Bobby Robson is a legend in British football, and his autobiography, Farewell but not Goodbye
, is a lively and dramatic picture of a life lived in and for the Beautiful Game. While Robson has been granted almost godlike status in Newcastle and the North East, his career has touched on every aspect of the national sport. The book describes his days as a player for Fulham and West Brom in the 50s and 60s, the 20 England caps he collected over the years and (of course) his spectacularly successful career in management (all 40 years of it); there is no career quite like this in English football.
We all know, of course, that sportsmen's autobiographies are customarily written with a little 'hidden assistance', and Paul Hayward's contribution here should not be overlooked. With the latter's subtle help, the opening chapters detailing Robson's childhood and early years in the North-East have a vividness and texture worthy of such writers as John Braine. But most readers will be keen to get to Robsons sporting career, and if they do a little judicious skipping of these early chapters, they can be forgiven. Soon, were presented with some of the historic sporting achievements which have been part of Robsons stellar career. There is the Hand of God story, the ill-starred Paul Gascoigne's emotional breakdowns (which so endeared him to the nation) and the high tension of Robsons squiring the England team through two dramatic World Cups.
Too many autobiographies have cheated the reader by drawing a discreet veil over the very things that we most wish to read about -- but Robson will have no truck with such mealy-mouthed evasion; for the first time he describes the real story behind his sacking as Newcastle manager in 2004, and his five turbulent years at St Jamess Park is treated with similar frankness. --Barry Forshaw
About the Author
Bobby Robson was born in 1933 in the heart of the mining community in Sacrison, County Durham. Soon afterwards, his family moved to Langley Park, where Bobby's footballing career started, and where he became an apprentice electrician in the mines at the age of fifteen. In 1950, he joined Fulham, followed by West Bromwich Albion in 1956. He won twenty caps for England before embarking on a management career with Ipswich Town, which lasted for thirteen years. He left the club in 1982 to take up the position of England manager, and then coached in Holland, Portugal and Spain before taking over at Newcastle from 1999 until 2004.