THE organisers of a charity football match to raise money for Sir Bobby Robson's cancer charity have hit out at reports that tickets are not selling.

Former Newcastle United boss Sir Bobby, who is fighting cancer for the fifth time, will be honoured when players from his Italia 90 England side play West Germany in a rematch of the famous semi-final in Turin, which West Germany won on penalties.

Players including Peter Beardsley, Peter Shilton, Paul Gascoigne, and Lothar Matthaus have signed up for the game at St James Park on July 26.

Funds raised will help The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation develop a new cancer trials research centre at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, which the 76-year-old said would be his legacy to the north east.

But it was feared the chaos surrounding Newcastle United - including a players' revolt and a plan by the stricken club, now abandoned, to play a friendly match in Holland on the very same day - had damaged ticket sales.

A spokesman for The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation said more than 20,000 tickets had been sold already.

She said: ''There's been a huge surge in ticket sales with 10,000 sold in the last week and people struggling to get through to the NUFC box office.

''It's just absolutely not true there is any problem.

''It's important we let people know how many tickets have been sold, because it's frustrating to read otherwise.''

Former Newcastle United captain Bob Moncur urged people to turn out for the game.

He said: ''Given everything he's going through, what Sir Bobby has done in raising this money in such a short time is just incredible.

''I went through colon cancer two years ago and while I can't say it was exactly a pleasant experience it was minute compared to what Bobby has been through. His experiences with cancer are in a different league and yet he keeps on going. Even gets out to the football. That takes real courage and I take my hat off to him.

''I know myself the importance of having a great medical team around you. I never felt alone when I had my treatment at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. There was always someone there, a doctor, a nurse or whoever it might be to pick me up when it was hard going.

''I know there will be a big turn-out for Bobby for the England v Germany game because of the respect he's held in. Not just respect from football people but respect from people in the north east generally. I hope has a fantastic night and raises a lot of money for his charity.

''I've no doubts it will be a great occasion.''

Sir Bobby said: ''It will be a new experience for me to go to St James' Park to watch a game being staged just for me and I'm extremely appreciative of the efforts being made on my part and to help my charity.

''I'm looking forward to seeing my Italia '90 players again and there are a few other old faces that I'm keen to catch up with.

''Knowing players like Peter Beardsley are playing I've no doubt it will be a hard fought match. I hope we will raise a substantial amount of money for my charity and that everyone who joins me at the game will have a wonderful time.

''It should be a very special night and I hear ticket sales are now going very well as the night approaches so we should make a good amount for my charity.''

Tickets for the Sir Bobby Robson Trophy are available via Newcastle United's Box Office 0844 372 1892 website or through and cost £10 for adults and £5 for children.

Confirmed England players include Peter Beardsley, Peter Shilton, Paul Parker, Steve Hodge and Paul Gascoigne. They will line up against a German team featuring Steffen Freund, Thomas Helmer, Fredi Bobic and World Cup winning captain, and the destroyer of England's and Sir Bobby's hopes at Italia '90, Lothar Matthaus.

The game will also feature select special guests from football and entertainment and a moving rendition of Nessun Dorma.