It’s understandable that the news of the death of Sir Bobby Robson, a legand of a footballer (soccer player) in England and a manager that ran some of the world’s top football clubs in Barcelona, PSV Eindhoven and Newcastle United as well as the English national team, would not make much of a splash in Vancouver. Sure we love our Whitecaps and most people could probably pick David Beckham out of a police lineup, but aside from that it’s not our sport.
What I didn’t realize until today was that Robson, who passed away today after a long public bout with cancer [lg], had been a player-manager for the first year the Vancouver Royals [wp] played in the North American Soccer League (NASL) in 1968. From managing the team that preceded the Whitecaps, he went onto run Fulham in the English First Division and later England and Barcelona.
While neither the Royals nor the Whitecaps ever really had the star power of fellow NASL team the New York Cosmos [wp], football in North America and Vancouver were drawing big name talent well before Beckham arrived in LA.
As with most things football, the Guardian has the best coverage on their football site [lg].