Robert Frederick Chelsea “Bobby” Moore OBE (12 April 1941 – 24 February 1993) was an English professional footballer. He captained West Ham United for more than ten years and was captain of the England team that won the 1966 World Cup. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest defenders of all time, and was cited by Pelé as the greatest defender that he had ever played against.Moore is a member of the World Team of the 20th Century.
He won a total of 108 caps for the England team, which at the time of his international retirement in 1973 was a national record. This record was later broken by 125-cap goalkeeper Peter Shilton. Moore’s total of 108 caps continued as a record for outfield players until 28 March 2009, when David Beckham gained his 109th cap.Moore was made an inaugural inductee of the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002 in recognition of his impact on the English game as a player. The same year he was named in the BBC’s list of the 100 Greatest Britons.
Moore was born in Barking, Essex. He attended Westbury Primary School and Tom Hood School, Leytonstone, playing football for both schools.
In 1956, Moore joined West Ham United as a player and, after advancing through their youth set-up, he played his first game on 8 September 1958 against Manchester United.In putting on the number six shirt, he replaced his mentor Malcolm Allison, who was suffering from tuberculosis.
Allison never played another first team game for West Ham nor indeed any other First Division game as Moore became a regular. A composed central defender, Moore was admired for his reading of the game and ability to anticipate opposition movements, thereby distancing himself from the image of the hard-tackling, high-jumping defender. Indeed, Moore’s ability to head the ball or keep up with the pace was average at best, but the way he read the game, marshalled his team and timed his tackles marked him out as world class.
Bobby Moore also played county cricket for the Essex youth team alongside fellow West Ham player Geoff Hurst.
An England star, a European winner
Moore (left) vs. Josef Masopust at the 1963 England v Rest of the World football match.
In 1960, Moore earned a call up to the England Under-23 squad. His form and impact on West Ham as a whole earned him a late call-up to the full England squad by Walter Winterbottom and The Football Association selection committee in 1962, when final preparations were being made for the summer’s World Cup finals in Chile. Moore was uncapped as he flew to South America with the rest of the squad, but made his début on 20 May 1962 in England’s final pre-tournament friendly – a 4–0 win over Peru in Lima. Also débuting that day was Tottenham Hotspur defender Maurice Norman. Both proved so impressive that they stayed in the team for the whole of England’s participation in the World Cup, which ended in defeat by eventual winners Brazil in the quarter finals at Viña del Mar.
On 29 May 1963, 22-year-old Moore captained his country for the first time in just his 12th appearance after the retirement of Johnny Haynes and an injury to his successor, Jimmy Armfield. He was the youngest man ever to captain England at the highest level. England defeated Czechoslovakia 4–2 in the game and Armfield returned to the role of captain afterwards, but new coach Alf Ramsey gave Moore the job permanently during a series of summer friendlies in 1964, organised because England had failed to reach the latter stages of the European Championships.
1964 turned out to be quite an eventful year for Moore. As well as gaining the England captaincy, he lifted the FA Cup as West Ham defeated Preston North End 3–2 in the final at Wembley, courtesy of a last-minute goal from Ronnie Boyce. On a personal level, Moore also was successfully treated for testicular cancer and was named the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year.
The FA Cup success would become the first of three successful Wembley finals in as many years for Moore. In 1965, he lifted the European Cup Winners Cup after West Ham defeated 1860 Munich 2–0 in the final with both goals coming from Alan Sealey. By now he was the first choice captain for England with 30 caps, and around whom Ramsey was building a team to prove correct his prediction that they would win the 1966 World Cup.
1966 had a mixed start for Moore. In January he scored his first England goal in a 1–1 draw with Poland at Goodison Park,but two months later captained West Ham to the final of the League Cup – in its last season before its transfer to Wembley as a one-off final – which they lost 5–3 on aggregate to West Bromwich Albion. For Moore, who had scored in the first leg, and his West Ham team-mates Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters, considerable consolation lay ahead. Moore scored his second and ultimately final England goal in a friendly against Norway, two weeks before the World Cup would begin.
The World Cup
The World Cup Sculpture featuring Moore with the World Cup trophy, on the shoulders of Geoff Hurst and Ray Wilson, together with Martin Peters
On the verge of his greatest triumph, details were released to the press in early 1966 that Moore wanted to leave West Ham. Moore had let his contract slip to termination, and only after the intervention of Sir Alf Ramsey and realisation he was technically ineligible to play, did he re-sign with West Ham to allow him to captain the England team of 1966. Ramsey had summoned West Ham manager Ron Greenwood to England’s hotel and told the two of them to resolve their differences and get a contract signed up.
Moore was the leader of the World Cup winning side and established himself as a world-class player and sporting icon. With all their games at Wembley, England had got through their group with little trouble, they then beat Argentina in their quarter final and a Eusébio-led Portugal team in the semi-finals. West Germany awaited in the final.
According to Geoff Hurst’s autobiography, England full back George Cohen overheard Ramsey talking to his coaching staff about the possibility of dropping Moore for the final and deploying the more battle-hardened Norman Hunter in his place. However, eventually they settled on keeping the captain in the team. Moore had not been playing badly, nor had he given the impression that he had been distracted by his contract dispute prior to the competition. The only possible explanations were that the Germans had some rather fast attacking players, which could expose Moore’s own lack of pace, and that Hunter – who was of a similar age to Moore but only had four caps – was the club partner of Moore’s co-defender with England, Jack Charlton.
The Queen presents the 1966 World Cup to England Captain, Bobby Moore
In the final, England went 0–1 down through Helmut Haller, but Moore’s awareness and quick-thinking helped England to a swift equaliser. He was fouled by Wolfgang Overath midway inside the German half and, rather than remonstrate or head back into defence, he picked himself up quickly while looking ahead and delivered an instant free kick on to Hurst’s head, in a movement practised at West Ham. Hurst scored.
The West Ham connection to England’s biggest day became stronger when Peters scored to take England 2–1 up, but the Germans equalised in the final minute of normal time through Wolfgang Weber – as Moore appealed unsuccessfully for a handball decision – to take the match into extra time.
Ramsey was convinced the Germans were exhausted, and after Hurst scored a controversial and heavily debated goal, the game looked over. With seconds remaining, and England under the pressure of another German attack, the ball broke to Moore on the edge of his own penalty area. Team-mates shouted at Moore to just get rid of the ball, but he calmly picked out the feet of Hurst 40 yards (40 m) upfield, who scored to bring the score to 4–2.
Of many memorable images from that day, one is of Moore wiping his hands clean of mud and sweat on the velvet tablecloth before shaking the hand of Queen Elizabeth II as she presented him with the Jules Rimet trophy (World Cup).