Bobby Moore

Home » History Greatest People » Bobby Moore

Robert Frederick Chelsea “Bobby” Moore OBE (12 April 1941 – 24 February 1993) was an English professional footballer. The year 1970 was a bittersweet, mixed and eventful one for Moore.

He was again named as captain for the 1970 World Cup but there was heavy disruption to preparations when an attempt was made to implicate Moore in the theft of a bracelet from a jeweller in Bogotá, Colombia, where England were involved in a warm-up game.

A young assistant had claimed that Moore had removed the bracelet from the hotel shop without paying for it. While there was no doubt that Moore had been in the shop (having entered with Bobby Charlton to look for a gift for Charlton’s wife, Norma), no proof was offered to support the accusations.

Moore was arrested and then released; he then travelled with the England team to play another match against Ecuador in Quito. He played, winning his 80th cap and England were 2–0 victors, but when the team plane stopped back in Colombia on the return to Mexico, Moore was detained and placed under four days of house arrest.

Although Moore was seen as an icon and a perfect influence on the game, he was not without his faults or controversies. On 7 January 1971, he and three West Ham team-mates, Jimmy Greaves, Brian Dear and Clyde Best, were all fined by West Ham manager Greenwood after going out drinking in a nightclub until the early hours of the morning prior to an FA Cup third round tie against Blackpool.

The nightclub in Blackpool was owned by Moore’s friend, boxer Brian London. West Ham lost the tie 4–0. They were all fined a week’s wages. Blackpool were the bottom of Division one at the time, and narrowly missed relegation at the end of the season.

Coincidentally, Moore was featured on TV as the subject on This Is Your Life the night before. Brian Glanville stated that it was not uncommon for Moore to drink heavily, but he was often seen training with West Ham the next day, working off the alcohol he had consumed the night before.

He became manager of Southend United in 1984. In his first full season, 1984–85, Southend narrowly avoided having to apply for re-election to the Football League amid severe financial difficulties.

However, the side was gradually rebuilt and in the 1985–86 season Southend started well and were in the promotion race until the new year before eventually finishing 9th. His successor, David Webb built upon those foundations to win promotion the following year.

The grown-up Moore was a man of two halves. There was the great footballer, the quiet man, the leader by example, the closest English football has come – with the possible exception of his international team-mate Bobby Charlton – to the Chaucerian ideal of the verray parfit gentil knight.

But there was also the inveterate boozer who regularly tested the patience of straitlaced managers such as Ron Greenwood and Sir Alf Ramsey.

Moore’s performances declined earlier than they should have done (he was only 32 when his mistakes against Poland cost England the chance of qualifying for the 1974 World Cup), but he retained his dignity on the pitch during his three seasons with Fulham in the old second division, and few witnessed the embarrassment of his nine games with a small Danish club, the coda to his playing career.