On the 20th anniversary of his death, we remember England legend Bobby Moore
By Jamie Bradbury
Whether it's Brazilian star Pele, or the fan in the stands, most onlookers who were lucky enough to see Bobby Moore
wearing the Three Lions would agree – he was one of England’s greatest players.
But 20 years ago today, aged just 51, Bobby was taken from us.
His legend lives on in the memory of all who cherished him. None more so than his widow, Stephanie Moore MBE.
Shortly after his death, Stephanie established the Bobby Moore Fund, in partnership with Cancer Research UK
and has been campaigning to raise awareness and vital funds in the fight against the disease that took him - bowel cancer.
During that time, she has been touched by the many tributes she’s heard about her husband. A hero to both England and West Ham United fans alike.
Strong in the air, clinical in the tackle, his distribution was impeccable. He was no sprinter but his ability to read the game meant that he was rarely caught out for pace.
In 108 appearances, Bobby would equal Billy Wright’s record of leading his country 90 times. And as Stephanie reveals, playing for his country was all he ever dreamed of.
“It was Bobby’s ultimate goal to play for England,” she says. “I remember him saying to me one day when we went to the old Wembley, 'You have no idea what it feels like to walk onto that pitch, it's like levitating'.
"It meant everything to him to represent his country at Wembley. Football was his first passion, above everything.”
So many iconic images illustrate the glittering career of our nation’s only World Cup-winning captain.
From being held aloft by his team-mates as he proudly lifts the Jules Rimet trophy, to his statue that guards Wembley Stadium today, much like the player protected his England team.
There was one game, however, that Bobby said was his best, and the great Pele agreed: “Of the hundreds of defenders who played against me during my career I pick Bobby Moore as the greatest of them all,” said the three-time World Cup winner.
Stephanie adds: “Winning the World Cup was obviously the pinnacle of his career, but after that it was the 1970 World Cup when he played against Pele. He regarded that as his best game ever, and I think the respect that Pele showed him emphasises that.
“The photo of Bobby and Pele together after the match sums up what football should be about, fair play and genuine respect for your opponent, which he always had.”
Bobby’s respect for others clearly stretched beyond the football pitch, which was why he was so beloved by the fans.
“He never forgot his roots and never tried to be anything else,” continues Stephanie. “He didn't have any airs and graces. You could go up to him if he was in a pub having a drink and chat with him, he was very approachable, always.”
So, in the 20 years following his passing, support for the Bobby Moore Fund has been overwhelming, and it’s down to the rapport that Bobby had with his adoring followers. And one tribute, in particular, touched Stephanie’s heart.
“The charity used to organise a series of runs. All men, boys, grandfathers, would run 5k in the Bobby Moore Fund no. 6 England shirt,” she explains. “I was there to see them off and try to shake everybody's hand as they crossed the line.
“Probably 99 percent of them didn't know who I was and were just pleased to finish. But this particular middle-aged man I saw start off near the back and he was carrying a plastic bag with him.
“When he finished he came in just about last, still carrying this bag. I went over to thank him and asked 'why are you running for the Bobby Moore Fund today?’ He walked straight past me, but as he went by he just said 'well, it's for Bobby, innit!'.
“I asked him what was in the bag, and he said, 'oh that, that's my insulin'. And I thought, this is remarkable, this man who probably shouldn't even be running, had come out to run for Bobby.
Stephanie adds: “Bobby would be baffled by the adoration, but very grateful. He was a very modest and humble man. I remember towards the end, when he was out and about, people would just come up to him and pat him on the back or shake his hand and then walk on.
"People were very respectful and it shows how much they thought of him.”
The Bobby Moore Fund
In 1993 when Bobby Moore OBE died prematurely from bowel cancer at the age of 51, the nation grieved for a football legend and a true gentleman. Stephanie Moore MBE established the Bobby Moore Fund, in partnership with Cancer Research UK in 1993. Since its launch The Fund has raised over £18.8m for ground-breaking bowel cancer research projects and awareness.
20th Anniversary – Make Bobby Proud
2013 is the 20th anniversary of the Bobby Moore Fund so to mark the occasion the Bobby Moore Fund are launching a new campaign for Bowel Cancer Awareness month in April 2013 to ‘Make Bobby Proud’.
There are plenty of ways to get involved to help Make Bobby Proud in 2013. The Bobby Moore Fund benefited from a direct association with The FA England Awards at St. George’s Park
earlier this month while The FA donated £25,000 to the Bobby Moore Fund
, which was then matched by the England players through the England Footballers Foundation.
You can make a donation to the Bobby Moore Fund quickly and easily. Just text Hero065 to 70070 to donate £5 to the Bobby Moore Fund.
100% of donations will go to Cancer Research UK’s Bobby Moore Fund. UK residents 16+ only. See Terms & Conditions at www.bobbymoorefund.org Reg charity nos: England (1089464); Scotland (SC041666); IoM (1103)