Sir Trevor Brooking writes about former England captain and West Ham team-mate Bobby Moore
Sunday saw the 20th anniversary of the death of former England captain Bobby Moore and The FA's Director Of Football Development Sir Trevor Brooking writes for the London Evening Standard about his former West Ham team-mate.
Sir Trevor will also be joined by FA Chairman David Bernstein and England Manager Roy Hodgson at Monday's game between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur at Upton Park, where further tributes to Moore are planned.
I think it’s pretty amazing that it’s been 20 years since Bobby’s death, so it was great for Tina and Roberta to come to Wembley and lay the wreath there beneath his statue.
I can remember the day he died now, he was only 51, which is such a young age and out of all the 1966 World Cup squad members, he was the first one to go for quite a long time.
Even now when we’re looking back from The FA and England’s point of view, with the 150th anniversary taking place this year, the name of that squad and the captain Bobby Moore get even more profile because we haven’t won anything since.
When we did win the World Cup in ‘66, I was still a teenager and you just assumed at the time that it would be the first of a few more titles in the years to come.
Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened and had Bobby been alive now, I’m sure we would all have been asking him the question about why we haven’t won anything since he lifted that trophy at Wembley.
Of course I’m biased with the West Ham connection, but Bob was a great footballer and a great man too.
It was a very exciting time for me when I first joined the club in ’65. I was going to join them the year before, but I stayed on at school for an extra year and West Ham won The FA Cup in 1964 and then went into the Cup Winners’ Cup the following season and won that at the old Wembley in ’65 against the German side 1860 Munich.
Then, a year later, West Ham fans will say we won the World Cup! That was because we had three players who were so important in the Final with captain Bobby, Geoff Hurst who got the hat-trick and Martin Peters, who scored the other goal in that 4-2 victory over West Germany.
So for me, as a young player at West Ham after what happened in ’64, ’65 and ’66, it was such an exciting time to be associated with the East End club.
And to actually have players like Bob, who was my captain when I made my debut in ’67, was just unbelievable.
They were all high profile people after that and Bobby went on to win 108 caps for England with 90 of them as captain, which was pretty special.
Naturally, it left a big impression on me as I’m sure it did on all the people who had the opportunity to meet him.
Not only was he a good player, but he was quite humble and was always around to sign autographs and chat to people. He was comfortable with the profile that being a footballer carried in those days.
Of course, nowadays, there is almost a celebrity status for the top players with all of the money involved at that level of the game but Bobby always kept his feet very much on the ground and was a great role model to follow.
He came through in the era of the 1960s and ‘70s when Liverpool were the strongest club team who played in England.
But with manager Ron Greenwood and then John Lyall in charge, West Ham had a massive reputation for playing an almost European style of football, passing out from the back and playing the ball through the midfield.
It was very much like the way the game is played these days which Ron was very keen on and Bobby Moore was one of those players who fitted into it perfectly.
He was a central defender who was a ball player and he’d bring it out of defence and use the ball well. He wasn’t like many defenders of that time who would just defend, be strong in the air and then kick it away. He actually defended well and then used the ball and his reading of the game was great.
So I think that was certainly one of the key factors which we remember and it was something as a young player that I tried to learn from Bob by practising a lot with him in the afternoons after training.
That was a good lesson for all of us who were at the club, as he’d get a couple of the young players to go out with him and he’d practise knocking the ball out into the other half and the forward players.
That was why he was so good at being able to just clip the ball into feet and he improved his accuracy with those long passes with the practise that he put in.
That was one of the things that we all remember, as well as being so successful, he worked very hard to get to that level.
He’s one of English football’s finest and it’s appropriate that we continue to honour his contribution to the game on today of all days.