Ex West Ham man Tony Cottee says Bobby Moore was as classy off the pitch as he was on it
Tony Cottee reveals that Bobby Moore was every bit as likeable as a man as he was a legend on the pitch.
The former West Ham United striker grew up in the East End watching and idolising the former England captain, who sadly died 20 years ago this Sunday.
But despite starting his career at Upton Park and proving to be a real hot-shot in front of goal, it was only when he moved to Everton in 1988 that he first met Moore in unusual circumstances.
The goals hadn’t followed Cottee to Goodison Park initially and questions were being asked of the £2.2m record fee which Everton had spent on the forward.
And Cottee believes that it was some surprise words of encouragement that he received from his hero which helped him through a confidence crisis at Goodison Park after a home defeat to Spurs.
He revealed: “He was a classy man off the pitch as well as on it.
"I'd had a drink in the players' lounge and was walking to the car park with my mum and dad when I heard someone shout 'Tony!'
"It came from the press box. I couldn't see who it was, but as soon as the guy took his headphones off and walked over to me I realised it was Bobby Moore. He'd been commentating on the game.
"I was nervous. I was thinking: 'Oh my god, it's Bobby Moore, what's he called me over for?'
“I had never spoken to him before.
"He shook my hand and just said to me: 'Tony, I just wanted to check that you are okay?'
"He told me he knew it had been a tough time for me at Everton and how difficult it must have been for a London lad to go and live up north.
“But he told me everything would work out okay and that my form would turn around.
"He told me to believe in myself and that the goals would come again, and they did.
"I will always feel grateful for what he did for me that day. It will stay with me forever.
"It gave me a massive lift. I floated across the pitch to get to my car that night. I couldn't believe it.”
Cottee went on to become a success with the Toffees in the early years of the Premier League and won seven caps for England, before returning to West Ham in 1994.
Now working as a broadcaster, Cottee has ensured that his family’s respect for Moore still goes on.
He explained: "I've brainwashed my twin boys into becoming fans of the club.
“And if you ask them to name the most famous West Ham player ever, they would say Bobby Moore, I guarantee it.”
The FA will pay their own tribute to Moore on the 20th anniversary of his death this Sunday by placing a wreath at his statue at Wembley Stadium.