Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bobby Moore

12 April 1941 - 24 February 1993

Bobby Moore is not just the only England captain to lift the World Cup, something that I can't see anybody from these islands doing again soon unless it is part of some sort of publicity campaign, but he remains the only outfield player in our history to have played every minute of every international he played in, he played for England 108 times and was captain for 90 of those caps, a world record he shares with Billy Wright.

The peak years in his professional career were undoubtedly 1964-1966 when he captained West Ham to two wins at Wembley (1964 F.A Cup and 1965 European Cup Winners Cup) and the 1966 World Cup. In addition to those honours he was also the BBC Sports Personality of The Year (1966), Football Writers Player of The Year (1964) and even runner-up in the European Player of The Year award (1970), in 1967 he was awarded the O.B.E.   He resisted overtures during his life to leave the club he served so well for 544 games, turning down possible moves to 'bigger clubs' and there is no doubt in most fans minds that the club treated him shabbily during his lifetime, not only did they demand nearly £60,000 from Fulham in 1974 for the transfer that signalled the start of his final season in English football but they didn't see fit to offer him a role after his playing career was finished as an ambassador or technical director.  When he returned to Upton Park as a radio summariser for Capital Gold he wasn't the subject of fan adulation just quiet respect.

I was lucky enough to see him play many times during the 1960 and also to meet him outside Upton Park one Saturday morning.

Since his death, twenty years ago, his name has lived on, not only in the history books but in the name of a stand at the Boleyn and a statue outside the 'new' Wembley. For anybody under the age of say forty five who didn't see him play his name will be synonomous not just with football stories told respectively by old gits like me but through the Bobby Moore Fund.

The Bobby Moore Fund was set up as part of a public awareness campaign for raising funds to finance research into bowel cancer and the funds have helped Cancer Research (UK). There is now a 90% chance of recovery for those diagnosed with the cancer if it is caught early enough. I lost a client last year to bowel cancer who proved something I had overheard a few years ago on a train from London. A woman was dictating a letter and happened to mention that research showed that cancer patients had a more positive outlook than heart diesease patients, of course this is all hearsay but my client lived life to the full once diagnosed - he visited America and Australia in one last act of sticking two fingers up at his eventual killer.

West Ham retired his famous number six shirt in 2008 fifty years after his debut, so any youngsters out there who wonder why it is that West Ham don't have a player with a number six on the back of their shirt this man is the reason. Players may come and go but there will never be a player who had the ability, the charm, wit and coolness of Robert Frederick Chelsea 'Bobby' Moore and he couldn't be replaced and any player pulling on the number six shirt would have heard the same calls from the crowd as players did whilst he was still alive, "He'll never be as good as Bobby Moore".


Span Ows said...

Thanks Paul, quite a bit there I didn't know about the great man!

Paul said...

Thanks Span for the comments about the article and Bobby Moore.

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