Bobby Moore

gigatos | November 24, 2021


Robert Frederick Chelsea “Bobby” Moore († 24 February 1993 in London) was an English footballer.

He was team captain at his hometown club West Ham United for more than ten years and captained the England national team to World Cup victory in 1966. He is considered one of the most respected English national team captains because of his integrity as a sportsman and one of the world”s best defenders of his time in sporting terms.

Early in his career

Moore joined West Ham United as a schoolboy in 1956 and, having previously played in the youth teams, played his first game for the club”s first team against Manchester United on November 8, 1958. He took over the number 6 shirt from his early supporter Malcolm Allison, who was suffering from tuberculosis.

With Allison never able to play for West Ham – or any other first division team – again, Moore quickly became a regular. A playmaking central defender, his strengths early on lay in anticipating opponents” offensive actions and in good positional play. This clearly set him apart from the predominant type of central defender, who was characterized by great tackling toughness and strengths in heading. His qualities in the latter areas were ultimately average at best, but his ability to “read” a game and lead a team – as well as his timing in tackles – made him a world-class defender. Pelé described Moore as probably the fairest defender he had played against in his career.

Advancement to the English top player and victory in the European Cup

At the age of just 19, Moore was called up to the England Under-23 squad for the first time. Due to his breakthrough and sporting rise at West Ham, he was even called up a short time later by Walter Winterbottom and the FA”s nominations committee during the World Cup preparation period and shortly before the start of the tournament to the squad for the 1962 World Cup finals in Chile in the summer. Moore thus flew to South America without having previously played an international match for the senior team. That changed on May 20, 1962, in a 4-0 Test match victory over Peru in Lima. Together with Maurice Norman, who also made his debut, he impressed so much that this formation was retained for the tournament itself – up to and including the fourth-final defeat by eventual world champions Brazil in Viña del Mar.

On May 29, 1963, Moore captained the national team for the first time in his twelfth international match after Johnny Haynes resigned and his replacement, Jimmy Armfield, was sidelined by injury. Armfield then briefly took over the captain”s armband again until new coach Alf Ramsey gave Moore the job permanently during a series of friendlies in the summer of 1964 – England had already failed to beat France in the preliminary round of the 1964 European Championship.

The year 1964 was altogether very eventful for Moore. In addition to his new responsibilities as captain of the English national team, he won the FA Cup with West Ham United, defeating opponents Preston North End 3-2 in the final of the competition at Wembley Stadium – thanks to a last-minute goal by Ronnie Boyce. In addition, Moore, who had been suffering from testicular cancer, made a full recovery and was voted England”s Footballer of the Year by British soccer journalists. However, Moore took it as a personal slight that no official club management member attended the honoring ceremony on the eve of the cup final, which permanently damaged his relationship with West Ham United.

The cup triumph was the first of Wembley final successes in three consecutive years. In 1965, he won the European Cup Winners” Cup at the same venue, beating German representatives TSV 1860 Munich 2-0 – after two goals from Alan Sealey. His leadership of the England national team was undisputed after 30 caps by now, and Ramsey built a team around him to win the World Cup on home soil.

The year 1966 got off to a changeable start for Moore. In the international match against Poland, which ended 1-1, Moore scored his first goal for England. With West Ham, he reached the final of the League Cup, which was played in a first and second leg for the last time that year. Although Moore was able to score in the first game, he and his team were defeated by a total of 3-5 goals after both games. This was followed two weeks before the start of the World Cup finals by Moore”s second – and also last – national team goal in a friendly against Norway.

The world championship year 1966

The year of great success began with speculation in the British media about an imminent move by Moore to local rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Moore had been at odds with the West Ham United management – including coach Ron Greenwood – for some time, and so Moore allowed his contract at West Ham to expire after the 196566 season. It was only the personal intervention of Alf Ramsey and the prospect that Moore might not have been eligible to play in the World Cup that convinced Moore to talk to Greenwood, during which the two settled their differences and negotiated a new contract.

The team, led by Moore, played all of its matches at Wembley Stadium during the World Cup and got through the group stage with relative ease, beating an extremely aggressive Argentina team in the quarterfinals and then the Portuguese, who were the secret favorites, in the semifinals before facing Germany in the final.

According to Geoff Hurst in his autobiography, England full-back George Cohen is said to have overheard a discussion between Ramsey and his coaching staff in which they considered dispensing with Moore in the final in favor of the physically stronger Norman Hunter. This surprising consideration – especially in light of the fact that he had not disappointed in the games before and had not been distracted by contract negotiations – possessed its possible origin in the fact that the German opponent had extremely fast strikers. As a result, it was feared that Moore”s lack of speed would have a negative effect. In addition, Hunter, who at the time – although roughly the same age as Moore – had only played four international matches, formed a well-rehearsed duo with Moore”s defensive partner Jack Charlton at the club. Overall, however, this plan was scrapped again and so the captain remained in his team.

In the final itself, England first fell behind 1-0 after a Helmut Haller goal, before Moore was instrumental in equalizing. He was fouled by Wolfgang Overath midway through the German half, picked up the ball quickly and crossed to Geoff Hurst, who headed in the 1-1 equalizer – a variation that had been rehearsed earlier at West Ham United. Martin Peters” 2-1 opening goal again involved a player from Moore”s club. However, this was not enough to win the game after 90 minutes, as Wolfgang Weber made it 2-2 shortly before the end of normal time – Moore unsuccessfully appealed for a handball in this action – to force extra time.

There, England first scored the 3:2 that would go down in soccer history as the Wembley goal. When Moore won the ball at the corner of his own penalty area just a few seconds before the end of the game, he didn”t kick it out by means of a free kick, but instead struck a 35-meter pass to Hurst, whose third goal made it 4:2 (the game ended in the immediate aftermath).

The pictures of the award ceremony, where Moore wiped his dirty hands on his way to the podium, shook hands with Queen Elizabeth II and finally received the Jules Rimet trophy from her, eventually went around the world.

Moore now increasingly marketed the extremely positive perception of Moore and his popularity with the public in several business activities. In the process, he opened a sports store in Upton Park, Newham – close to West Ham United”s home ground – and appeared with his wife Tina, along with Martin Peters and his wife, in a well-known television commercial for the catering sector (“Look in at the local”).

Moore continued to play for West Ham and the England national team. At the end of 1966, he played his 50th international match in a 5-1 British Home Championship win over Wales, which was also a qualifier for the 1968 European Championship in Italy. England eventually reached the European Championship semifinals (only four teams took part in the tournament itself under the rules of the time), where they faced Yugoslavia and lost 1-0 in Florence. As reigning World Champions, England did not have to qualify for the next World Cup, and Moore remained a regular in Ramsey”s first eleven during that time. Before departing for South America, where the England team was trying to get used to the altitude ahead of the finals in Mexico, Moore had already made his 78th appearance for the national team.

The world championship year 1970

Moore was also to hold the post of England team captain for the 1970 World Cup that was now to follow. In the run-up to the World Cup, Moore became embroiled in a theft affair in which he was accused of stealing a bracelet from a jeweler in Bogotá, Colombia – where the England team was staying for a preparatory match at the time. A young employee of the businessman claimed that Moore had taken the bracelet from a hotel store without eventually paying for it. After the fact, it was confirmed that Moore had indeed visited the store with Bobby Charlton to pick out a gift for Charlton”s wife. The other allegations, however, turned out to be completely fabricated. Moore was arrested but released a short time later and traveled with the team to Quito for the next friendly against Ecuador, where he made his 80th international appearance in the 2-0 win. When the entire staff flew back to Mexico, a stopover had to be made in Colombia, where Moore was arrested again and eventually placed under house arrest for four days. Only increasing diplomatic pressure and weak evidence ensured that Moore was fully exonerated and could follow his team to Mexico for World Cup preparations.Final rehabilitation did not occur until November 7, 1972, when a judge in Bogotà came to the conclusion that Moore had been the victim of an extortion attempt.

Despite this great unrest, Moore was able to lead his team through the preliminary round of the tournament. In the second match against the favorites from Brazil, a very memorable scene occurred with Moore when he managed a very precise – and yet fair – tackle on Jairzinho, which will still be shown on British sports television many years later. Although Brazil won the match, England also advanced to the quarterfinals as group runners-up, but they lost 3-2 to Germany after extra time.

The last years in top sport

At the end of 1970, Moore was honored for his services to West Ham United with a friendly match against Celtic Glasgow (to qualify for a “testimonial match” – usually tax-free – in British soccer, a minimum of ten years at the same club is roughly taken as the yardstick, along with other honorable achievements). But despite his status as an English soccer idol, Moore caused some controversy during this period through his own misconduct and indiscipline. Immediately before the FA Cup third-round tie against Blackpool FC, he spent the night drinking with teammates Jimmy Greaves, Brian Dear and Clyde Best at a club owned by his friend and former boxer Brian London. His team eventually lost the match 4-0 and Moore was fined an amount equal to a week”s salary for him. It was not uncommon for Moore to be seen on a training pitch or in a gym on a Sunday morning, which is often used for full regeneration with a day off, so as to work off the alcohol consumed from the previous night.

With his 509th appearance, Moore set a new club record for the most games played for West Ham United in 1973. He had already played his 100th international match on Valentine”s Day – three days earlier – where he spectacularly defeated his archrivals from Scotland 5-0 at Hampden Park. From the former World Cup-winning team, only Alan Ball and Martin Peters remained in the England eleven. All the others had in the meantime either been sorted out by Ramsey – although some of them were much younger than Moore – or had announced their retirement.

A sporting low point for him became the qualifying match against Poland in Chorzów for the upcoming 1974 World Cup in Germany. Before the game, he explained to the Polish press why the English team was playing in yellow jerseys for the first time: “We want to show that we have combined the English school of soccer with the virtuoso ball skills of the Brazilians.” For the hosts” opening goal, he deflected a free kick unstoppable for his own goalkeeper Peter Shilton, and later he had the ball taken away by Włodzimierz Lubański, who was able to add the second goal as a result. With Moore”s overall form slipping, Ramsey did without him for the second leg at Wembley Stadium, which England needed to win to still be in the final tournament – instead of Poland. The match eventually ended in a 1-1 draw, and Moore”s 108th international appearance in the subsequent 1-0 friendly defeat to Italy ended his career for England. This made him the record international for his country – until Peter Shilton surpassed him later – with two more appearances than Bobby Charlton. With 90 caps as England captain, he still shares the record with Billy Wright. He was also the world record holder from June 4, 1973, to June 3, 1978, when he was replaced by Björn Nordqvist (Sweden).

The time after West Ham

At the beginning of 1974, Moore played for West Ham United for the last time in an FA Cup match against Hereford United. After suffering an injury from that match, he left his long-time club on March 14 after 15 years. He thus became the club”s own record holder in terms of the number of competitive matches played for West Ham United (Billy Bonds was later to overtake him) and caps for the England national team.

For 25,000 British pounds, he moved to London”s local rivals and second-division club Fulham FC, where he beat West Ham United, of all teams, in the League Cup in his very first season. In the FA Cup, he and his new team reached the final, where they again faced West Ham. In Moore”s last game at Wembley Stadium as a professional footballer, however, he lost 2-0.

On May 14, 1977, Moore played for Fulham against Blackburn Rovers in his last competitive match on English soil. He then moved to the United States, where he played for San Antonio Thunder (24 games, one goal) in 1976 and Seattle Sounders (seven games) in the NASL in 1978. In 1976 he also played his last international games. In a U.S. selection, he faced the then three-time World Champions from Brazil, as well as Italy and England – the latter team now led by Gerry Francis – in a tournament celebrating the 200th anniversary of American Independence Day, neither of which had qualified for the 1976 European Football Championships. The Seattle Sounders were the last club for which Moore played professional soccer. He then played briefly for traditional Danish club Herning Fremad in 1978 before concentrating mainly on coaching. In 1983, Moore made one more flying visit to professional soccer when he was club-less between his time with Eastern AA and Southend United, during which time he appeared for Carolina Lightnin” in the American Soccer League.

Moore was an anticipatory central defender whose great strength lay in anticipating and intercepting opponents” passes and crosses. In tackling, he was primarily calm and wait-and-see before deciding to tackle or block at the right moment. At the same time, Moore was a “playmaking” center back who opened up play from within his own defense. A striking feature of this was his high long balls, which he usually played vertically to his teammates up front.Another feature was that even when in possession deep in his own half (even in the penalty area) and under pressure from the opposition, he would try to play the ball out of defense with a considered pass. He rarely cleared the ball blindly forward and thought about where he was going to pass it before he won the ball.

In 1978 Moore retired as a professional footballer and subsequently had two only moderately successful coaching stints with Oxford City and Southend United.

His time after active sports was as eventful as it was difficult. He failed with his business activities and divorced his wife. His involvement as a columnist for the less than reputable tabloid Sunday Sport was seen in this context as an indication of his slow decline, and more than a few English soccer supporters greatly regretted that the FA did not provide the only English World Cup captain with an appropriate position.

In 1981, Moore played a soccer player in a supporting role in John Huston”s war film Escape to Victory.

In 1990, Moore joined the Capital Gold radio station in London as a soccer pundit and commentator and married for a second time in December 1991. He underwent emergency surgery in April of the same year due to acute suspicion of colon cancer. On February 14, 1993, he announced that he had cancer, and just three days later he was commentating on an England national team match against San Marino. Seven days after this last public appearance, he died. Bobby Moore was cremated at Putney Vale Crematorium and buried at the City of London Cemetery and Crematorium in the Garden of Remembrance. He left a son and a daughter from his first marriage.

However, his popularity continued even after his death. In 1996, English comedians Frank Skinner and David Baddiel wrote the lyrics “But I still see that tackle by Moore” in the song for the 1996 European Football Championship “Three Lions” in reference to Moore”s famous defensive tackle against Jairzinho, and recreated the scene with then-England left-back Stuart Pearce for the accompanying music video. That same year, he was posthumously awarded the FIFA Order of Merit.

In 1998, 250 sports journalists voted him into the FIFA World Player of the 20th Century.

Moore was inducted into the newly established English “Hall of Fame” in 2002 in recognition of his services to English soccer. Shortly after his death, the new South Stand at Upton Park – West Ham United”s home stadium at Upton Park – was named the “Bobby Moore Stand.” Likewise, there is a statue there recreating the famous photo of the celebration after winning the World Cup, in which Moore can be seen holding the trophy – along with his teammates Hurst, Peters and Everton FC left-back Ray Wilson – and being carried on his shoulders. In addition, a bronze statue of Moore was erected outside the main entrance to the new Wembley Stadium.

In November 2003, to mark the 50th anniversary of UEFA, the European soccer governing body, Moore was selected by the Football Association for England as the best player of the past 50 years in the UEFA Jubilee 52 Golden Players list.


  1. Bobby Moore
  2. Bobby Moore
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