An FA Cup Final Winner, what more can you say about a Legend who donned the blue and white stripes with pride. Actually so much can be written about Bobby Hope because he was not just an FA Cup winner he was a magical player, a huge personality, someone with a wicked and dry sense of humour, someone who was respected and liked by everyone who came across him.
He came down from Scotland in 1959 with a number of fellow youngsters including Kenny Foggo and his lifelong friend Campbell Crawford. At the tender age of 16 he made his debut versus Arsenal, he went onto make 402 appearances scoring 42 times. He dominated the midfield through the 60’s, so much so that the Albion had to turn down bids from both Arsenal and his beloved Glasgow Rangers. An FA Cup Winner, a League Cup Winner and Scottish International.
Bobby was intelligent, not only on the pitch but off it too, on the pitch he saw opportunities to open up defenses shrewd balls into Clive Clark or onto Jeff Astle’s head, the schemer that today would be well sort after, a player who would command huge transfer fee. Off the pitch he looked to the future and invested in Newsagent/Post Offices and though Scotland had a pull he stayed locally to The Hawthorns.
Injury kept him out for many months otherwise he would have added to that number of appearances, he left the Albion in 1972 for Birmingham City, during his time here he spent the summers playing in the States for Philadelphia and Dallas, he left the Blues in 1976 joining Sheffield Wednesday. He appeared for Dallas the following two summers before hanging up his boots and becoming Manager of Bromsgrove Rovers. As successful a player then the same can be said as a Manager leading Bromsgrove into the Conference League and finding players like Gary Hackett & Martin O’Connor who had successful professional careers.
The draw of returning to The Hawthorns soon became a reality as he became a Scout and in 2000 was appointed Chief Scout, a role he stayed in until he became unwell in 2014.
A family man who liked his golf and many a challenge took place between Alan Ashman, Stan Jones, Geoff Snape and Bobby. He played for the All Stars and travelled to Barbados where he took on Sir Gary Sobers and the Island’s No 1 Golfer, in 1985, coming out on top with his partner Geoff. He was not a great “watcher” of the Albion as scouting took him to other destinations but in the latter years we got him up to the Regis Suite where his humour shone brightly. As a member of the 1968 side he joined with his colleagues at the 50th Anniversary reunion and was able to receive his debut cap.
One of the last honours to be bestowed on him was when his son Adam successfully got from the Scottish FA, his commemorative cap, he played 7 times for Scotland but only received 2 caps but the FA reclassified some games which meant Bobby got an additional 5.
We have lost a real mate, a dear friend, as Ally Robertson said “he was like a 2nd Father to me when I came down” but nothing to what the family have lost in a husband, father and grandfather. Our deepest condolences go to Carol, Adam, Jamie, their wives, his grandchildren, sister Eleanor and his friends. We are going to miss you Bobby but we will raise a glass to you at our golf day in 2 weeks’ time, you would have been there if your health had allowed.