England and West Ham United legend Bobby Moore was just 51 when he sadly passed away in 1993. Following his death, widow Stephanie Moore MBE set up the Bobby Moore Fund as a restricted fund of Cancer Research UK to fund pioneering bowel cancer research.
In the years since Bobby’s death, the generosity of our supporters has enabled us to raise over £27 million and mortality rates for bowel cancer have fallen by more than 30 per cent. However, the disease still kills 44 people in the UK every day, showing we still have a long way to go to achieve our goal of tackling bowel cancer.
‘Legend’ status is awarded very easily nowadays but few English footballers have earned it quite like Bobby Moore did.
Twenty-seven years after his passing, the image of England’s captain riding high on the shoulders of his team-mates, grinning as he holds aloft the Jules Rimet trophy endures. It is the most iconic moment in the history of English football.
Not a hair out of place or a bead of sweat on his brow, Moore made sure to wipe his palms in order to shake hands with Queen Elizabeth before getting his mitts on the World Cup. Always a gentleman, Moore led by example and is one of the most composed, controlled and stylish defenders in the history of the British game. He was a Virgil van Dijk or Aymeric Laporte long before ball-playing defenders became the norm.
Brazilian hero Pelé called Moore the greatest defender he had ever played against while West Ham fans revere their former captain, more so than any of the great attackers, mavericks and entertainers to have graced the Boleyn Ground since.
Moore made more than 600 outings for the East Londoners, lifting the 1964 FA Cup and 1965 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup. Yet it’s the fact he was voted Hammer of the Year on four occasions which speaks for his huge popularity in East London. In 2008, 15 years after his passing, West Ham retired the No.6 jersey Moore had been so synonymous with as a permanent mark of respect.
Born in Barking on April 12, 1941, Moore was a talented all-round sportsman who played cricket for Essex’s youth side along with fellow future Hammer and World Cup winner Geoff Hurst. But football was Moore’s passion and he signed for West Ham as a 15-year-old, going on to debut in place of Malcolm Allison – who was suffering from Tuberculosis – three years later. Allison never played again and Moore never looked back.
Just four years after his first-team debut in league football, Moore was handed his maiden England call-up for the 1962 FIFA World Cup finals in Chile. Uncapped at the time, Moore made a flawless debut in a 4-0 win over Peru in Lima, in England’s final warm-up game prior to the tournament. So impressive was the youngster, he kept his place in the side throughout as England exited at the quarter-final stage to Brazil.
The following year, Moore led his country for the first time. Previous skipper Johnny Haynes had retired while replacement Jimmy Armfield was injured. It was only Moore’s 12th outing for the Three Lions but despite his relative lack of experience, his leadership qualities shone through. England coach Alf Ramsey was clearly impressed and in the summer of 1964, Moore was handed the armband on a full-time basis following a series of impressive displays over the summer.
It had already been a significant year for the classy stopper who had won the FA Cup as West Ham defeated Preston North End at Wembley, while being named FWA Player of the Year. Away from the field, the deeply private Moore had successfully undergone treatment for testicular cancer, something which was kept under wraps.
Wembley was quickly becoming a home away from home for Moore who returned 12 months later to lead West Ham to the 1965 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, beating 1860 Munich 2-0 under the famous Twin Towers. A 5-3 aggregate defeat to West Bromwich Albion in the 1966 League Cup final was a setback from which Moore – as well as Hurst and Geoff Peters – would soon bounce back.
Yet it could all have been so different. In the run-up to the tournament, rumours abound that Moore wanted to leave West Ham. That meant England’s captain was on the verge of becoming a free agent before the World Cup kicked off that summer. Had he been unemployed, Moore would not have been eligible to play. Fortunately, manager Ramsey spotted the issue and intervened. Moore duly signed an extension which enabled him to lead his country at a home World Cup.
England advanced through their group with minimal fuss before dispatching Argentina in the quarters and Portugal in the semis, setting up a final with West Germany. We all know what happened next but what perhaps gets forgotten is Moore’s part in two of England’s four goals on that unforgettable day. It was the West Ham defender who delivered a perfectly-weighted ball onto Hurst’s head to level and the same combination was in full flow once more for the now iconic fourth.
Moore’s vision and footballing brain, for a centre-half, truly was well ahead of its time and nothing epitomised that more perfectly than a pair of assists in the biggest game of his career. The final helped cement Moore’s status as an England legend and, indeed, a national icon. He won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award later that year – the first footballer ever and the last for 24 years – and was awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours list.
On Valentine’s Day 1973, Moore won his 100th England cap in a 5-0 win over Scotland at Hampden Park. Later that year he made his 108th and final appearance for his country, overtaking Bobby Charlton as the Three Lions’ most-capped player and drawing level with the great Billy Wright on 90 appearances as captain.
Moore broke another record that year by making his 509th outing for West Ham. In doing so, he became the East Londoners’ leading appearance maker, overtaking Billy Bonds. However, his West Ham career was ended by injury against Hereford United in the FA Cup the following January and he was allowed to join Second Division Fulham for £25,000. In doing so, a 15-year association with West Ham as man and boy came to an end.
Moore, though, transcended both the shirts he wore with such distinction during a remarkable playing career. He was among the first British footballers to earn ‘celebrity’ status and while the unassuming defender would have been ill at ease with that tag, it speaks for his remarkable legacy, something which remains as pertinent as ever today – 27 years after his untimely passing.
We’re proud to announce WD-40 UK is supporting this year’s #footballshirtfriday in association with the @BobbyMooreFund
This year’s Football Shirt Friday is on November 20
We’re going to be building up to that date over the next four weeks.
But why are we supporting the @BobbyMooreFund?
@England legend Bobby Moore was just 51 years old when he died 1993.
Bobby’s widow, Stephanie Moore MBE, set up the Bobby Moore Fund with @CR_UK to help fund pioneering bowel cancer research.
Since its launch, the @BobbyMooreFund has raised more than £27m while mortality rates have fallen by 30%.
But bowel cancer remains the second-most common form of cancer in the UK.
We can still do more – that’s why we’re lending our support to #footballshirtfriday
Over the next four weeks you can expect to hear plenty more about the @BobbyMooreFund and our involvement in #footballshirtfriday so make sure you’re following to help support a vital cause.
Get involved today : https://bit.ly/FootballShirtFridayNOV20-2020