Man City manager and Barcelona legend Pep Guardiola has admitted that he was once desperate to sign for Newcastle United – only for Bobby Robson to decline after the Spaniard sent letters to Tyneside in a bid to persuade him!
The title winning manager is not only a world class coach, but a top footballer from his playing day – however he was never able to achieve his ‘dream’ of playing in the Premier League. It wasn’t for the lack of effort though..
Speaking during the upcoming Bobby Robson film ‘More Than A Manager’, Guardiola admitted the following about his attempts to secure a move to St James’ Park back when Robson swapped the Nou Camp for Newcastle in 1999:
“I am going to explain something secret.
“After the purge in Barcelona, he went to Newcastle and I sent him a letter to offer me the chance to go to him and play at Newcastle. One of my dreams would have been to have played in England.
“He answered me and said it was not possible because he had a lot of quality and he was right, but, even in that tough moment, he was always so kind.
“He wrote a simple letter and it was like it meant so much more. Bobby is one of the nicest people I have ever met in my life.”
Little did we know at the time, but it turns out the likes of Kieron Dyer, Gary Speed, Nolberto Solano and Robert Lee were effectively keeping Pep Guardiola from becoming a Magpie back in 1999!
The Man City boss then discussed the influence Sir Bobby had one his career, admitting that he was the man who inspired him to become a manager after his playing days were over:
“It is not easy to manage Barcelona, especially in that period,”
“I learned, when I saw him, how lonely the manager feels. And, in the bad moments, how always he had a typical smile.
“In my case, in that situation, it would have been impossible to react how he did. I know, for him, it was a tough period. I learned a lot because, in that period, I thought, ‘I want to become a manager.’
“How he handled that situation was incredible. I admired him a lot. It doesn’t matter what the media says or everyone pushing – always try to be calm.”
A brilliant story from Pep – a man who, like so many, had so much respect for the late great Sir Bobby Robson.
Here’s the trailer for the upcoming film which will be available to watch in select theatre’s on June 1st: