In my (I think I can use the word now) long association with Wigan Athletic there have been a couple of, in not constant then at least regular features. Strikers who don’t score as many goals as we want them to and players on their way down who either aren’t as arsed or just aren’t as good as they used to be. Although Wigan Athletic turned out to be his final club, Robert McFaul Campbell bucked the trend on both accounts.
My memories are of a man that would run through walls because they were there, despite looking like he wanted a fag if he had to break in to a jog. They are of a man who could tell an opposition defender (or a colleague who dared put a pass even a yard in the wrong direction) everything he wanted to in a glare, which was a good job because you could barely tell a word he’d barked at them in his fairly impenetrable Irish accent.
Although his role-call is long, Bobby wasn’t your typical, forgettable journeyman footballer and he left his mark wherever he went, not least at Bradford City where he ended up the club’s highest league goalscorer and gained international recognition. But it wasn’t all plain sailing and Campbell’s live hard – play hard demeanour didn’t endear him to everyone as Norman Whiteside’s recollections of their time at the 1982 World Cup together highlight.
“… as I bounced up and down on the left touchline [prior to kick-off v Yugoslavia] and caught a glimpse in the stand of Bobby Campbell clutching a burger in one hand and lifting a beer to his mouth with the other. It made me smile to think he was was on the same money as me, but hey, where would I rather have been? He was a rum turkey, Bobby, a folk hero at Bradford City but always in Billy’s bad books because he bent every rule. He didn’t play in Spain and never added to his two caps. If you are ever wondering why Billy turned his back on such a prolific goal-scorer, it probably had something to do with Campbell’s parting shot as the plane hit the tarmac at Heathrow when we got back. ‘Hey, Billy’, he shouted as we taxied off the runway, ‘You can’t effing send me home now!'” (Taken from Whiteside’s biography- ‘Determined’, via the Northern Ireland’s Footballing Greats website)
It seems a fairly good time to bring Bobby up, what with Les Bagg’s poem in the latest issue of The Mudhutter, recalling that night at Burnden Park and their (and our) own Jimmy’s piece on the excellent Sabotage Times website.
We’d love to hear yours if you want to leave them in the comments section below, but we’ve decided to do our bit with our first expansion of our range of t-shirts.
This one captures Bobby, back to camera, at some point in season and a half at Springfield park and about to break into one of those trademark stares. It comes as you see it, in polaroid style digitally printed on a “classic” t-shirt in a range of colours. The photo you see above is in olive green which we were going to restrict the t-shirt to before deciding that you know best.
You can snap up your shirt, whilst they’re hot, alongside our classic TNS logo t-shirts from the This Northern Shirt shop over at the Spreadshirt website.
TNS t-shirts are made available through the spreadshirt.co.uk website, sales and delivery are handled by that company and not TNS, although we do recieve a commission for every shirt sold. This is used to cover the cost of running and promoting the website, i.e. for the benefit of our members and not for personal profit.