Yes, he was a great footballer, but more than that, Bobby Moore was a great man. Half a century on from England's historic 1966 World Cup win, here's Bobby Moore's life in goals. 

A fresh-faced football star

young
Image via West Ham

An incredibly young looking 17-year-old Bobby Moore poses with his West Ham team-mates Andy Smillie (left) and Tony Scott (right). The photo was captured before the start of the 1958-1959 season. 

Bobby Moore's debut match for the side was a home game against Manchester United in September 1958. West Ham won 3-2. Moore had been playing football since his primary school days and had played for West Ham's youth team since 1956. 

Astoundingly, Moore had initially been worried that his footballer dreams would never come true. In fact, he told reporters that, "all my mates had gone off for trials with clubs around London but nobody seemed to want me. I thought I'd missed out… then West Ham called me up for a trial."

A composed central defender, Moore quickly became respected for his ability to predict the movements of the opposition and read the game. 

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Three lions on the shirt

bobby moore
Image via FIFA

Bobby Moore in action for England defending against Brazil in 1962. Moore was first called up to the England under 23s squad in 1960. Two years later he was playing for the full England squad in the world cup, hosted by Chile. 

Brazil won this game 3-1. One of Brazil's stand-out stars, Pelé (who is widely regarded as the best player of all time), would later refer to Moore as a friend, an honourable gentleman and the greatest defender he had played against. 

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Getting used to winning

bobby moore cup
Image via West Ham

Holding the FA cup aloft after West Ham's 3-2 win against Preston North End in 1964. Moore was the team captain and had been since they played Cardiff City in 1962. 

Looking back on that cup years later, teammate Eddie Bovington recalled that, "he was a one-off, a great fella. Unassuming, just a likeable man. Great company socially and a great player to play with. A privilege to play with."

 

Making history

jules rimet trophy
Image via Pinterest

Collecting the Jules Rimet trophy from HRH Queen Elizabeth II after winning 1966's FIFA World Cup. 

The trophy had actually been stolen shortly before England won the competition. It was snatched from Westminster Central Hall where it was on display as part of a temporary exhibition.

Anonymous callers contacted the Chairman of the Football Association, Joe Mears, demanding £15,000 in £1 and £5 notes, threatening to melt the trophy down if he did not comply.

 

 

After a meticulous operation, which involved meeting with the criminals and presenting them with suitcases filled with counterfeit cash, Edward Betchley, a petty thief and used car dealer, was arrested and charged with the crime. The rest of the gang has never been discovered. 

Bobby Moore became a sporting icon when he led the England team to victory in the 1966 World Cup. Before this image was taken, Moore wiped the mud and sweat off of his hands and onto the velvet tablecloth before shaking hands with the Queen

A year before the historic win, West Ham's manager Ron Greenwood told reporters that, "England will win and [Bobby Moore] is the reason why. He can already see in his mind's eye a picture of himself holding up the World Cup, and he's calculated down to the last detail just what that will mean to him and his career."

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A pair of legends

pele and bobby

Just a week before England was due to defend their title in the 1970 World Cup, Moore was arrested for stealing a diamond bracelet from a hotel the team were staying in. 

The arrest caused such widespread shock that the Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, had to stage an intervention. Moore was conditionally released from the house arrest under which he was being held. He denied having committed the theft throughout his case, which was eventually dismissed due to a lack of evidence, but by then it had caused the player considerable distress. 

The above photo is from that year; the end of England's unsuccessful match against Brazil. Bobby Moore and his good friend Pelé swap shirts as a symbol of respect and unity.

Reflecting on the iconic image later, Pelé mused that, "it was very important for football. We demonstrated that it's a sport. Win or lose, the example, the friendship, you must pass these on to other players to the next generation."

After Bobby Moore's death, Pelé said that, "the shirt he wore against me in that 1970 match is my prize possession. The world has lost one of its greatest football players."

 

A final captaincy 

final cap
Image via Tumblr

His 108th and final cap for England was in November 1973 against Italy. He became England's most capped player, a record only beaten by Peter Shilton, David Beckham and Steven Gerrard.

Moore played his final game for West Ham just a year later and subsequently joined the ranks of their rival team, Fulham. During his first season, they defeated West Ham in a League Cup tie. 

They then reached the FA Cup final and faced West Ham once more. This time, Fulham lost 2-0, marking Moore's final appearance at Wembley as a professional footballer. 

 

Finding a place with Fulham 

in fulhma kir

Bobby Moore retired from the sport three years after this photo was taken—20 years after his first appearance with West Ham. 

In February 1993 Moore publicly announced that he was suffering from both bowel and liver cancer. Three days later he commentated on an England match at Wembley alongside Jonathan Pearce. This was to be his final public appearance. Just a week later he passed away at the age of 51.

Tributes poured in from far and wide for a footballer who had grown to iconic status and was held in high esteem among pundits and professionals alike. West Ham marked his death by placing his football shirt, emblazoned with the number 6, on the centre spot before their first game since his passing. 

In August 2008, Moore's beloved West Ham United officially retired the number 6 shirt as a mark of respect. 

His memorial service was held in Westminster Abbey and was attended by every other member of the 1966 England squad. He was only the second sportsman to be honoured in such a manner, after the West Indian cricketer Sir Frank Worrell.

The statue post-humously erected outside Wembley Stadium in Bobby Moore's honour bears a plaque that reads:

"Immaculate footballer. Imperial defender. Immortal hero of 1966. First Englishman to raise the World Cup aloft. Favourite son of London's East End. Finest legend of West Ham United. National Treasure. Master of Wembley. Lord of the game. Captain extraordinary. Gentleman of all time."

 

A national treasure

Bobby, a documentary film which was created to mark the 50th anniversary of England's World Cup victory, pays homage to the man adored by a nation. 

Bobby is available from our online shop

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