Torquil Jones & Gabriel Clarke: Bobby Robson

— with the subtitle “More than a Manager” is a well-made classic football documentary about the legendary Englishman, who played football 20 times for England and was a coach/manager for more than 50 years, not only in England but abroad in Holland, Portugal, Spain before he returned to his last job in the club, that was very close to his heart, Newcastle United. With classic I mean, interviews with players who praises Robson, archive with him, clips from games.

Bobby Robson (Sir Robert William Robson) (1933-2009) was a true British gentleman, an old school coach, for several of the players a father figure like for Paul Gascoigne, Gazza, this fantastic player who later on spoilt his carreer through alcoholism. In the film Gazza comes back several times saying how Robson was always checking how he was. To help him. The same for Brazilian Ronaldo, who was 19 when Robson took him to FC Barcelona supported by Danish coach, former star Frank Arnesen, who had discovered Ronaldo and brought him to PSV Eindhoven.

There are wonderful clips from Ronaldo’s stay at Barca in 1996-1997 and this year is in many ways the focus of the film. Robson loved to be in Barcelona but the fans did not like his kind of football, even if the won titles for the Catalan club. He took over from Johan Cruyff and his style was not appreciated. Nevertheless, Pep Guardiola, who was playing for Barca that year, praises him, as does Robson’s “translator”, José Mourinho, who learned from him – well, my comment, the gentlemanship he did not take with him! At a press conference you see Robson, who had just been sacked next to the new coach, Dutch van Gaal… no charisma at all!

If not for him, I would not have had a career, says Gary Lineker (the best coach England has ever had, is another sentence from the brilliant goal scorer), the same goes for another great player Alan Shearer, who stresses that Robson saved Newcastle United.

The private Bobby Robson is also in the film. His widow talks nicely about their life together, and one of the sons, with private archive and information about how he overcome a handful cancer operations, except fort he last one…

England, 2018, 100 mins. Available on Netflix.   

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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