An incredible music, comedy and football ‘team sheet’ has been revealed for the celebration at The Sage Gateshead to mark what would have been Sir Bobby Robson’s 80th birthday.
Sir Bobby Robson – A Celebration will raise funds for The Alan Shearer Foundation and Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
Virgin Money has come on board to support the event and Virgin founder, Sir Richard Branson, sent his own personal message of support saying: “These days it’s all too easy to use the word legend to describe someone, but I don’t think anyone could dispute its use when describing Sir Bobby Robson. Bobby was genuinely loved by die-hard football fans and by the nation at large.
“As a business based in the North East, Virgin Money is proud to support such a great tribute to the life of Sir Bobby and, equally as important, we hope the event raises lots of money for these two great foundations.”
Hosted by Jim Rosenthal and Billy Mitchell, the star-studded line up on 18th February now includes Russell Watson, Alistair McGowan, Peter Brewis of Field Music with The Cornshed Sisters, Paul Smith of Maximo Park, Ruby Turner, Faryl Smith, Scarlett Street and Ben Ottewell.
All in addition to the big name performers already announced – Mark Knopfler, Joe McElderry, Northern Sinfonia, Orchestra of The Sage Gateshead, The Unthanks, Simon Day and Paul Whitehouse.
New additions also include Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas, who will be sharing his special memories of Sir Bobby from his time at Porto. Newcastle United’s coaching team, including John Carver, and Sir Bobby’s former players Steve Harper, Shola Ameobi and Steven Taylor will talk about his enduring influence at the club.
There is one change to the original team sheet announced in October as England manager Roy Hodgson is now unable to attend. He will be ably replaced by England legend and Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce, who will be recalling the memorable and emotional night in Turin when they so nearly reached the Italia 90 World Cup final.
Roy says: “I’m sure I have said many times before, but it is important to keep saying it and always to remember, that Bob was an inspiration to me as a football coach. And more than that, when I became fortunate enough to know him, he was an inspiration as a man.
“His career in football, as his life in the outside world, was filled with dignity and humility, which he showed to everyone he encountered and he was truly someone about whom a bad word could never be said. Despite his grace and sound qualities he did not lack for passion or drive in his pursuits, and football lost a legend when he passed away.
“I am entirely humbled to be able to walk the same footsteps he trod over two decades ago as England Manager. I remember those times, particularly Italia ’90 which was as close as our country has come to repeating the triumph of 1966. I also remember his work in other countries, he was successful in Portugal, Spain and Holland and that is something that stuck with me. I spent a lot of my career in football abroad and he was someone I could relate to in that sense.
“His battles with cancer summoned all the dignity and courage he showed within football, and only further emphasised the great person he was, and we won’t forget him. The work that has continued with his foundation is a lasting tribute to him, and a power of good for the world. Lady Elsie, his sons who I saw recently at The FA 150 launch, and everyone associated with the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation are doing tremendous work.”
Maximo Park’s Paul Smith says: “As a massive football fan, I’ve always been conscious of the respect Bobby Robson had throughout the sport and so it’s a big honour to be involved in the event. The north-east loves its football and it loves its music, so the combination of those two elements should make the event truly memorable.
“Everyone involved, myself included, will be aware of how unique this evening will be and how much help it will provide for two great local charities that change people’s lives for the better.”
Lady Elsie says: “I’m so touched by the enthusiasm there is for this event and I’m really pleased to welcome Virgin Money on board. We appreciate their support and they are joining a tremendous team.
“The way everyone has pitched in to help make this night a success is amazing. We were looking at our list of people to thank in the programme and it struck me that it has both FIFA and a local junior football club on there. Bob would have loved that.
“It’s taken an awful lot of work to get things to this stage and so much of it’s been done by volunteers. That kind of commitment is incredible.
“It’s going to be a wonderful night of music, football and comedy and no doubt a lot of very happy memories.”
Sir Bobby Robson – A Celebration will feature some of Sir Bobby’s ‘Desert Island Discs’ as well as excerpts from his final interviews, which were originally filmed for use at this event when it was first planned, with his involvement, in 2009.
Sir Bobby was passionate about live music and enthusiastic at the prospect of a charity evening which would unite greats from football, music and comedy on the banks of the Tyne.
Sadly, because of his failing health, that original event was postponed. Now the team behind it, with the help and input of both Lady Elsie and Alan Shearer, are pleased to fulfil Sir Bobby’s ambition by creating what is sure to be a spectacular and emotional evening.
Tickets for Sir Bobby Robson – A Celebration sold out within hours of their release in October. However, the first of a limited number of seats originally set aside for production purposes will now be released for sale on Thursday 14th February priced at £75.
More may be released for sale closer to the event. Please see www.thesagegateshead.org or call 0191 443 4661 for details.