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Arsenal have questions to address

By ESPN Staff

Robson: Toon problems started with my sacking

Former Newcastle manager Sir Bobby Robson believes the club's problems can be traced back to his departure from St James' Park.

Robson was in charge for five years before being sacked after a poor run of results at the start of the 2004-05 season.

Graeme Souness and Glenn Roeder followed but failed to live up to expectations on Tyneside and now Sam Allardyce, only appointed in the summer, is the latest to feel the pressure.

After five games without a win Allardyce was said to be one more bad result from the sack before last week's creditable draw with Barclays Premier League leaders Arsenal.

Robson told Setanta Sports: 'I took the club over when it was bottom of the league and in the last three years I was there it was third, fourth and fifth. We were in the top five for the last three years.

'I lost my job rather abruptly, I couldn't believe it. I was stunned, I couldn't believe it.

'I didn't lose two consecutive matches and I lost my job, it was crazy. Without being egotistical, the club has suffered ever since.

'They are a long way from where they were and where they should be.'

Newcastle followed up their draw against the Gunners by beating Birmingham last weekend and Robson has seen signs of improvement.

The 74-year-old said: 'They've had a very mixed season. They had a good start, some people say the best start in 10 years, but that's just a start.

'But in some cases they have played very poorly. Recently there has been a slight improvement, they just drew against Arsenal, but they could have won.

'For me that was their best performance yet, I was delighted about that. There was a fury and bite about the team and a real passion to win. I was delighted about that.'

Newcastle face another of Robson's former clubs, Fulham, at Craven Cottage on Saturday.

Robson began his playing career with the Cottagers and also had a short stint as their manager in the late 1960s.