The legend that is Bobby Campbell will be returning to the DW Stadium next Tuesday night when the Latics tackle Bradford City in the 4th round of the Capital One cup
Wigan Athletic have made Robert McFaul Campbell guest of honour for the game
If you are under 30 then the stories about Bobby Campbell may seem to be in the myth category, let me tell you Bobby was no myth, he was as real as the sweat on defenders brows when he was charging in for a header, Bobby took no prisoners.
The man, the beast, the centre-forward joined the Latics from Bradford City in 1986, he went on to make 69 appearances, scoring 27 cracking goals in a two year stint. Bobby was already a legend at former club Bradford, he’d enjoyed two spells with the West Yorkshire outfit that spanned seven years and 274 games, scoring 121 goals along the way, he’d left Valley Parade briefly for Derby County in 1983 but couldn’t settle, after just 11 appearances and 4 goals at the Baseball Ground he was back ‘home’ before the year was out.
When the Latics signed Bobby Campbell he was asked by local reporter Harold Ashurst of the Wigan Observer why he had chosen to come to Wigan over the other interested club Blackpool, his reply is emblazoned on my brain: ‘I chose to come to Wigan because every time I played here the fans give me some almighty stick, I love that passion from the home crowd, I always had a rough ride off them and now I want to play for them’
Those fans who gave him stick as an opponent really took him to heart as one of their own, the FA cup run that saw the Latics reach the quarter finals in 1987 epitomised what he was all about, he led the line superbly against a quality Gillingham side that was storming the 3rd division at the time, in the 4th round he was colossus as the Latics beat top flight Norwich 1-0, the 5th round saw Campbell carry the game to 2nd Division Hull City as they were swept aside 3-0. Unfortunately the Latics were knocked out of the competition in the 6th round against Leeds United on a Sunday morning at Springfield Park, but that game saw Campbell’s heroics reach a crescendo as he played with his heart and was unlucky on numerous occasions during the game, hitting the bar, the post and bringing the best out of the Leeds keeper.
Bobby (left) with Chris Thompson and Paul Jewell
Bobby Campbell left Wigan Athletic at the end of the 1987/88 season, went into non-league football and the management of a bar in West Yorkshire, he left with the hearts of more than a few Latics fans, Bobby Campbell, a legend and a top, top player.
The Latics are offering fans the chance to spend a bit of time with Bobby, he will be ‘hosting’ in one of the executive lounges before the game next Tuesday, Campbell and a Curry comes at £40, you will of course get a ticket for the game included in that, for full details please contact the club on 01942 774000
Whislt we are talking of Bobby Campbell, there is a book written by Bradford City supporter Paul Firth, entitled ‘Bobby Campbell – They Don’t Make Them Like Him Anymore’
I have spoken to the books author, Paul Firth, about Bobby and he is so full of enthusiasm for the man and the football player that it is infectious, I asked Paul if he could get a couple of quotes for me about the Latics from Bobby, he sent me two, both appear in the book, the first one is about the Mercantile Credit Trophy played at Wembley in 1987:
They were a great bunch at Wigan, a good atmosphere.
There was a penalty shoot-out. The lad who went up first, Paul Cook, who went on to play for Burnley, came up to me and said ‘Bob, you notice the keeper’s moved so early?’ I set my mind to blast it down the middle. I ran up and he moved back along the line. I thought I only had to side foot it in the corner. I stubbed the bastard and it went nearer the corner flag than the goal. I just stood there. The lads were laughing at me. This was at Wembley!
Paul say’s – For the sake of complete clarity, I should tell you he was laughing when he told me that story.
The last quote is part of a story involving Paul Jewell.
Jewell was just coming through at Wigan. We were playing away at Mansfield and Jewell was having a do with this lad, who was kicking shit out of him. Jewell scored and he went over to him and had a little spit at him.
I went over to Jewell and gave him a crack round the ear. I said ‘Listen, if you get sent off, it’s Sunday morning, I’m knackered, I don’t want to be doing your running.’
My good friend Steve aka Barstaff over at TNS has done a book review, to check it out visit TNS/BobbyCampbell
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