Doc­u­men­tary hon­ours the foot­ball manag­ing le­gacy of Bobby Robson; Fa­ther John Misty’s fourth al­bum

A doc­u­men­tary about Bobby Robson re­veals a man­ager who knew how to make oth­ers shine

Esquire (UK) - - Contents -

Most biopics need light and shade. Ide­ally, they track the life of an in­di­vid­ual of ex­cep­tional tal­ent and Shake­spearean flaws, who achieved great­ness with mon­u­men­tal set-backs along the way, and ended in tri­umph or ig­nominy. Bobby Robson: More Than a Man­ager, a new fea­ture-length doc­u­men­tary di­rected by Torquil Jones and Gabriel Clarke, is no such story. In­stead, it shows a man of re­mark­ably warm and ro­bust char­ac­ter, buf­feted by the winds of for­tune, or rather the whims of high-level foot­ball. Which comes with a poignancy of its own.

The film opens with Robson’s dis­cov­ery in 1995 that he had a ma­lig­nant melanoma in his si­nuses, a di­ag­no­sis which for most peo­ple, his doc­tor tells us, would mean that “two to three years would be good”. Not Bobby though: nine months later he took over at Barcelona. If this is meant to set out the stall for what kind of a man Robson was, then the film goes all out to prove its the­sis. How, in the Eight­ies, his reign at Ip­swich Town got them named “best club in Europe”; how, in 1990, he led Eng­land closer

to World Cup glory than they’d come since 1966, and how he breathed life into an ail­ing New­cas­tle United in his fi­nal man­age­rial po­si­tion in the early Noughties.

The lows, when they came, were of­ten im­posed on him — his un­cer­e­mo­ni­ous oust­ing from Barcelona, the me­dia hound­ing pre­ced­ing his exit from the Eng­land job and, of course, the dis­ease that ul­ti­mately killed him. But the love that em­anates from those in­ter­viewed, from

Ron­aldo, Alan Shearer, Pep Guardi­ola and a tear­ful Paul Gas­coigne is un­de­ni­ably touch­ing. Even José Mour­inho, for many years Robson’s right-hand man, tem­po­rar­ily sets aside his sneer. Far from be­ing a flaw, Robson’s nice­ness, this film sug­gests, was his sin­gu­lar strength.

Bobby Robson: More Than a Man­ager is out in cin­e­mas on 31 May, avail­able dig­i­tally on 1 June and is out on DVD on 4 June

Gaffer on tape: Sir Bobby Robson at St James’ Park dur­inghis ten­ure as man­ager of New­cas­tle United (1999–2004)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.