Charlie Richmond – Mark
Donald McBride – Tommy
Sam Neale – Clair
Date: Tuesday 16th July 2019
Venue: The Customs House, South Shields
The word legend is used probably too often when referring to someone now, but not when it comes to Sir Bobby Robson. It cannot be used enough to help describe the great man and football manager. He is the reason my love for football reached another level, starting to attend games at St James Park during his era and quite possibly the best era the club has ever had.
The play is set up in a fantastic way with three different characters from different backgrounds and focusing on many different stages and events in Bobby’s life. Which I am sure will see different audience members relate more to different events in an outstanding tribute to the legendary man.
We have Tommy who was a friend of Bobby and talks about how much he came to his need whenever he most needed it. Taking him to the different clubs and how he has such fond memories of being his driver. Tommy a former professional footballer who was struggling after a career ending injury, what could he do next and can he stop the drinking? This certainly pushed boundaries to the suicidal thoughts and something that must be so difficult for sportspeople if they can no longer compete anymore. But Bobby would appear for the second time in his life and encourage him to get into coaching. Clair is a single mother to a sick son named Jack, she still talks to Bobby after falling in love with Newcastle United during his era and the bond with his Grandad which they shared heading to St James Park.
Personally for me I could look at two main parts from this play which felt really deep and meaningful. From being a huge football/Newcastle United fan and seeing Bobby the day he signed, even making it in that legendary photo which was put on the screen during the play, so technically I can say I was in it as well! That was a big moment in my life as it was the first massive football event which I attended. Therefore when watching and realising I am only a few years younger than the character of Clair, I can remember with fondness the players Bobby helped develop into top players. The shirt she put on as well, had that one! The second part I can relate to is the coaching side, I currently work full time in football working as a coach. Something that really is not easy and watching the play and hearing about the coaching side and the way Mark was studying and learning like Bobby did certainly gave me a very warm and good feeling.
Everything about the play just works out in an amazing way and all the time linking to how Bobby has inspired so many people in so many different ways. Even when he was battling cancer for the final time the selfless nature of the man was to try and help others. Setting up the Bobby Robson Foundation and the clinical trials people took part in. The legacy of that still helping so many people in the North East.
Nessun Dorma which was the theme from Italia 90 when Bobby got so close to that first World Cup final since 1966. That almost broke me as it reminds me now of his final public appearance at the re-match with the Germans and it totally breaks my heart. Along with Local Hero being played as well with the big picture of Bobby on the screen followed by a well deserved standing ovation from the audience.
Tom Kelly really worked his magic and created a unique story with amazing voices for each character. It was also very amusing and funny at times, most of that coming from Tommy, really helping to lighten the mood. Performances from Charlie Richmond, Donald McBride and Sam Neale were all truly outstanding and amazing from start to finish. I adored everything about each character, the journey they were on and how Bobby really helped influence everything in their life. I know for sure Bobby had a positive impact on my own, thank you Bobby for making my love for football even bigger than I could have ever imagined!
I loved Bobby and I love that this play will help keep his memory and legacy alive, a reminder of better times.