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Sir Bobby returns with pies in Barclays Premiership ad

LONDON – Premiership football sponsor Barclays has kept faith with sacked manager Sir Bobby Robson and used him again in its new television ad, pairing him with fellow former manager Gordon Strachan to highlight a free Premiership ticket promotion.

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The spot, which airs for the first time tonight on Channel 4 at 9.10pm, was created by Bartle Bogle Hegarty.

Robson was sacked by Newcastle United just as the last Barclays ad, launching the 2004/5 season, broke. In that campaign, his head was superimposed on to thousands of fans attending a game.

Despite his sacking, Barclays has kept faith with the football icon, who is believed to want to return to football management after he was replaced at Newcastle by Graeme Sounness.

Strachan quit his job as manager of Southampton FC near the end of the 2003/04 season in order to take a break from management. Renowned among fans for his impenetrable accent and humourous post-match interviews, he has since appeared frequently as a BBC pundit.

The new ad starts with a shot of Robson at a game, smartly dressed in a suit and tie. In typical Robson style, he is waving his arms and screaming "Push up, push up, come on attack! Everyone push up! You've got to keep the tempo up!"

He is interrupted by Strachan's Scottish tones saying: "Bobby, my pie's getting cold."

As the camera pans out, viewers realise Robson is not standing in the dugout as expected, but is in among the fans at Tottenham Hotspur's White Hart Lane ground. He is walking down the steps holding two pies he has bought and Strachan is sitting a few seats away.

The ad closes with "Anyone using a Barclays cash machine can now win tickets to a Barclays Premiership match. Perfect if you've missed the odd game."

Barclays is giving away 1,000 pairs of tickets through its 2,800 cash machines. Users need to check the back of their receipts to see whether they have won.

Jim Hytner, Barclays group brand and UK banking marketing director, said: "We were delighted to sign Sir Bobby for a second Barclays TV ad. Sir Bobby and Gordon were a great double act so we're sure fans will enjoy the ad."

Barclays paid £57m to sponsor the Premiership from the beginning of this season to the end of the 2006-07 season, taking over from its Barclaycard subsidiary.

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