In recent times no one has done more to put Ipswich 'on the map' than Sir Bobby Robson. I expect many people have had similar experiences to our own. In 1998 my husband and I were in a taxi in Barcelona four months after Bobby had been controversially sacked by their great club.
"Where do you come from?" asked the driver.
"Ah, Bobby Robson. He used to ride in my taxi. Good man."
"He still has his house in Ipswich, near where we live."
"So, when you see Mr Robson, tell him Carlos the taxi driver send him best wishes."
More remarkable is that ten years earlier we were in Albania when only a few dozen British people were admitted to the country each year. We found ourselves wandering into the small and deserted national football stadium in Tirana. A groundsman came over to us and seemed to ask where we had come from. When we said "Ipswich, England" his face lit up and he said, "Bobby Robson" - perhaps the only English words he knew!
Such was the impression that Bobby made on people internationally and for Ipswich's benefit. It would be nice to think that someone or something in the future could equally and pleasantly put Ipswich 'on the map' once more.
Furthermore: The Sir Bobby Robson Bridge was at last opened for public use in early September. It was described and welcomed in our April Newsletter. Resolving several safety issues delayed the opening, which came too late for Sir Bobby to officiate on the day. It should be a useful link for pedestrians and cyclists between Ranelagh Road and Ipswich Village (including Grafton House and Endeavour House) and on to the town centre.
The memorial service for Sir Bobby was relayed live from Durham Cathedral on to screens on the Cornhill. Also, as many members will know, the North Stand at Portman Road was renamed Sir Bobby Robson Stand when Newcastle United were the visitors.