The new book keeping the legacy of Peterborough United legend Tommy Robson alive

It became a Monday night ritual.

Every week, Peterborough United fans Dene Butler and Ray Cole would make their way over to the home of legendary player Tommy Robson to listen to his stories.

And he had plenty of stories to share.

Even to this day, Robson remains Posh's record appearance-holder, having played a staggering 559 games for the club in all competitions.

However, Dene and Ray's visits were tinged with sadness.

In September 2019, Tommy received the devastating news that he'd been diagnosed with motor neurone disease, a cruel condition that affects the brain and nerves.

Tommy Robson shares a joke with ITV News Anglia's Donovan Blake. Credit: ITV News Anglia

In Tommy's case, he first knew something was wrong when he tried to pick up a round of drinks from the bar at a funeral reception and ended up dropping them on the floor.

The disease gradually robbed him of the use of his arms almost entirely. But crucially, his storytelling abilities remained as strong as ever.

Armed with the voice-recorders on their phones, Dene and Ray would sit and record Tommy's tales in the hope of eventually documenting them in a book.

However, getting him to stop talking proved to be their biggest challenge...

"When we first came, we were obviously aware of his health and we decided we'd try and keep it to a couple of hours to not tire him out," Dene reminisced.

"But the first night, we got here at seven o'clock and it was getting on to midnight and Tommy was still going!

"So, from then on we had to make sure we really limited it because he'd just keep talking!"

Co-author Dene Butler shows the book to ITV News Anglia's Andy Ward and Tommy's wife, Helen. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Dene and Ray did achieve their goal, and a delighted Tommy was able to read a draft copy before his death at the age of 76 in October 2020.

The book covers Tommy's life, both on and off the pitch, from his childhood growing up in Gateshead, to his professional career - which included spells at boyhood club Newcastle United and Chelsea.

It also features a selection of personal photographs, as well as Tommy's all-time Posh XI.

The book is now on sale at the club shop, with all proceeds being shared between the Motor Neurone Disease Association and a fund to get a statue of Tommy built outside Peterborough's stadium.

The ultimate goal is that Tommy's memorial will stand beside the statue of his great friend, and another Posh legend, Chris Turner.

The front cover of the book. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Such an honour would be the icing on the cake for Tommy's wife Helen, who will always be grateful for what Ray and Dene have done for her family.

"Thanks to Ray and Dene, we've finally managed to capture some of the stories, and without romanticising too much, I can hear his voice telling the jokes," she told ITV News Anglia.

"It brings us enormous pride. It's tangible (the book). It's never going to go away. Not that memories do ever fade but I'm often flicking through the book - it brings me a lot of pleasure."