Remembering Bobby

Sunday 24 February 2013 09:00

The date of 24th February 2013 marks exactly 20 years since former Fulham, West Ham United and England legend Bobby Moore died at the age of 51 from bowel cancer.

A host of Moore’s old teammates were in attendance at Fulham’s home game with the Hammers last month, as well as his daughter Roberta.

And they spoke to the official website to pay tribute to the man.

Les Strong said: “For me, he was the best. I was 21 when he joined Fulham, and the relative success I had was all down to Bobby.

“Just to see him at the Club was fantastic. Technically as a full-back you shouldn’t be too far in front of a centre-half, but with Bob I’d be on the halfway line and he’d find me with one ball. People thought I was an attacking full-back but it was all down to him. When he left I don’t think I went past the halfway line.

“He was well known to be immaculate. Everything in his wardrobe was pristine. I used to get his shirts and tie them in knots. It drove him mad. Myself and John Mitchell would sit behind him on the coach and put bits of paper in his hair. When he got off the coach, you had a World Cup winner waving at everyone not knowing he had pile of paper on his head. Childish I know.

“He was too young when he died but it was an honour and a pleasure to know him.”

Alan Mullery stated: “How long have you got? I played against him when he was a schoolboy, I played against him for Fulham youth against West Ham youth, I played against him in the (old) First Division and I played with him for England and Fulham. He was two years older than me but the path of our careers was quite similar.

“Playing with him for England was an absolute joy, as was the two years I had with him here at Fulham. He was a gentleman on and off the pitch. You couldn’t meet a nicer man.

“I signed him for Fulham! I went over to West Ham and said ‘why don’t you come over here for the last two or three years of your career? We’ve got some good players and they’ll love you.’ He came and George Best and Rodney Marsh also arrived so for a short time we had the three geniuses on the pitch.

“In Bob’s first game, we played Middlesbrough and were losing 4-0 after 20 minutes. He picked the ball out of the net and put his arm around me and said ‘does the goalkeeper ever use his hands?’

“You’ve got to put him up there with the greats – the Franz Beckenbauers, the Pelés, the Bests. He was a genius but you wouldn’t always know it. He was slow, he didn’t head the ball particularly well, but his reading of the game was three seconds quicker than anyone else. That’s how he always got himself out of trouble as he’d see situations develop before they happened.

“The finest example was the World Cup Final in 1966. With a minute to go, Bobby had the ball and Jack Charlton told him to put it in Row Z. But he ignored him and clipped it forward for Geoff Hurst to score the fourth goal. He didn’t want to waste a ball - every pass had to be perfect. He was a classy player and a classy man.”

Roberta Moore added: “He spoke very fondly and very warmly of his time here at Fulham. It was a really lovely Club for him to come to after West Ham. All the guys here had a lot of fun. They gelled well together and of course they got to the FA Cup Final against West Ham. I remember going to that game and it was a really happy time.

“I remember vividly coming to Craven Cottage and being here again brings back a lot of memories.

“I can and I can’t believe it’s been 20 years. I’ve got married and had kids and Dad never met my children. That’s when it feels like such a long time. But at the same time, I still remember him so clearly. I feel like he’s around a lot.

“He was a great Dad. He was very supportive, very fair and had a great sense of humour. He was just my Dad. I was a real Daddy’s girl and he was wonderful.

“We often had famous faces round ours. Our favourite was Rodney Marsh. He used to hide £1 notes around the house and we’d try and find them. He’d hide lots of them so we liked it when he came round!”