Bob Cass was given an emotional send-off at a packed funeral for our former Chairman in Durham on Monday December 12.
Family, friends and colleagues from the world of journalism and football celebrated the life of Bob, who passed away in November after a long battle with cancer.
His son Simon, who followed his father into sports journalism, spoke movingly about his pride at the fact that so many football writers had praised Bob’s help and generosity of spirit when they were starting out in their careers. Simon, like everyone, recalled his father’s story-telling and quick wit.
James Mossop, another former FWA chairman and friend of Bob’s since the 1950s, recalled Bob’s first exclusive, an ‘interview’ with a donkey he apparently found in the lost property department at Leeds railway station when they were out on assignment as teenagers. Needless to say Bob struggled to convince his editor for the day that this particular story had legs.
Colin Young, the FWA’s North East branch organiser, did a reading, and one of Bob’s daughters, Alison, recalled the day her Dad tried to rescue the young Simon when he was choking on a fishbone. Bob had heard that eating bread was the best thing to do in such an emergency and asked his stricken son, in all seriousness: “Do you want white or brown bread, Simon?”
With his widow Janet looking on, Bob’s grandchildren all recounted amusing and loving memories of their Grandad, and there were many, many more anecdotes from those who gathered afterwards at the Ramside Hall hotel, including former England managers Steve McClaren and Sam Allardyce, Niall Quinn, Frank Clark, Bobby Moncur, Dennis Tueart and Jim Montgomery, the hero of Sunderland’s 1973 FA Cup final victory over Leeds. The FA, Football League and PFA also sent representatives.
The FWA was strongly represented, from current chairman Paddy Barclay to many of the national committee including six former chairmen.
It was an unforgettable day, and a fitting tribute to a special man.
Rest in peace, Bob.