I felt a little for Bobby Robson last night. The Sky cameras had cornered him at what looked like a racetrack. Recorded live to air, he was asked about Newcastle’s rather unusual week.
The trouble with Bobby is he can’t stand silence and chatters when he should let the interviewer plug the gaps. Asked about his new signings, he completely forget about Stephen Carr reminding me of my favourite Robsonism; About a month after Lua Lua had signed, an interviewer asked if he had a nickname at the club. The player said no, he didn’t. So what does the manager call you? Lua Lua looked down, shuffled his feet and said, “Carl Cort.”
On his relationship with Shearer, Robson sighed, then looked to the heavens. He once said players never understand substitutions until they become managers. A sensible comment. Unfortunately he seems to have forgotten it and kept talking about ‘pulling him off’, suggesting it’s the manager’s prerogative to do so (which of course it is, but a nation caught up in the language of dogging and roasting merely giggles). “It’s like when Arsene Wenger pulls off Thierry Henry” he added, “he doesn’t like it, but it’s for the good of the team.”
Robson gets away with it simply because he’s Bobby Robson. Even his tactical quirks are forgiven. I remember Italia 90 when Mark Wright (no stranger to TMFD at the moment) was asked to play as a libero. He ran around in front of the back four with the tactical nous of a streaker invading the field. I think part of the reason Dyer was booed on Wednesday was because of Robson. Dyer with his attitude, his jewellery and tabloid exploits is the antithesis of Robson’s life, a player that makes his manager shake his head more than any other.
It was a strange interview, in an odd week for Newcastle (Dyer, Woodgate etc). Of the latter Robson was more his usual self, “what can you do?” he suggested. Quite. The more interesting question (which remained unsaid) is why Real Madrid are interested in an injury prone defender with a dubious attitude to foreigners.
Robson looked relieved at the end. A scoop for Sky I suppose, but uncomfortable viewing. I think all this ‘Sir Bobby’ stuff embarrasses him.