Sir Bobby Robson is, by all accounts, one of the nicest managers in football history – but even the former Newcastle United boss couldn’t help but rage at Jermaine Jenas following a missed Panenka penalty against Chelsea in 2003.
After defeating Birmingham City in the semi-finals, Newcastle needed to beat the newly-rich Chelsea to win the Premier League Asia Cup (now known as the Premier League Asia Trophy).
Although it was glorified pre-season friendly, Sir Bobby, the Newcastle fans and no doubt most of the players were all desperate to beat Chelsea, who had just been acquired by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.
Following a 0-0 stalemate, the final was eventually decided on penalties. Alan Shearer and Laurent Robert missed Newcastle’s opening spot-kicks but Damien Duff and Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink were also off target for the Blues.
The shoot-out subsequently went to sudden death and Jenas had to score to keep Newcastle’s hopes of lifting the trophy alive after John Terry converted.
However, Jenas decided to attempt an audacious Panenka (they were far more rare back in 2003!) and watched in horror as the ball sailed over the crossbar.
Sir Bobby Robson’s reaction to Jenas’s Panenka penalty
Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be footage of Jenas’s infamous penalty anywhere on the internet, but Sir Bobby’s furious post-match interview is even more entertaining than the actual penalty.
When asked about the penalty, a visibly angry Robson said: “You know, all players have the right to take penalties the way they think [is best], and I never complain about players who miss penalties. I lost a World Cup semi-final on that sort of situation. I’ve got nothing but the deepest of sympathies for players who miss penalties.
“But in JJ’s case, I think that’s outrageous and I’ve told him so. He’s a young player and it’s obscene what he’s done. You can’t do that. I’ve spent time and time and time and time with him every day in training, so he’s made a mistake. He has to learn from that. I’ve told him in no uncertain fashion that what he’s done, for me, is unprofessional.
“But he’ll learn from it because he’s a good pro and a really good boy, and in the year we’ve had him he’s made great strides. But he has to learn. He should learn. He’s made an outrageous mistake tonight and he has to learn from that.”
Watch Sir Bobby’s post-match interview here:
Sir Bobby Robson after Jermaine Jenas missed a Panenka penalty. pic.twitter.com/o3jjhr2EBh— Sky Sports Retro (@SkySportsRetro) February 10, 2022
He was absolutely livid. Nobody was ever going to attempt another Panenka penalty on his watch.
Sir Bobby, who coincidentally shared a birthday with Jenas (February 18), sadly passed away six years later at the age of 76 following a long battle with cancer.
But every footballer who played under the former England boss only ever has positive things to say about one of the game’s great characters – including Jenas.
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