Monday, 10 May 2010

Bobby Moore - once met, never forgotten

Inevitably as the World Cup in South Africa approaches, some UK soccer commentators have been writing wistfully about England’s 1966 victory in the competition.
The most we can hope for from the current crop is that Wayne Rooney can remain injury-free and the country reaches the latter stages of the contest. Few believe that whoever is captain – probably John Terry – it will be able to repeat the triumph of the team led by Bobby Moore.
I watched the England v. Germany final in a summerhouse in Minehead, Somerset among student friends. But his lifting the Jules Rimet trophy aloft isn’t the Bobby Moore recollection I want to tell you about.
Fast forward perhaps 20 years or so – I wish I could be more precise – and I’m seated at a big black tie event representing the City office of my newspaper. Bobby Moore was the host at my particular table. By this time football was long behind him but I was thrilled to be in his company even though his role had been relegated to that of a celebrity ‘greeter’.
In my time I have been in the presence of many business and political leaders – both those who have achieved prominence in the UK and on the world stage. But I have never met anyone who seemed to personify charisma as much as Booby Moore.
He was one seat away from me. Between us was my wife. Being American, she had no idea who Bobby was. Certainly not – at the time and perhaps even now – the reverence in which he was held by sports’ fans.
I’m not a soccer buff and so my conversation with him was brief. What I do remember though was the modesty, charm, and politeness with which he addressed the table and my wife in particular.
Not once did he make any reference to his soccer achievements although she had mistaken him for an executive of a recruitment company.
Bobby’s statue at the rebuilt Wembley Stadium is a fitting homage to the man but a living tribute is The Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK
The fund raises money for research into bowel cancer - a disease which cruelly took Bobby at the age of just 51 in 1993.

4 comments:

  1. A touching and engagging personal insight into the caharacter of a man who was clearly a legend of our generation. Bobby was a gentleman and embodied the spirit of that cup winning team. Unfortunately, I cant't say the same about many, if any, of our current crop.

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  2. Thanks. Bobby was everything you say. GC

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  3. Read "the last days of Bobby Moore", by James Corbett, Sunday 07 August 2005, in the 'Observer Sport Monthly'.

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What do you think? GC