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My Autobiography: An Englishman Abroad Paperback – 13 Aug 1999
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Put simply, Bobby Robson ranks as one of the great club managers of the modern age and the most successful coach of the England team in the last 30 years.
An Englishman Abroad is the story of how Robson went from coaching the amateurs of Oxford University to an unparallelled record of managerial success in professional football--first with Ipswich then at the helm of some of the giants of the European game, taking the England squad to World Cup quarter finals and semi-finals on the way.
His critical studies of the great players whose careers he has helped to shape-- Hoddle, Gascoigne and Ronaldo, among them--are insightful and brutally honest.
Nurturing and empathetic, but ruthless in his judgement and resolve, Robson's managerial style has been a unique blend of the paternal and the professional. His unquenchable passion for the game and genuine affection for each subsequent generation of young stars are unmistakeable.
Romantic and pragmatic by turns and charged with a tremendous enthusiasm for the future at each step, Robson is an entertaining interpreter of his own life in and out of the spotlight.
His is too genuine and spontaneous a voice to lend itself entirely to prose, but a largely successful attempt to put the man on paper makes this book something special. --Alex Hankin
Bobby Robson is still one of the most sought after managers in football (having also played for England, Fulham and West Bromwich Albion), and few can match his international expertise. He built Ipswich up from a stuggling league side to League Champions and is till revered there as a hero. England reached the 1990 World Cup semi-finals under him and he tell the inside story of working with Gasgoine, Lineker and others. Robson managed PSV Eindhoven and won over the sceptical Dutch, before going to Barcelona (at the third time of asking) and buying Ronaldo, the world's most expensive player. They won three trophies, only for him to be displaced due to political infighting. Now back with Eindhoven, Robson is uniquely placed to compare managing football teams both here and in Europe, and he talks candidly about the future of the game.
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Bobby talks about his run ins with World Class players like Romario and Figo. Not many managers can talk about managing world class player in our era like SBR can. Players like Gascoigne, Liniker, Butcher, Beardsley, Shilton, Figo, Ronaldo (Twice), Van Nistlerooy, and Shearer the list goes on.
SBR is also the most successful English manager and shall in many people’s eyes be a legend. He also talks about his time as Barca boss and the way he was treated, coming Runners up and winning a cup over here in England would been seen as a great triumph this is not so on the continent.
I am ashamed of my first impressions of the man. Lingering images of him helplessly grimacing and gesticulating on the bench, his less than eloquant performances in press conferences, and countless negative press reports of the man have taken its toll. His inability to remember names is legendary and hilarious. Yet, I rate this as one of the best books written by a manager who is still very much in the front line of the game.
Mr Robson doesn't just give you chronological blow-by-blow summary of his life. The book is filled with views and opinions on the game today. Mr Robson had no hesitation in persuading Barcelona to buy Ronaldo at what was considered an astronomical figure back then. Barca subsequently made a tidy profit on Ronaldo. The fees involved were paltry compared to the fees today. The point is, Mr Robson is not a man of the past. Mr Robson has foresight, and he has much to contribute to the game today. His views are relevant and worth listening to.
Mr Robson's enthusiasm (why does he still bother, you wonder?), honesty and integrity (Harry Redknapp's autobiography makes an interesting contrasting study), warmth and humour (yes, he has a sense of humour, the chapter on his time at Ipswich Town is hilarious), and his immense managerial experience (he succesfully coached teams in 3 countries) make this compulsory reading for all students of the game. You'll learn something and be entertained at the same time.
Respect. The man deserves it.
The only bad point is that Robson is somewhat of a self publicist and it's clear to see that this book is a bit of a C.V. for either the England job or a top premier posting judging by the number of hints he drops throughout.
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