Bobby Moore OBE, West Ham United’s greatest-ever player and England’s 1966 FIFA World Cup-winning captain, passed away 30 years ago today, on 24 February 1993.
The legendary centre-half made 646 league and cup appearances for the Hammers, scoring 27 goals and preventing hundreds more, across 16 seasons.
Born in Barking on 12 April 1941, Moore attended Westbury Primary School and Tom Hood School before joining the Academy of Football in 1956.
After excelling as a junior player, Moore made his first-team debut in Claret and Blue in a 3-2 win over Manchester United at the Boleyn Ground as a 17-year-old on 8 September 1958, replacing his mentor Malcolm Allison, who had been taken ill with tuberculosis. It was the start of a glittering career that is remembered fondly by football fans the world over.
After playing alongside Geoff Hurst in the 1959 FA Youth Cup final, Moore developed into one of the greatest defenders the world has ever seen under the guidance of visionary West Ham manager Ron Greenwood and his England counterpart Alf Ramsey.
With Moore literally leading from the back, West Ham won the FA Cup in 1964 and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965. A year later, he was back at Wembley, alongside clubmates Hurst and Martin Peters, completing a unique hat-trick as Ramsey’s England defeated 4-2 West Germany in the World Cup final.
Even then, at the pinnacle of his career, the respectful, immaculate Moore wiped the dirt from his hands before shaking hands with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and being presented with the Jules Rimet Trophy.
The iconic No6 hardly missed a game over the next seven-and-a-half seasons, helping the Hammers reach the League Cup semi-finals in 1967 and 1972, and finish a then joint record-high sixth in the old First Division in 1973.
Just the second player to reach 100 caps for his country after Billy Wright, Moore remained a regular for England too, starring at the 1970 World Cup finals in Mexico, where his battle with Brazilian greats Pelé and Jairzinho has gone down in football folklore.
Sadly, of course, both Queen Elizabeth II and Pelé have themselves passed away in recent months.
A four-time Hammer of the Year, Footballer of the Year and Sports Personality of the Year, Moore was made an OBE in 1967. In November 1970, the Boleyn Ground was full for his Testimonial match against Scottish club Celtic.
At the age of 32, Moore moved across London to Fulham in 1974. Fittingly, a little over a year later, he lined up for the Whites against the Hammers in the 1975 FA Cup final, which West Ham won 2-0.
After spells in the United St
Hugh Southon writes:
Bobby Moore was a man I had the pleasure of meeting and working alongside when he became the named sports editor of Sport Newspapers at a time when no other organisation – and shamefully football itself – offered him any sort of role.
He managed just three clubs over six years on his retirement – Oxford City, AA and Southend United .
Thirty years on he is remembered as the greatest footballer this country has ever produced and shamefully was never knighted.
It would be wrong for me to claim Bob as a friend…he was a guy for whom I ghost wrote and came to admire as a human being even more than a footballer. That’s as big a compliment as I can pay him.
The last time I saw him was at The Hawthorns when he was acting as a pundit for a London broadcasting station – a tragedy in itself given his stature.
He didn’t look well and I mentioned it to him as we had a cup of tea at half time. As ever there was no fuss with him replying: “Oh, just a touch of winter flu Hughie.”
That was Bob: No fuss, no bother. no fluster – an attitude he carried on to the pitch. But a month later I learned he had passed away from cancer. He died as he lived – calm and at peace.