Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has revealed he was keen on joining Newcastle United under the reign of Bobby Robson, and even took to writing a letter in an attempt to force through a move to St James’ Park.
Speaking in an interview for the film ‘Bobby Robson – More Than A Manager,’ Guardiola explained the reasons behind why the move ultimately didn’t happen, as well as his personal ambitions.
“I am going to explain something secret,” he said, as quoted by Sky Sports. “After the purge in Barcelona, he [Sir Bobby Robson] went to Newcastle and I sent him a letter to [hopefully] 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.”
Guardiola played under Robson during the Newcastle legend’s time as manager of Barcelona, and the two won three trophies together during the 1996/97 season. Sir Bobby subsequently made way for former Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal at Camp Nou, before moving to PSV and ultimately ‘home’ to manage Newcastle in 1999.
(You May Also Be Interested in: Dates to Remember: When Every Newcastle Player’s Contract is Due to Expire)
The Manchester City boss went on to credit the former England manager in helping him make the decision to become a manager himself.
“It is not easy to manage Barcelona, especially in that period. I learned, when I saw him, how lonely the manager feels and, [how even] in the bad moments, always he had a typical smile. In my case, in that situation it would have been impossible to react how he did.”
“For him it was a tough period [at Barcelona] and I learned a lot because, in that period I thought…‘I want to become a manager’. How he handled that situation was incredible and I admired him a lot. It doesn’t matter what the media says…always try to be calm.”
The film documenting Sir Bobby’s legendary career will be released on June 1.