On Friday, Bobby Robson died of cancer . Sir Bobby, Uncle Bobby or Wor Bobby. Now he is seen as a figurehead for the simple days when money and greed were not the main emphasis in professional football in England.

For me , he is much more . As a young boy from East Anglia who idolised the blues he showed what football was about; entertaining but winning football , a passion to win , sportsmanship . Going to Portman Road and following the blues in my formative years was as good as it gets; Beattie, Mills, Muhren , Mariner , Brazil, Johnny Wark, Thijssen.

I have scoured the papers and web in recent days and feel John Nicholson summed him up best with the following in football365.com

Sir Bobby: Proof That Good Guys win ….

Born into the belly of the Durham coalfields, Bobby Robson grew up with the pits in his bloodstream. That down-to-earth, straight-forward, noble spirit never left him and was to guide him through the shallow money trench of fools that he was later to experience in the football world.But Bobby was bloody good. Good enough to be called up for England in 1957. He went on to play 20 times for his country, eventually being replaced in 1962 by a young Bobby Moore – not a bad player to lose your place to.

While an excellent player, it was coaching that fascinated him. He took over at Ipswich in 1969.In his 13 years at the club, Ipswich went from being a back-water club to being UEFA Cup champions, FA Cup winners and twice runners-up in the league. Even at the time, when football was a more equal, less money-driven affair, this struck the football world as little short of incredible. And it was all down to Robson. All down to his ability to spot talent, blend it and cohere it into a fiercely loyal and well-organised team.And what sides he built there – turning the likes of Mick Mills, Terry Butcher, Paul Mariner, George Burley, Alan Brazil and Kevin Beattie into international players.They were joined by Dutchmen Arnold Muhren and Frans Thijssen at a time when the league was largely full of home-based players – the presence of two Dutch internationals were a radical, progressive move by Bobby.

Given what he had achieved, it was no surprise that he got the England call-up in 1982. While the people’s choice was undoubtedly Brian Clough, Cloughie was always too scary, too unpredictable, and too wild for the FA’s taste. Bert Millichip, the FA chief, offered it to the genial Geordie thinking it would be an easier choice.But Bobby, while outwardly a cheerful, good-natured man, wasn’t without steel and grit. Like many intelligent working-class men, he knew how to fight his corner. He’d left WBA in the 60s over a wage dispute – returning to Fulham who had offered him what he wanted. He’d fought a legal dispute while in Canada in an early coaching disaster.It was strength of purpose he was to need as England failed to qualify for the 1984 Euros. His 1986 World Cup team (which he later thought was the best England squad since 1966) was cheated out of the tournament by Maradona’s hand of God – or as Bobby typically put it – ‘the hand of a rascal’. 1988 was a disaster as England crashed out of the Euros, losing all three games. At the same time, The Sun and The Daily Mirror were having a readership war and took it in turns to see who could be a bigger bastard towards Bobby. He was ridiculed, abused and derided by journalists who would later, hypocritically, praise and laud him. He offered the FA his resignation but it was refused. The FA wasn’t yet the cringing, bitch of the tabloids that it later became under Brian Barwick.But these were tough times for Bobby. England had some great players in Beardsley Barnes, Lineker, Waddle, Gascoigne but as is ever the case with England, they gelled all too infrequently. Until Italia 1990. Even then, there were tabloid calls to ‘bring them home’ after a draw against Ireland. Pathetic.That look of disappointment on his tanned face as Waddle put the penalty over the bar hid a deeper despair. England’s failure to get to the final and surely beat an average Argentinean side was to haunt him for the rest of his life.

Perhaps sensing that was his moment; his time in history; the culmination of all those years. From the pits of Langley Park to the playing fields of Turin; it had been an epic journey but it was over. But it wasn’t the end. He won the league twice with PSV. He rescued Sporting Lisbon from the doldrums with the help of his young translator Jose Mourinho, going on to even greater success at Porto with Jose now installed as assistant manager. Bobby had spotted early the man that was to become the primo managerial talent of the 21st century. The honours and stellar success just continued. His next gig at Barcelona resulted in him getting the 1996-97 European Manager of the Year award.

But when Newcastle came calling, it was an irresistible challenge and saw him return to live in his native north east for the rest of his life. He was welcomed with open arms. His Newcastle team was actually very good. They won 8-0 in his first match in charge. They finished third, fourth and fifth in his three full seasons in charge. This wasn’t good enough for the mentalists in charge at Newcastle, nor lest it be forgotten, for some of the fans who turned against him. There was talk of having lost the dressing room.To more dispassionate observers, it was clear Robson was doing a brilliant job. But that has never stopped anyone getting the sack at Newcastle and after a poor start to the 2004-05 season, he was sacked and thus began the decline of Newcastle from top-flight high achievers to laughing stock, as men without an ounce of the vision, knowledge or integrity of Bobby, abused, raped and humiliated the club out of the Premier League and to the point of extinction.Bobby had warned that the infrastructure of Newcastle was being ignored and un-funded. The youth development was rubbish, the training ground so crap that injuries were rife and remain so, and the talent scouts so hopeless that they persistently recommended players that had neither the skill, attitude nor mentality to play for Newcastle. Bobby knew this. They sacked him anyway. Ignorant fools.

Throughout the last 20 years he’d been battling with various cancers and illnesses. But they make them bloody tough in the north east and he fought them all long and hard and in doing so raised a huge amount of money for his anti-cancer charity The Bobby Robson Foundation. Anyone who saw him attend the charity match at St James’ Park on Sunday may have been forgiven for thinking perhaps the fight was almost over.Bobby had become a father figure or a genial old uncle who seemed to embody all that we love about football. In an era obsessed with image and role models he was the proof that the good guys can sometimes win. Those who played under him such as Chris Waddle and Terry Butcher still think of him as the gaffer. His players loved him. He got under their skin; treated them as men, understood them, praised them when necessary, criticised them when it was needed. But did so all in private. Dignity and pride was important top Bobby and he treated his players as he wanted to be treated himself. His career straddled 50 of the most revolutionary years in the game’s history and he was successful throughout at the highest levels. But as great as his achievements in the game were, his greatest achievement was to be a thoroughly decent, noble, loveable, warm man throughout.The light that shone from him should not be dimmed by time. It should be a beacon of decency to guide future generations.

He died back in his native County Durham, the coal now long gone but the spirit as strong as ever.The emotion that rises in my throat as I write this doesn’t lie. That smile, the shrug of the shoulder and the twinkle in the eye as he talked about football – you can’t hide a good soul. He was special. He will not be forgotten.