Full Name: Robert Frederick Chelsea Moore
Date of Birth: 12/04/1941
Bobby Moore led his country to its greatest footballing victory as captain of England’s winning team in the 1966 World Cup. Moore’s skill as a defender was matched by his generous and intelligent leadership, and by his mere personality, which earned him the nickname of ‘the first gentleman of English football’. As a winner of the European Cup, the FA Cup, and of course the World Cup, not to mention being captain of England for a record 90 matches, Moore’s CV speaks for itself. He was famous for his grace and class, and for the apparently effortless tackles and passes that he seemed to perform in slow-motion. Moore was not a particularly fast nor a showy footballer – his composure and thoughtful approach to the defensive role marked him out as a highly gifted player and the natural leader that England needed.
Robert Frederick Chelsea Moore was born in Barnet in April 1941. He was recruited to West Ham’s junior team in 1956, making his debut for the senior team as a replacement for Malcolm Allison against Manchester United in September 1958. Moore never looked back – he was not taken back off the squad and stayed with West Ham for the greater part of his career.
In 1960, at the young age of 19, he was called up to the England under-23’s, and earned his debut cap in 1962 in Peru. Already in 1963 he was made captain of the squad, quickly earning the trust of his coach and manager. At first Moore was just filling in for more senior players, but the position was made permanent in 1964. That year Moore was treated for testicular cancer, but he did not let that stop him winning the FA Cup with West Ham. He was also named Football Writer’s Association Football player of the Year.
In 1966, the year of his famous victory, Moore was on the verge of arranging a transfer to Tottenham Hotspur when England manager Alf Ramsay intervened prior to the World Cup and urged a reconciliation with West Ham, which was swiftly effected.
England moved with little difficulty through the rounds in the World Cup, but the final itself was one of the most intense matches in the history of the game. England initially went 1-0 down to West Germany, before Geoff Hurst equalized, and Peters put them 2-1 up. Worryingly, however, Wolfgang Weber equalized just before full-time. The match went into extra time, and Hurst put England 3-2 up, but the goal was hotly contested, and it was not until the final minute when Hurst scored a third goal that England’s win was cemented. Many of the most famous images of that day centre around Moore as captain of his team.
After the World Cup, Moore continued to play for West Ham and England, as well as promoting the British pub industry and opening his own sports shop. In the second half of the decade, he received national recognition. In 1966 Moore was the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, and in 1967 he was awarded an OBE, and a punk band even recorded a song about him entitled ‘Viva Bobby Moore’.
Moore was again named captain of England again for the 1970 World Cup. A rare controversial episode followed when he was arrested for the theft of a bracelet from the shop of the hotel that the squad was staying in in Columbia for a warm-up match. Although Moore was questioned on more than one occasion, and detained in Columbia when the rest of his team-mates travelled home, the charges were eventually dropped. The tournament was not a wild success for England, but it went down for one piece of genius from Moore when, during their match with Brazil, he performed a spectacular tackle on the advancing Jairzinho – still considered perhaps the finest (if not, the most iconic) tackle in history.
The later years of Moore’s English career passed with relative quiet. In 1970, he and two of his West Ham team-mates were fined for going out drinking heavily the night before a third-round FA Cup tie. Nonetheless, he continued to play well for them. Moore made his final appearance for England in 1973, when they failed to qualify for the World Cup. On his retirement, he was the most capped player in the history of the England football team.
Moore married his first wife, Christina Dean, in 1962. They divorced in 1986, and in 1991 he remarried Stephanie Parlane-Moore in 1991. He has two children: a son, Dean, and a daughter, Roberta, both from his first marriage.
Retirement and death
Moore’s retirement was far from peaceful. As well as the personal drama of his divorce, his professional life was uneven. He spent some time working as a football manager at home and abroad, but none of the positions worked out in the long-term, and Moore accepted work as a football pundit and columnist on a radio station and tabloid newspaper respectively.
In 1991 Moore underwent an emergency operation for suspected bowel cancer. Less than two years later, in February 1993, he died of bowel cancer. Since his death a number of fundraising events for cancer and bowel cancer charities have been set up in his name. A bronze statue of Moore stands outside the new Wembley Stadium, in honour of his contribution to international football.
- 1958 -1974: West Ham United
- 1974 – 1977: Fulham
- 1976: San Antonio Thunder
- 1978: Seattle Sounders
- 1962 – 1973: England
International Caps: 108
International Goals Scored: 2
- Footballer of the Year – 1964
- World Cup Player of Players – 1966
- West Ham Player of the Year – 1961, 1963, 1968, 1970
- BBC Sports Personality of the Year – 1966
- Awarded the OBE – 1967
- Inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame – 2002
‘He was my friend as well as the greatest defender I ever played against. The world has lost one of its greatest football players and an honourable gentleman.’- Pelé
‘Without him England would never have won the World Cup’ – Alf Ramsay
‘If you want a role model in public life, Bobby Moore is a pretty good one to take. He was a perfect gentleman’ – Tony Blair
‘If you never concede a goal, you’re going to win more games than you lose’
‘At least it was victory and at least we won’
|1958–1974||West Ham United||544 (24)|
|1976||San Antonio Thunder||24 (1)|
|1978||Seattle Sounders||7 (0)|