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City History

Sir Bobby Robson

Saturday March 19, 2005.

Keith Usher leaves City after 18 years. Best Keith Usher story ever?

His boyhood (and manhood) hero is Sir Bobby Robson. It was a long running joke in the office that someone in the office would shout, "Keith, Bobby Robson is on the phone". Keith would pick up the phone and dutifully go along with the joke, playing along with the latest prankster (usually one of the youth team coaches, Gary Naylor et al) until the joke ran thin. In those, pre Sir Bobby Robson days.

One day, about April 1990, Keith had to deal with a rather more persistent than usual caller. "But Keith, I really am Bobby Robson, yes, that Bobby Robson, manager of England”. Keith would get more agitated, redder and redder in the face as the conversation went on.

“You know that friendly you're trying to arrange for York against England, sorry, we've got no free England dates before The World Cup, sorry Keith", the caller proferred, stil maintaining his dignity as Keith hurled insult after insult, swear word after swear word.

"What friendly? Get off the line, if York had a quid for every Bobby Robson impersonator, we'd be richer than Manchester United", replied Keith, still getting redder in the face by the minute as he got terser and terser.

With the conversation going around in circles, the penny finally dropped on Keith, it really was Bobby Robson. He was apologising to Keith that he couldn't bring his England squad to Bootham Crescent for a warm up game before Italia 90.

Bobby Robson, what a man, finding time in his busy scheduIe to call someone he’d never met, getting insulted and keeping his calm.

In 1989, England had played a warm up friendly against Aylesbury before an end of season international. The Shipton Street Roof Appeal thought if Aylesbury can play England, why not City?

Bobby Robson, what a legend.


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