supporter and used to watch them all the time at Portman Road. So when I joined the club and was taught the game by him, it was amazing, and he was very patient with the young players. He respected me, and I trusted him immensely.

"He could be tough, mind, even more so with England. I really had to earn my place in the squad, because I lived near him and we would walk our dogs together. I even used to cut his grass. But it helped that I knew what he wanted and what pleased him. I was with him for 14 years from 1976 to 1990. Bobby was like my grandfather, father, uncle and brother all rolled into one.

"We had a great team spirit already, but what happened to Bobby with the treatment from the press in the run-up to Italia 90 angered us, and it knitted us together even more. There was a real siege mentality, and it brought us all together behind Bobby. We knew it was his last tournament and we wanted to give him a big sendoff and a last hurrah.

"We had such a great time off the pitch; I don't see how players complain of being bored at World Cups these days, I mean they've got the internet, we only had Monopoly and Peter Beardsley! We all just got on so well; you could go into a dining room and sit at any table with any player, that’s how tight we were as a bunch. We all knew and respected each other, and could always talk things through. It’s not always about the coaching, it’s familiarity and trust, so when you go onto the pitch, you know you’ve got each other’s back and would do anything for each other.  

"Before the Belgium game, he just threw the armband at me and said: “You’re skipper”. There were a lot of players that could captain England, but he chose me. It’s hard to describe that feeling when you know you’re going to captain England at a World Cup. And looking back, only me and Bobby Moore have captained an England team in a World Cup semifinal. Bobby was my hero growing up, I loved him to bits, and that’s why I wore number 6.

"When I watch clips back from the Germany game, I still believe we’re going to win. I think that Chris Waddle shot in extra time is going to hit the post and go in, I really do.

"There was a lot of tears and disbelief after the game, because we played our best football in that match, and we just believed if we’d got past West Germany we would beat a depleted Argentina in the final. We were all in our own world afterwards, but Bobby came in and said: “Lads you’ve done your country proud, you couldn’t have given the people or me any more”. And as always Bobby was right, I’m still so proud of what we did."

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1 comment


“Where’s Gazza? Where’s Gazza?” “Play well, son.” 😢

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