Bids flood in for online auction

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Top football bosses and prestigious clubs have paid their respects to Sir Bobby Robson a week into a charity auction in his memory.

Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction launched on Saturday aiming to raise £250,000 for Breakthrough Breast Cancer and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

The auction of more than 150 lots had raised £60,371 yesterday, just five days after it opened online. And the collection of prizes continues to grow.

Event founder Gina Long, said she’d had more prizes flooding in since the launch.

“I have been truly touched and overwhelmed by the generosity of every single donation of an auction item and messages of goodwill and support.”

“It’s unprecedented how many people have signed up to the site already.”

The auction, and a glamorous ball due to be held at The Apex, in Bury St Edmunds, on Thursday, have been supported by Prince Charles, Prime Minister David Cameron and sports royalty such as David Beckham, Andre Villas-Boas and Pelé.

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has also donated a special prize.

He said: “It has been one of the privileges of my life to have known Bobby Robson.

“The influence he had over generations in the game – many of whom never even met him – was enormous.

“That his name continues to raise so much in such a good cause is a fitting tribute to him.”

World-renowned sportsmen, top clubs and teams, and businesses have donated priceless prizes to the cause, including Jose Mourinho’s World Coach of the Year Trophy, a chance to meet the FC Barcelona team and watch a match at Nou Camp, and a holiday in the Bahamas.

Most Premier League football clubs and many European teams have also pledged their support.

Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger, said: “My memory of Bobby Robson will always be his positive attitude.

“I remember him as a guy who had an optimistic view of human beings and I think the charity shows that. He believed in human beings, he wanted to be positive, he wanted to help other people, and at the end of his life he was extremely brave and extremely generous.

“When he didn’t manage football clubs any more he could show even more of his personality.

“I always found he was a very positive man and his smile will always remain with me.”

Sir Bobby had a long history with Ipswich Town Football Club and his former club has donated a one-of-a-kind prize.

ITFC chief executive, Simon Clegg, said: “The name of Sir Bobby Robson is synonymous with Ipswich Town and we are proud to be involved in the Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction.

“We hope that our prize - for two teams to play on the main pitch here at Portman Road - will catch the imagination and will help to generate significant income for the two great charities which do such wonderful work for so many people.”

Sir Bobby is also fondly remembered by another of his previous clubs, Fulham FC.

A spokeswoman for the club said: “Fulham FC is delighted to be supporting a worthwhile charity auction organised in memory of Sir Bobby Robson by donating VIP match tickets and a signed shirt.

“Sir Bobby Robson is remembered as fondly by our supporters, as he is by the entire footballing world. He played for Fulham for 11 seasons before starting his successful managerial career at Craven Cottage, and the tributes at the Cottage gates following his death, were a fitting testament to his memory.”

Tottenham Hotspur manager, Harry Redknapp, also paid his respects to the footballing legend and donated a special prize to the cause.

He said: “Bobby was a fantastic football man – probably the most enthusiastic football man I’ve ever come across.

“He loved the game, lived for the game, and he was so brave late in his life. Even when he was seriously ill, he still gave up all his time and used all his energy helping other people.

“He was a fantastic man and we are delighted to donate this prize to the auction.”

A spokesman for The FA, which also donated an auction lot, said: “Sir Bobby Robson is recognised across the world as a true legend of football and we’re delighted to be supporting the Breakthrough auction across October.”

For a full list of auction lots or to make a bid go to {http://www.sirbobbysbreakthrough||Click here to go to the official Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction website}

The auction runs online until October 23. Check the Bury Free Press website for daily auction updates.