'I was married to the club' - Sir Bobby Robson's former PA Pat Godbold honoured
PUBLISHED: 12:49 15 May 2019 | UPDATED: 09:39 20 May 2019
The woman behind nine Ipswich Town managers - including Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson - has received a prestigious award celebrating her 65 years' service at Portman Road.
The woman behind nine Ipswich Town managers - including Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson - said she was "overwhelmed" to receive a prestigious award celebrating her 65 years' service at Portman Road.
Pat Godbold, who first began working for the Blues in the 1950s, was honoured with a League Managers Association (LMA) Service to Football Award at a star-studded dinner in London on Tuesday night.
After initially gaining the post of secretary to then manager Scott Duncan in 1954, Pat went on to work with every Town manager up to George Burley, and served as Bobby Robson's PA for 36 years in an illustrious period for the club.
The 83-year-old said she was "over the moon" to be recognised by the LMA at the Grosvenor Hotel dinner and received a standing ovation from the 900 guests in attendance.
"It was fantastic, I was overwhelmed, I could not believe it. I wasn't even aware the LMA awards recognised backroom staff such as myself. I'm over the moon," she said.
"It was so good to be able to thank everyone I've worked for and with over the years. I've worked with such fantastic people at Portman Road.
"I've thoroughly enjoyed my career. I always said I had the best job in Suffolk. I never married and football has been my life. I was married to the club really."
Pat, who is Ipswich born and bred, retired from her full-time role in 1997 and now works as the club archivist, as well as helping to organise former Town players reunions.
She said she was thrilled to catch up with so many faces from the football world at the event.
"George Burley presented me with my award and it was great to see so many people I've met throughout my time in the game, Chris Kiwomya and [former boss] John Duncan were there," she said.
"I was sat next to Sam Allardyce and spoke with Alex Ferguson, who is looking fantastic, and Lawrie McMenemy."
Pat, who received an honorary doctorate for her service at Portman Road from the University of Suffolk last year, added that she is looking forward to next season after the disappointment of the club's relegation to the third tier.
"I'm over relegation now," she said.
"I've seen many relegations and up and downs, but more ups than downs. "I'm just looking forward to the fixtures and seeing who we will play."
George Burley pays tribute
Former Ipswich Town player and boss George Burley paid tribute to former club secretary and PA Pat Godbold after presenting her with the award.
Burley, who played for the Blues from 1973 to 1985 and also managed Town from 1994 to 2002, said the 83-year-old was "devoted to the club".
"It's fantastic, all told she's seen 65 seasons at the club, which is an incredible achievement," he said.
"I have known her a very long time. She said she remembers dealing with my apprentice registration forms when I first came to Ipswich as a 15-year-old.
"Even while I was away from club, she used to send letters so we could keep updated with what was going on at the club.
"She played such a big part, particularly when Bobby was in charge. Bobby did everything and Pat was therefore involved in everything.
"She's devoted her whole life to the club and truly deserves the award."
Other reaction to Pat's award
The Times sports journalist Henry Winter was among those congratulating the Ipswich Town stalwart on her LMA award.
He tweeted: "Pat Godbold wins LMA Service to Football Award at LMA Awards. 65 years' serving ITFC, working for Ramsey and Robson, Burley et al.
"Wonderful lady, so hard working for Ipswich."
Former Town star Simon Milton, who spent 30 years with the club as a player and in various off the pitch roles, said Pat was a "credit to football."
"I have known Pat since I joined Ipswich town as a player in 1987," he tweeted.
"She had already had about 35 years under her belt then.
"Amazing woman and credit to the glorious game of football."
The club also paid tribute to a "fantastic servant".
Steve Pearce, media manager at Ipswich Town, said: "It's a well deserved award for Pat who has been a fantastic servant to Ipswich Town Football Club."