Pele called Bobby Moore simply the greatest
defender in the world and regards the shirt Bobby wore against him in the 1970 World Cup finals in Mexico as being his prized possession. Bobby won
108 caps for England and equaled Billy Wright's record of captaining England in 90 matches. At 23, he became the youngest ever captain of England when
he led them out against Czechoslovakia in May 1963 and went on to become the only Englishman to lift the World Cup.Sportznewz takes a look at a
Bobby Moore was England's finest captain, a legend who led his country to its
greatest triumph. Yet, for all the glittering prizes, who now remembers his farewell international 10 years after that stunning World Cup victory?
Here's a clue: it wasn't for his beloved England. The man who graced the beautiful game bowed out with a bizarre cap in a land where football had
about as much relevance as a British passport in the Chelsea dressing room. The path that led him there was, in the end, less than his due. He scaled
the heights, but received few favours in later life from the sport to which he had given so much. Moore's rise to the top began when he was discovered
playing on an East London school ground called Flanders Fields. It was an appropriate place to find him. The spirit of those First World War heroes
was to be echoed in his cool courage under pressure.
Bobby was a Hammer born and bred and one who,
despite fame and fortune, remained loyal to the club for 15 years. He made his West Ham debut in 1958 as a seventeen year old, replacing his pal
Malcolm Allison, whose career was cut short by tuberculosis. The Hammers won 3-2 against Manchester United and they went to the top of the table in
their first season back in the First Division. Despite having represented England at Youth level (a then record 18 appearances), it was not until 1961
that he managed to claim a regular place in Hammers first team. England Under-23 recognition followed and in 1962 he succeeded Bobby Robson in the
England team in a World Cup warm-up game against Peru. He missed only 10 internationals in the next ten years. He the took over from Jimmy Armfield as
captain in 1963 -1964. In 1964 Bobby was elected Footballer of the Year while leading West Ham to their first ever FA Cup Final victory in the 3-2
defeat of Preston North End. Bobby cited the semi final victory against cup holders Manchester United as a big factor in winning the award. That was
the start of three amazing cup successes at Wembley. May 1965 saw Bobby lifting the European Cup Winners Cup for West Ham and the following year he
became the first and so far only England captain to hold aloft the World Cup following the 4-2 defeat of West Germany.
Bobby was a great ambassador and a perfect gentleman, never better
illustrated than when he recalled climbing the famous Wembley steps to accept the World Cup from the Queen and admitted the most important thing on
his mind at that time was to wipe the mud from his hands, so as not to make her gloves dirty. A fitting personal tribute to Moore after that game was
his selection as the 1966 World Cup Finals Player of Players. The following year he was awarded the OBE for his services to English football. If 1966
was a high then 1970 was a low. Bobby was arrested in Bogota, Colombia on suspicion of theft. The fabricated charges were thankfully dropped and he
went on to have a superb tournament, including a brilliant tackle on Pele.
Bobby continued his career at West Ham, despite
several lucrative offers from other so-called bigger clubs, until he eventually moved across London to Fulham in March 1974. His vast experience
played a vital role in taking the Craven Cottage club, a second division outfit at the time, to Wembley in 1975 for an FA Cup Final against, of all
opponents, West Ham - a game the Hammers won 2-0. He retired from professional football in England in 1977.Bobby's reading of the game bordered on the
telepathic, his tackling was immaculate and he was always in the right place at the right time. His distribution was intelligent and clinical and at
the heart of England's defence he won a massive 108 caps for his country which was a record until Peter Shilton overtook it in 1989. He was not only a
gifted footballer, but a useful cricketer, too. In fact he was offered a position with Essex County Cricket Club, but preferred to dedicate himself to
football. Another insight into the character of Bobby Moore happened in 1970 when a whacked attempted clearance unfortunately hit the referee on the
head and knocked him out! Ever quick to take control of a situation, Bobby picked up the ref's whistle and blew it to stop play!
Not that 'Mooro' had seen the last of Wembley, his spiritual home. He went back there in
1975 when Fulham lost to his former club, 2-0, in the FA Cup final.After finishing his playing days in America with San Antonio Thunder and Seattle
Sounders in the newly-formed North American Soccer League, Bobby returned to England to enter management with non-league Oxford City (where Harry
Redknapp was his assistant) in 1979, moving on to Southend United (where another former Hammers team-mate, Frank Lampard, was a player) in 1984. But,
like most of his World Cup-winning colleagues, Bobby found management more difficult and, sadly, was allowed to drift out of the game. It was a crime
that much more was not made of his talents, at club and international level, as Bobby was left to struggle with various business interests and
maintain an involvement with football only as reporter for a downmarket tabloid newspaper and radio summariser for Capital Gold Sport. In fact, Bobby
paid his last visit to the Twin Towers to commentate on England v San Marino just seven days before his untimely death.
With many of his friends and associates still unaware of his private battle, Bobby
Moore died at his home in Putney, south-west London, on the morning of February 24, 1993, with his second wife, Stephanie, by his side, after a long
and typically brave fight against bowel cancer. West Ham United fans, deeply shocked and saddened by the sudden loss of their favourite son, turned
the main gates at Upton Park into a shrine, while supporters of many other clubs also sent messages of sympathy and momentoes in memory of English
football's former golden boy.In 1994, West Ham named the new South Stand after Bobby and installed a solid bronze bust of our greatest-ever servant in
the main reception of the stand. As the new millennium dawned, a special commemorative plaque was added to the stadium. Bobby did not die in vain,
however. Thanks largely to the continuing efforts of Stephanie, his name has helped to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for the Cancer Research
Today at Upton Park the Bobby Moore Stand is part of the memorial to the Hammer's
favourite, as are the medals and memorabilia purchased by the club, now displayed in the club museum. In 2003, ten years after his death, 'Champions'
a statue depicting Bobby held aloft by other players - raising the World Cup trophy in 1966 - was unveiled by HRH the Duke of York at the nearby
'Boleyn' road junction, greeting visitors as they pass the home of the Hammers. But while there are fans that saw him play in his heyday, and those
that can still see him on video, Bobby Moore's greatest testimonial will always be the undeniable class of his football. At Upton Park and throughout
the football world, Robert Frederick Chelsea Moore will always be remembered with great and loving affection.
Date of Birth: 12.04.1941
Died 24th February 1993
Birthplace: Barking, Essex
Clubs: Barking Schools, Leyton Schools, Woodford Youth Club, West Ham United, Fulham.
Major Honours: European Cup Winners Cup 1965, World Cup 1966, Player of Players award in the 1966 World Cup Finals.
Relevant Career Statistics: 545 league games for West Ham, 124 appearances for Fulham and 108 appearances and 2 goals for England.
Retired in 1977 but returned as player/coach for Herning FC (Denmark)
Oxford City manager
Chief executive of Southend United and later manager.
Captain of England in the 1966 World Cup. Debut in Lima against Peru. Remembered as much for his game against Brazil as his World Cup winning
Books and Videos:
Bobby Moore: The Life and Times of a Sporting Hero [Jeff Powell]
1966 World Cup Final [Brian Moore, Gordon Banks]
Four-Ever England [Octa8on]
[Edited on 5/8/04 by TRD]