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Home: All Other Football Interests: Obituaries and Remembrances:
Bobby Campbell (Chelsea, Portsmouth, Fulham)


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Nov 7, 2015, 9:28 AM

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Bobby Campbell (Chelsea, Portsmouth, Fulham) Can't Post or Reply Privately

The former Chelsea, Portsmouth and Fulham manager has sadly passed away at the age of 78.

(This post was edited by John Treleven on Nov 7, 2015, 10:41 AM)

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Nov 7, 2015, 1:45 PM

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Re: [Isaac] Bobby Campbell (Chelsea, Portsmouth, Fulham) [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

I can remember some brilliant matches at Fratton Park under his management. He brought in so many excellent players who helped Pompey to the Third Division Championship in 1983, and did much to add style to the hard work of his predecessor Frank Burrows.

Best memories would include...

...beating Sheffield United 4-1 on the opening day of the season in 1982, with all four Pompey debutants each grabbing a goal, and the kind of performance that had everyone present certain this was a promotion season.

...and at the end of the season winning 2-0 at home to Southend to win promotion, then winning 1-0 away at Plymouth to win the Third Division Championship.

...buying Mark Hateley for a song from Coventry, then Pompey selling him to AC Milan a year later for £1million. On top of that, seeing Hateley score seven goals in four days - three goals at home to Grimsby on the Saturday, then another four against Cambridge Utd on the Tuesday night.

...taking it to the wire in the FA Cup 4th Round in 1984 against possibly the strongest-ever Southampton side. Hurt like hell to lose in injury time, but an attendance of 36,000 and a huge day.

...and above all for signing Alan Biley - probably my all-time favourite Pompey player.

John Treleven
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Nov 19, 2015, 8:44 AM

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Re: [Isaac] Bobby Campbell (Chelsea, Portsmouth, Fulham) [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Daily Telegraph, Wednesday 18th November 2015

Bobby Campbell, who has died aged 78, was the manager of Chelsea from 1988 to 1991,
bringing the club’s fans several notable moments of joy in the topsy-turvy era before the advent of Roman Abramovich.

Campbell arrived at Stamford Bridge in the spring of 1988 as assistant manager to John Hollins.
The team was in danger of relegation from the First Division, and rifts had appeared in the dressing room.
When the Blues lost a 3-0 lead over Oxford in March, Hollins was sacked.
Campbell was put in charge for the last eight games of the season but was unable to prevent the side from dropping out of the top flight.

In his autobiography published some years earlier, the club’s chairman Ken Bates had written that he had twice contemplated bringing Campbell to Chelsea,
but had decided that it was best not to mix friendship and business. Now Campbell repaid his change of heart.
“Bobby was great,” observed striker Kerry Dixon. “He didn’t panic when the team went down and was given the opportunity to rebuild.”

Although its star winger Pat Nevin was sold, Campbell persuaded players of the calibre of Dixon, Gordon Durie and Steve Clarke
to stay with the club in the lower division. He stiffened the midfield by bringing in the combative Peter Nicholas and Graham Roberts,
and recruited goalkeeper David Beasant from Newcastle United.

Chelsea started the next season in indifferent form, not helped by the terraces being closed for the first six matches after crowd trouble.
But they then embarked on a 27 game unbeaten streak and won the division with 99 points, 17 ahead of runners up Manchester City,
echoing the achievement some years before of John Neal’s side. Chelsea have never been out of the First Division since.

Off the pitch, matters were less straightforward. Bates owned the club but not the pitch, and was mired in a battle with the property firm
which did and wanted to build on it. There was little money to spare and Campbell had to use a hotel near the training ground as his office.
Yet none of this affected the team, which carried over its promotion from the next season.

Campbell showed himself an adaptable tactician, making room for three forwards as well as playing a sweeper,
and by November 1989 Chelsea were top of the First Division for the first time in decades.
They eventually finished fifth, their highest placing in 20 years, and before 76,000 fans at Wembley
won the Full Members (Zenith Data Systems) Cup. This was the competition organised in the wake of the post Heysel ban on English clubs in Europe.
Chelsea beat Middlesbrough to claim the trophy through a fine free-kick by Tony Dorigo.

That summer, Campbell brought in the club’s first million pound signings, Dennis Wise and Andy Townsend,
and also began to blood youngsters such as Graeme Le Saux. Yet the next season proved a disappointment,
and after an 11th place finish he was appointed Bates’s assistant and replaced as manager by Ian Porterfield.

One of 12 children, Robert John Campbell was born in Liverpool on St George’s Day 1937.
Playing at wing half, he won England Youth caps before making his debut for Liverpool in 1958.
But he only made 24 appearances for the club in the next three seasons, and eventually left Anfield for Portsmouth.

League champions just a decade before, Pompey had by 1961 sunk into the Third Division.
Playing in the same side as Jimmy Dickinson, Campbell helped them up into the Second the next term.
But he was dogged by a cruciate ligament injury and only played 64 matches for the club in five years,
half of those in one season. He moved on briefly to Aldershot, where he ended his career at 30.

Although he had enjoyed little success as a player, he soon made a reputation as an able coach,
with stints back at Portsmouth and at QPR before joining Bertie Mee’s Arsenal in 1973 when Steve Burtenshaw left to manage Sheffield Wednesday.
Three years later he became a manager himself after succeeding Alec Stock at Fulham.

This was the era when George Best and Bobby Moore were winding down their careers at Craven Cottage.
Campbell was sacked in 1980 following a run of poor results, but after returning to the South Coast
he bounced back by steering Portsmouth to the Third Division title in 1983.

Key to his success was recruiting future stars such as Neil Webb and Mark Hateley, as well as allowing the players to go drinking with the fans.
“You can’t win anything with choirboys,” he argued. He also got the Royal Marines to improve the team’s fitness.
Nonetheless, when the side struggled in the higher league the following year he was again shown the door.
Campbell then had a stint coaching in Kuwait before joining Chelsea, and did the same after leaving Stamford Bridge.

For a time he settled in Florida, where his son was a tennis player, but in retirement he lived close to Chelsea’s ground
and was often a guest of Roman Abramovich on match days. Although latterly he had been ill,
he liked to keep an eye on up-and-coming talent by attending the club’s academy games at Cobham.

Bobby Campbell is survived by his wife, Sue, and by their daughter and three sons.

Bobby Campbell, born April 23 1937, died November 6 2015

(This post was edited by John Treleven on Nov 19, 2015, 8:52 AM)


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