Jewell leads tributes to legend Campbell

Bobby Campbell
Bobby Campbell

Paul Jewell has led to the tributes to Latics legend Bobby Campbell, who has died at the age of 60.

Belfast-born Campbell, who scored 36 goals in 88 games for Latics between 1986-88, enjoyed cult status among the club’s supporters for his no-nonsense style of play.

And Jewell, his strike partner in the Third Division side that famously reached the FA Cup quarter-finals in 1987, admits he’ll be a massive loss for all who knew him.

“I’m absolutely devastated...absolutely devastated,” Jewell told the Evening Post.

“He was a top, top bloke, with a heart of gold, and terrific to have in the dressing room with you.

“We got on famously, even when he used to clip me round the back of the head.

“I’ve had so many calls today, from so many people who knew him, and it’s so desperately sad.”

Campbell cost £25,000 in October 1986 when Latics prised him from Bradford, for whom he’d plundered an impressive 121 goals in 274 league games.

And Jewell believes those stats underline exactly what a quality player Campbell was, rather than just a renowned hard man.

“He had a tough exterior, but he was also a terrific footballer,” acknowledged Jewell.

“I know a lot of fans thought of him just as a tough guy, and he really was, but he could also play as well.

“You have to remember he was only at Wigan for a couple of years at the end of his career, but he is absolutely revered at the club among the fans to this day.

“The fans just took to him from day one - and that says a lot.

“For them to call him a legend after such a short space of time tells you everything about him as a player and as a man.”

Jewell also remembers the human side to a man who felt winning and losing just as much as the fans that adored him.

“I remember him missing a penalty for us in the Mercantile Credit Trophy,” Jewell added.

“The next thing we know, he’s hitch-hiked home from Wembley.

“He couldn’t face anyone back at the hotel, so he got himself across to the M1 and made his own way home.

“I remember another time, when I came to leave Wigan, I got a call from someone claiming to be from the West Yorkshire police.

“I said: ‘Hi Bobby’, and he said: ‘How did you know it was me?’

“I replied: ‘There’s not many folk around with a voice like that!’

“Such good times, I learned so much from him...it’s a crying shame he’s gone so young.”