Mark Robson

An exciting new competition, Sir Bobby’s Team, is giving football fans the opportunity to choose the starting XI of a lifetime – and supporting the work of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, part of Newcastle Hospitals Charity, in the process.

Sir Bobby worked with some of the world’s finest players during his long and distinguished football career. Now, supporters can choose from a shortlist of the very best of the best to create their own Sir Bobby Team.

The choice of incredible players available for selection highlights the quality of Sir Bobby’s teams at England and all the football clubs he managed.

The entries that best match the ultimate XI chosen collectively by a group of experienced football journalists, who are all doing the Great North Run for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation on Sunday, could win some fantastic prizes courtesy of the Great North Run, including a VIP experience of next years’ event, meeting some of the notable runners and a helicopter ride to the finish.

The competition has sparked the imagination of football fans and football players alike with entries from Alan Shearer, Sir Brendan Foster and Sir Bobby’s family.

Sir Bobby’s sons, Mark and Andrew, have both created their own teams and had great fun going down memory lane to choose their players.

Mark Robson says: “This competition means a lot to me. I’m really lucky because I’ve met many of these players and watched them many, many times. They personify Dad’s remarkable career with their quality, ability and professionalism. And they’re all such different players! Different in their attributes, positions, skill sets, and Dad coached them all.

“Dad would approve of a 3.4.3 formation. He liked to attack, be positive, not be afraid, and this shortlist of players reflects that. I sincerely hope other football fans find the time to enter and enjoy simply reading through the names as much as I did.

“The Ipswich days were remarkable. So many players came through the youth team. Never beaten at home in Europe over 10 years. Little old Ipswich! Barcelona, Real Madrid, all came to Portman Road and lost. So, for me, Butcher, Mills, Beattie, Muhren, they all easily make this shortlist of players.

“After Ipswich, eight years with England, two memorable World Cups, Mexico ‘86 and Italia ‘90. English clubs were banned from Europe from 1985 to 1990, and yet the players performed at the very highest level and were so unlucky in both competitions. The names Shilton, Robson, Gascoigne, Barnes, Waddle, Pearce, Lineker, they’re all instantly associated with England.

“And then onto Europe, of course. And what clubs and players to pick from. From Van Nistelrooy, Gerets and Romario, Van Bruekelen at PSV, Figo at Sporting Lisbon and Barcelona, Vitor Baia and Couto, Joao Pinto at Porto and then the rest of that Barcelona squad. Oh, what a team! Ronaldo ‘el phenomenon,’ Blanc, Guardiola, Popescu, Luis Enrique, Stoichkov ‘the gunslinger.’ Just amazing.

“And last, but by no means least, came Newcastle. How appropriate that last role was for Dad and, of course, Shearer and Given easily make this shortlist of players. But what quality he had throughout those teams in black and white. It was simply wonderful.”

This Sunday, Mark Robson will be joining the football journalists who chose Sir Bobby’s Team, to do the Great North Run and all of them raising funds to help the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer.

It is always a very special day, especially for the tens of thousands of runners who are supporting charities that are important to them.

Mark adds: “I’ve been lucky enough to run and experience the Great North Run about eight times. It’s the feeling of being with so many like-minded people that I really enjoy. I’ve met none of them, yet we are together, if you see what I mean. Each and every person has their own story and reason for participating. There is a glorious silence of so many people running, so many footsteps, and yet so few words being said. And to have such large crowds watching, supporting, cheering you all the way makes you feel special when you’re not.

“As you’d expect, I’m running for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation again this year. Mum and Dad started the Foundation in March 2008 and September that year was my first Great North Run.

“Dad passed away in July 2009 and I have vivid memories of running it that year as well and it was very tough emotionally.

“Physically, it felt easy, I think because I knew what Dad had gone through after so many years of cancer. I had no physical pain, in fact it felt like I was floating along. The mental pain was different though and I cried a little on a couple of occasions. That year it felt like such a long run but the tears soon disappeared when I thought about all the other runners and who and why they were running.

“The Great North Run is a truly remarkable event and we consider ourselves very fortunate that so many runners choose to undertake the challenge and help support our work every year. My family, as always, will be waiting in our Charity Village Tent at the end to welcome them all home.”

Sir Bobby Robson launched his Foundation in 2008 and it has gone on to raise over £16m to help find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer, working within the NHS and in partnership with other leading charities and organisations.

The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation funds a range of cutting-edge cancer treatments and innovative cancer support services that directly benefit patients from across the North East and Cumbria and which play a significant role in the international fight against the disease.

To enter Sir Bobby’s Team, or for more information about the competition and players to choose from, please visit:

What do you think? As ever, we would welcome your comments, opinions and views below.

You can also join the discussion at the UTD111 Forum!

Join The UTD111 Forum
The Best NUFC Forum On The Interwebby
Click Here To View


UTD111 On Facebook


UTD111 On Twitter