'It's been my life': Sir Bobby Robson's former PA still working at Ipswich Town at age of 88

  • ITV News Anglia's Andy Ward chats to Pat Godbold about her memories of her 69 years of service (and counting) at Ipswich Town

When Pat Godbold first walked through the gates of Portman Road as a fresh-faced 19-year-old in 1954, it was love at first sight.

As a lifelong Ipswich Town fan, applying for the role of secretary to manager Scott Duncan was an opportunity too good to resist. To be chosen was a dream come true.

It was the start of a match made in heaven that is still going strong to this very day.

Pat has often joked in the past that she's been "married to the club", and at the age of 88, she's still working part-time as the club archivist.

She also continues to organise reunions for former players - many of whom remain in contact with the woman affectionately known as Auntie Pat.

Pat still works at Ipswich Town as the club's archivist. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"It's been my life, but my family are my life as well. I've never married," she told ITV News Anglia.

"I've looked after I don't know how many youngsters as apprentices, and I loved them all. I just can't imagine my life without the club."

As well as looking after countless players down the years, Pat has worked alongside nine managers at Ipswich - including legendary bosses Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson.

In fact, Pat was Sir Bobby's personal assistant for 36 years in total - helping to manage his schedule during his remarkable 13-year reign at Portman Road in which he led the club to success in the FA Cup in 1978 and the UEFA Cup in 1981.

Pat was Sir Bobby Robson's PA for 36 years. Credit: PA

Her bond with the man she still calls 'Mr R' was so strong that she continued to work for Sir Bobby even after he left Suffolk and remained close friends with him right up to his death in 2009.

"His only fault was that he had too much time for everybody else, and not enough time for himself," she reminisced.

"He thought as much of his ground staff, and young apprentices coming through, as he did his top internationals. He'd sometimes say: 'Pat, so-and-so doesn't seem to be too happy. Just have a little chat with him and see what you can do.' So, some of the boys called me Auntie Pat."

Pat sees shades of Sir Bobby in current Ipswich boss, Kieran McKenna. Credit: PA

Pat was given a League Managers Association (LMA) award for service to football in 2019, and this summer she will celebrate her 70th work anniversary.

With the current Ipswich team currently fourth in the Championship, promotion to the Premier League would be the perfect way to mark her magical milestone.

Spearheading the club's charge towards the top flight is current boss Kieran McKenna - a manager with the same qualities and characteristics as Sir Bobby, according to Pat.

"Mr R had José Mourinho under him and José picked up a lot of tips from Mr R," Pat said.

"Then he went to Tottenham and Kieran, our present manager, went to Tottenham. So did he pick up some tips from Jose who had picked them up from Mr R? In any case, I'm thanking Mr R."

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