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Former England boss Robson dies

The former England football manager, Sir Bobby Robson, dies aged 76 after a long battle with cancer.

The former England football manager, Sir Bobby Robson, died today. He was 76. Robson had been fighting cancer for a number of years. He was diagnosed with inoperable tumours in both lungs last year. After ending a playing career that earned him 20 England caps, Robson moved into management and after a successful spell in charge of Ipswich Town he became England manager in 1982. Robson lead England to the World Cup semi-finals in 1990 he returned to club management, including spells in charge of PSV Eindhoven, Barcelona, Porto and his beloved Newcastle United. A statement issued on behalf of his family said: "It is with great sadness that it has been announced today that Sir Bobby Robson has lost his long and courageous battle with cancer. "He died very peacefully this morning at his home in County Durham with his wife and family beside him. "Sir Bobby's funeral will be private and for family members only. "A thanksgiving service in celebration of Sir Bobby's life will be held at a later date for his many friends and colleagues. "Lady Robson and the family would very much appreciate it if their privacy could be respected at this difficult time." On Sunday, a wheelchair-bound Robson was at St James' Park for a charity match in his honour which attracted a crowd of more than 30,000 fans. Robson was England's most successful manager after Sir Alf Ramsey, leading the team to the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup, where they were defeated by Argentina, thanks in part to Diego Maradona's infamous 'Hand of God' goal. Four years later, Robson took England to the semi-finals of the World Cup in Italy losing on penalties to West Germany. It was not until 1999, 31 years after he first entered management, that Robson took the job he always seemed destined for, the manager of Newcastle United. A hugely-successful five-year spell saw the Magpies qualify twice for the Champions League but in 2004, he was dismissed after a poor start to the season. Robson had beaten cancer on a number of occasions ? bowel cancer in 1992, a malignant melanoma in 1995, and a tumour in his right lung and a brain tumour, both in 2006. Last year he launched the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation to raise money for cancer research. The British Prime Minister Gordon Brown paid tribute to Robson and said he would be "sorely missed". "I was extremely saddened to hear of the death of Sir Bobby Robson," Mr Brown said. "I had the privilege of meeting Bobby on many occasions. He epitomised everything that is great about football in this country. "His passion, patriotism, dedication and professionalism knew no equal during his time both as a player and a manager. "His remarkable achievements as manager of Ipswich Town and then of England are among the most distinguished in English football history, and he was able to replicate that extraordinary success during his time at PSV Eindhoven, Porto and Barcelona. "Over the past few years, he fought cancer with his characteristic tenacity and good humour. "He will be sorely missed ? not only in Newcastle and Ipswich, both of whom he served with such devotion, but by all sports fans in our country. "My sincere condolences go to his wife Elsie and his family." The former England and Newcastle skipper Alan Shearer paid tribute to a "great man". "Sunday was a fitting tribute to him and he will be sadly missed by everyone, not just by people in the football world but from all walks of life," Shearer said. "It's a very sad day for everyone, especially his family, his close friends and anyone who's ever worked with him."

*PA Sport

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