About six months ago, I heard there was a Bobby Robson documentary being released in the UK. That’ll be a DVD purchase I thought, Amazon will come to the rescue. Luckily, over the weekend I discovered it was available on Netflix and I was able to get stuck in.
Directed by Gabriel Clarke & Torquil Jones (who previously worked together on ‘Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans’) this is a cut above most sports documentaries. It covers the life and times of Sir Bobby, who Gary Lineker describes during the film as the best English football manager of all time.
Cleverly woven around his one season managing Barcelona in 1996/97, the documentary goes back and forward to cover his roots, playing career, managerial highs and lows, his health issues; but the overriding thing you learn is the incredible respect he had from so many people, the warmth he generated and the fondness people remember him with.
The roll call of contributors is impressive; Sir Alex Ferguson, Alan Shearer, Pep Guardiola for example, but two stood out for me, namely Jose Mourinho (who still calls him ‘Mr Robson’) and Paul Gascoigne. Despite their different personalities, Sir Bobby’s relationship with Mourinho set the scene for the success he has had since becoming a manager. With Gazza, you get a real sense of Robson the man manager, the care he had for his players, not just when he coached them, but in life beyond that – it’s emotional stuff.
Towards the end, as his managerial career came to a conclusion, there is coverage of his charitable pursuits and the legacy they leave, the documentary is very aptly named.
Whether you know much about Robson, or you’re new to him, this film ticks plenty of boxes. Well structured with plenty of new (old) footage and interviews, it’s a great way to spend an hour and 39 minutes. You’ll smile for a lot of it, be frustrated at times on Sir Bobby’s behalf but you’ll understand why people loved him so much. A man of the people who had values, believed in a sense of community, and did his best to make other people better and happy. It’s great viewing.
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