The former England and Newcastle boss invited Gazza for a trial to Ipswich Town as a 14-year-old but opted against signing the future World Cup star.
In 'Bobby Robson: The Ultimate Patriot', Bob Harris writes:
"One of the unforgettable images of the 1990 World Cup was Bobby consoling his tearful midfield dynamo and inspiration, Paul Gascoigne, after the dramatic semi-final defeat to West Germany.
"But the two north easterners may have formed a player-manager partnership nine years earlier, when Gascoigne was just a teenager and Robson in charge of Ipswich Town.
"Gascoigne may have never played for Ipswich in the end, but he was mighty close.
"Aged 14 at the time when he travelled south from Newcastle to Portman Road in 1981 – another player ready to leave the North East if the opportunity was good enough – he was clearly a youngster of immense talent and promise, but he was also as broad as he was tall, a roly-poly who looked more like a trainee Sumo wrestler than an apprentice footballer.
"With the club's tight budget, Robson thought it a gamble he could not afford to take, and Gascoigne soon made the grade at St James' Park.
"Years later he did take the plunge with Gascoigne, introducing him to the England set-up shortly before Italia '90, and the country's most prodigious talent rewarded his manager by being elected the best young player in the World Cup. How Bobby loved him and how he loved Bobby.
"It was a football partnership made in heaven between two icons of the country born just over 10 miles away from each other."