Never has a footballer been so synonymous with a football club like Bobby Moore is with West Ham United. Some can come close but will never reach the connection that Moore had and still has with the East London side. The word legend is bounded about far too easily today in the sport, but the word does not come close to what he did for both club and country.
Moore was a defender known for his mental ability. He did not have much pace but it was not necessary because he read the game so well. He was always two or three phases in front of the rest. He was a traditional defender, hard as nails just like the Upton Park folk wanted it. But he was not only a rock solid centre half; he also had great skill on the ball with a keen eye for a killer pass.
He was instrumental to West Ham in the sixties, guiding the Hammers to victory in the finals of both the 1964 FA Cup and 1965 European Cup Winners Cup. Despite a contract issue with the club, where he nearly left for rivals Tottenham Hotspur, Moore was the pinnacle of the Hammers’ successes under manager Ron Greenwood, and it was noticed as he won four Hammer of the Year awards (1961, 1963, 1968, 1970) during his time at Upton Park as well as Footballer of the Year in 1964.
He did leave the Hammers for Fulham in the 1970’s, and lost 2-0 to his former club in the 1975 FA Cup Final. He also spent several years in the US playing for four teams, including current MLS side Seattle Sounders. However, he is and will always be West Ham’s poster boy and his legacy will live on, with the Hammers retiring his number 6 shirt in 2008.
The man was not only known for his brilliance at club level, but also at international level. He was a respected and feared footballer. During his footballing career, he did what no other has ever done: captained England to World Cup glory in 1966.
Again like for his club, Moore was a vital figure for England, playing 108 times for his country. Aside from lifting the Jules Rimet trophy, his most famous England moment is the famous tackle on Jairzinho during the 1970 World Cup match between England and Brazil. It is a moment in history which will never be forgotten, as the perfectly timed challenge showed the true art of defending, something which most modern day players have started to take for granted.
He was not just a famed figure in England, but around the world. He was an international superstar of his time, alongside Pelé, Beckenbauer and Eusebio. Pelé even called Moore the greatest defender that he had ever played against. Moore was a member of the World Team of the 20th Century.
Sadly, Moore died on the 24th February 1993 at age 51. Touching tributes outside Upton Park came from all over the world. It showed how much Moore impacted the world with his talent. If a young player wants to be a no nonsense defender in the future, then watch Moore, there was no one better than him.