18th February – Bobby Robson

Bobby Robson has gone down as one of the greatest managers ever after an excellent career but more importantly to him he went down as one of the few genuine nice people in the world of football.

There isn’t anyone that says a bad word about Bobby Robson and he is loved all over Europe after managing in Portugal, Holland, Spain and England with most clubs he was at holding him in a very high regard. It is very rare for someone to be loved as much as him by all football fans and everyone will remember him for a long time to come.

Robson started his career with Fulham in 1950 as an inside forward and spent six years at the club playing 152 games and scoring 68 goals before moving to West Brom for a club record fee of £25,000. He finished as the club’s top scorer during the 57-58 season was also given the captain’s armband but in 1962 he returned to Fulham. His second spell lasted five years and in 1967 he joined Vancouver Royals as player-manager.

Robson Fulham

He only spent a year in Canada before returning to Fulham for a third spell, this time as manager. He could not save them from relegation and was sacked in the following campaign. But he was given a chance by Ipswich Town in 1969 and he would build one of the best teams ever seen at the club. After four average years he led the club to fourth place in the First Division and won the Texaco Cup during the 1972-73 season which was the start of something special. For the next nine seasons they only finished below sixth once but in that same season they won the FA Cup so that made up for it.

His reign at Ipswich lasted 13 years and he even won the UEFA Cup in 1981 but even more remarkably during his time at the club he only signed 14 players and made up the rest of the squad with players that came through the youth team. These achievements landed him the England job and it is fair to say that he has been one of the most popular England managers ever. But it could have been so different after he offered his resignation after England failed to qualify for Euro 84. He didn’t have much success in the Euros but his record in World Cups was very good as he led England to the quarter finals in 86 and were only beaten by Diego Maradona’s Hand of God goal and a bit of magic from the Argentinean. But in 1990 after being hated by many sections of the media he went closer than any other England manager to winning the trophy and reached the semi finals before being beaten on penalties by West Germany. On arrival back home the team and manager were cheered and nobody wanted Robson to leave the job.

Robson England

Robson had already accepted a job offer from PSV after the FA told him they weren’t renewing his contract before the World Cup. While in Holland he won the league title twice before moving to Sporting Lisbon in 1992, where he hired a young Jose Mourinho to be his interpreter. After a decent first season in which the club finished third, he had took them to the top of table but was surprisingly sacked. Rivals Porto were quick to appoint Robson and they went on to beat Sporting in the Portuguese Cup final and would go on to win the title in the next two seasons.

After his success in Portugal he made the move to Spain and joined Barcelona and he led them to the Spanish Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup but was moved upstairs into a general manager position after just one season. He only spent one more year in Spain and returned to PSV for a short spell before he finally came home.

Newcastle appointed Robson in September 1999 and he turned the whole club around right from his very first home match. They went on to beat Sheffield Wednesday 8-0 with Alan Shearer scoring five goals. In just over one season he took Newcastle from bottom of the table to qualifying for the Champions League, finishing fourth and then third in the next campaign. Such was the turnaround that a fifth place finish was disappointing in his final full season in charge.

Robson NUFC

Robson was sacked after a slow start and every Newcastle fan will agree that the club haven’t been the same since and the fans still love him today. Unfortunately aged 76 on the 31st July 2009 he passed away and the news was very hard for most to take that followed football including players, coaches and fans.

The final words are difficult to choose because of how many good things were said about Bobby but Alex Ferguson summed up everything by saying. “I was never too big or proud to ask him for advice which he gave freely and unconditionally. And I’m sure I’m speaking for a lot of people when I say that. There is not a person I would put an inch above Bobby Robson. Always a smile, always a friendly word with never a mention of his own problems. The world, not just the football world, will miss him.”

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10th February – Radamel Falcao

Radamel Falcao has been one of the most prolific goalscorers in Europe over the last few years but his move to Manchester United has been very stop start because of injuries and he hasn’t quite lived up to what people expected.

Just four goals in 16 games is not that great for someone with his talents but as everyone knows the English league does take more time to adapt than any other. It is up in the air whether he will be given more than just this season at Old Trafford but it is not just him that is suffering, Robin Van Persie doesn’t look the same player this year and Wayne Rooney is being asked to play a lot deeper which has restricted his goalscoring opportunities.

Falcao is now 29 but remarkably he made his debut 16 years ago as a 13 year old in the Colombian Categoria Primera B on the 28th August 1999 for Lanceros Boyaca. Over the next two years he played eight games and scored one goal which is incredible. His performances convinced Argentinean side River Plate to sign him and after playing in their youth team he finally made his first team debut in 2005. Manager Reinaldo Merlo placed a lot of trust in Falcao and he repaid him with seven goals in seven games. But a knee injury meant that he was out for the next six months.

Falcao RP

He recovered from this and after two great seasons he was being linked with moves to Europe and eventually on the 15th July 2009 he joined Portuguese side Porto and was an instant success, scoring in the first four league matches and finished his first season with 34 goals in all competitions. The Europa League became his favourite competition as he scored a lot of goals in both years and ended the 2010-11 season with 17 goals in 14 games and just proved to everyone he should be playing at a higher level. He had found the back 72 times in all competitions for the club in just two seasons.

FC Porto's Colombian forward Radamel Fal

On the 18th August 2011 Falcao did make the move away and joined Spanish side Atletico Madrid. The goals kept flowing for him and he was once again lethal in the Europa League, helping the team win the trophy like he had done with Porto. He ended his first campaign with 36 goals, the highest ever for a player in his first year at the club. In the following season he inevitably scored goals but he also adapted his game slightly and became more than just a goalscorer and this was most shown in the Copa Del Rey final win over Real Madrid when he produced a fantastic performance and didn’t even score which would have been a rare for him earlier in his career.

Falcao AM

Then came one of the most surprising moves when he decided to leave Atletico and join Monaco. It seemed like it was going to be business as normal for the striker when he scored on his debut against Bordeaux. After hitting 11 goals in 19 games he suffered an injury that not only kept him out for the rest of the season but also the World Cup. He did return on the 10th August 2014 and scored against Lorient and then added another against Nantes before making another surprising move on loan to Manchester United.

It took him until the 5th October to score his first goal in a victory over Everton but they haven’t really flown for him since and he needs a productive end to the season if he wants to stay at the club.

The final word can go to another former Colombian striker that played in the Premier League Faustino Asprilla. “He’s a great goalscorer, a natural finisher and is among the best in the world in that position. His move took everybody by surprise. I’m sure he will do very well for Manchester United.”

15th September – Aly Cissokho

Aston Villa have had a fantastic start to the season and some are putting it down to the influence of Roy Keane while others are saying it is because of the experience they now have at the back, including birthday boy Aly Cissokho.

The 27 year old has helped the club to second in the table after four games and with three clean sheets so far and only one goal conceded they have certainly surprised a lot of people. The left back has added a lot of pace to the back line and he is always quick to support his winger when going forward.

Cissokho started his professional career at French side Gueugnon in the second division and after impressing for the youth team and reserves, he made his debut on the 25th May against Metz. Manager Alain Ravera rewarded him with a new contract and he was given the number three shirt for the 2007-08 season and remained a key member of the squad when Ravera was replaced with Alex Dupont. Despite his good performances, the club were relegated and on the 2nd June 2008, the defender transferred to Portuguese side Vitoria Setubal.
Cissokho Guegunon
He only spent half a season at the club and after just 15 appearances he was snapped up by defending champions Porto. Cissokho helped the club retain the title and in the 15 matches he played for Porto they did not lose and then he also played the full 90 minutes in the Taca de Portugal final which saw them lift the trophy after defeating Pacos de Ferreira.

Once again after just half a season he was on the move and he was close to joining AC Milan but after he allegedly failed a medical they pulled out of the deal and he ended up signing for Lyon. He made his debut in the opening game of the season against Le Mans. He remained first choice at the French side for the next three seasons and his consistent performances were recognised by the national team and he made his French debut in 2010.
Cissokho Lyon
Over the three seasons he made 137 appearances and scored two goals, with his first coming in a 4-0 thrashing of Hungarian side Debrecen. On the 23rd August 2012 he joined Spanish side Valencia and made his debut in a 1-0 defeat away to Barcelona. He scored his first goal for the club on his birthday against Celta Vigo which turned out to be the winning goal in a 2-1 win.
Cissokho Valencia
After just one season at the club, he was on the move once more joining Liverpool on a season long loan. He made his debut against current club Aston Villa after coming on as a substitute, however his time at the club didn’t quite go to plan and he struggled to get in the first team, making just 19 appearances all season.

Aston Villa took a chance on him in the summer and so far it seems to have paid off for them and they will be hoping he can keep up his solid performances.

The final word can go to Paul Lambert. “Aly has been at some massive clubs and has that big game experience. We have a good player on our hands here. He’s big strong and powerful. He gives you a presence.”

18th August – Ross McCormack

Ross McCormack has not had the greatest start to his time at Fulham but there is no doubting that over the last few years he has been one of the best strikers in the Championship.

With a huge fee paid for the 28 year old he was expected to lead the line for Fulham and score the goals to get them back to the Premier League. Obviously it is only early in the season and it is likely that if he is given the chances then he will certainly put a lot of them away.

The Scotland striker started his career at Rangers and made his first appearance for them at the age of 17 on the 1st May 2004 against Motherwell and on the final match of the season he scored his first professional goal against Dunfermline. His next significant contribution was in the Champions League when he scored an equaliser against Porto in his first European game. Despite this memorable goal he was being linked with loan moves away from the club to gain experience.

Doncaster Rovers took a chance on the young striker and he helped keep their playoff challenge alive as he scored five times in 19 games. At the end of his loan spell he returned to Rangers but was told that he was not part of their plans and moved to Motherwell. It was a difficult start first season at the club because of various injuries and he only managed to play 12 times in the league. However the following season was much more successful as he scored 11 goals and received the Young Player of the Month in October 2007.
McCormack Mother
On the 28th June 2008 McCormack signed for Cardiff City and made his debut on the opening day of the season against Southampton and then followed this up a week later with his first goal against former club Doncaster Rovers. It only took him three months to match his best goalscoring season and despite injuries to his hamstring in the second half of the season he still managed to finish as the club’s top scorer with 23 goals and even scored the last Cardiff goal at Ninian Park in a 3-1 win pver Burnley on the final day of the season.

The 2009-10 season was much tougher as he only managed four league goals and after falling down the pecking order he signed for Leeds United on the 27th August 2010. It took him a while to get going at Leeds and had to wait until the 30th April 2011 to score his first goal in a 1-0 win over Burnley and then followed this up with a goal on the final day in a 2-1 win over QPR.
McCormack CC
This gave the striker confidence for the new season and he started it brilliantly by scoring nine goals before the end of September and became the first Leeds player in over 50 years to score in six consecutive games. He went on to finish the season as the top scorer with 19 goals in all competitions. Despite him being linked with the Premier League his season was disrupted early on by an injury and he could not replicate his goalscoring form of the previous season, however he did manage 12 assists as he was often played out wide.
McCormack LU
Last season was very impressive despite Leeds not having the best of years and McCormack finished with 29 goals in all competitions. This was even more impressive considering what was going on at the club at the time and it is easy to see why Fulham wanted the striker so much, although some would argue that they overspent on the player.

The final word can go to Brian McDermott who gave him the captain’s armband at Leeds. “I actually spoke to Ross in April and said ‘we need leaders, are you a leader?’ I see him as a talisman and a leader. He has matured an awful lot, everyone knows what he thinks about Leeds United.”

21st May – Laurent Robert

Laurent Robert had one of the best left foots the Premier League has ever seen and a compilation of all his goals is a real joy to watch.

The Frenchman who divided opinions at times is 39 today and will always be remembered for his free kicks and his wonderful technique which is something that he had from a very young age. He began playing for Montpellier and after 124 games and 19 goals for the club he made the move to Paris Saint-Germain where he produced some outstanding performances and one that stands out the most is in a Champions League game against Rosenborg he set up six goals in a 7-2 victory.
Robert PSG
His record at PSG was attracting interest from all over Europe and he eventually signed for Newcastle United in 2001 for £9.5 million. At Newcastle he quickly became a fans favourite because he knew exactly how to find Alan Shearer and set up a lot of his goals from great crosses. In his first season at the club he scored eight times in the Premier League and helped the club to finish fourth and qualify for the Champions League. The next season was even more successful as Newcastle qualified from their Champions League group and eventually finished third in the Premier League. Manager at the time Sir Bobby Robson clearly loved the player and his attacking talents and he acknowledged that he wouldn’t always be the best at the defensive side of the game. “In the first half he took a corner, a poor corner, which hit the first defender, and it took him 17 minutes to get back to the halfway line.”

Although the 2003-04 season was slightly disappointing with Newcastle finishing fifth, they did still manage to reach the semi final of the UEFA Cup. But Robert produced one of the best performances seen by a left winger against Tottenham Hotspur as he scored two fantastic long range efforts and was simply too good for the opposition to stop. His last season at the club was tough, like a lot of players he had a falling out with new manager Graeme Souness and his time at St James Park was up.
Robert Newcastl
Robert then moved to Portsmouth where he did have not much success under Alain Perrin but did come back into the team and perform better when Harry Redknapp took over. He scored his only goal in a 2-1 loss to West Brom. He only stayed at the club for one season and then joined Portuguese team Benfica where he scored his first goal against rivals Porto in an unsurprising way as he smashed in a free kick from 40 yards. However, this was as good as it got and he was once again looking for a new club after one season.

He ended up at Levante but was not a regular and only played 13 times and was then offered a trial at Derby County which was successful. But once again he could not get the game time and after only four games he left England once again. This time he went to the MLS and signed for Toronto FC and he looked like the player of old, delivering great crosses and creating chances for his teammates but he only stayed for one season and ended up joining his former Newcastle teammate Nikos Dabizas at Greek club Larissa. This lasted just six games and he retired from the game.
Robert Moose
Although the later years of his career were not spectacular he will always be fondly remembered by Newcastle fans for the performances he gave them and some of his goals will love long in the memory. The final word can go to Sir Bobby. “In the 03-04 season he scored 11 goals and made 29 last passes prior to other players scoring. When he’s doing that, you can put up with some of the play falling back on you because he is not doing his defensive job. That’s just what he is – talented and exasperating, and a great deliverer of the ball. When we had Jenas and Bellamy and Dyer and Robert we were just terrific.”

13th April – Anderson

Anderson Luis de Abreu Oliveira or simply just Anderson is 26 today and is someone that has won many honours throughout his career but it has not always been easy for him.

Sadly at the age of nine he lost his father and had to help his mother and had to help out the family as much as he could and this is what inspired him to become a footballer. He said when he was a youngster that he would buy a house for his mother and a football pitch for all the kids in the neighbourhood.

At the age of 16 he was showing exceptional talent and started his career at Gremio where he gained iconic status by scoring the goal that got them promoted to the top division in Brazil in one of the most remarkable games in the entire history of football. It is known as the Batalha dos Aflitos. Gremio were reduced to seven men during the game and their opponents Nautico missed two penalties. 72 seconds after the second penalty was missed Anderson took on two defenders and the keeper to score 16 minutes into stoppage time.
Anderson Gremio
Quite the start to his career and in January 2006 he joined Porto and made his debut in March playing a part in helping the team seal the Portuguese Championship. The next season was a little more difficult because he broke his leg in a game against Benfica but still managed to pick up his second title medal.
Anderson Porto
He was liked by everyone at the club and when he left for Manchester United the chairman Jorge Nuno Pinto said: “I wish him happiness at Manchester United, he will have a great career there.” He was only the second Brazilian to play for the club but it was easy for him to settle at the club as there were a number of Portuguese speaking players already there. During his first few years he was a little inconsistent but when he was needed he always stepped up. Especially when it came to penalty shooutouts, he scored in the 2008 Champions League final shootout and the winning spot kick against Tottenham Hotspur in the League Cup final in 2009.

Former Arsenal midfielder Gilberto Silva had been impressed by his countryman. “It’s not that easy for a Brazilian to adapt to English football but he’s done it already.”
Anderson Man United
During the 2009-10 season he suffered a terrible injury that would keep him out of the World Cup and it wasn’t until the 19th September that he returned to the team but he had done enough in the last few seasons to get a contract extension. Later that season he went on to score twice in the Champions League semi final which secured their place in the final for the third time in four years.

After Sir Alex Ferguson left the club Anderson fell out of favour and he joined Italian club Fiorentina for the rest of the season in January 2014.

The last word can go to his former manager Ferguson after the midfielder signed his new contract: “We are delighted he has signed a new contract, he has developed tremendously since joining us and he has fantastic potential at 22, he is going to be a really top player.”