Bobby Moore holding the World Cup aloft at Wembley on 30th July 1966 is one of the enduring images in football. Born and brought up in London’s East End, Moore’s promise was recognised early by West Ham. He was soon made club captain. Appointed also as England’s captain at just age 22, one of Alf Ramsey’s earliest decisions, he became Ramsey’s general on the pitch. With a total of 108 England caps, he was captain an astonishing 91 times. “My captain, my leader, my right-hand man. He was the spirit and heartbeat of the team,” declared Ramsey.
As a defender, Moore’s defining characteristic was his ability to read the play and anticipate danger or the right move. With barely a minute to go in the 1966 World Cup final, England were clinging to a one-goal lead and spectators were on the pitch. (“They think it’s all over.”) Moore received the ball outside England’s penalty area and team-mates, along with most in the crowd, screamed for him to boot it into the stands. No, Moore had seen a 40-yard pass into space for Geoff Hurst ... and history. (“It is now.”)
He left West Ham for Fulham in 1977 and retired in 1978 after a short period in US soccer. He was sadly struck down by cancer and died in 1993, aged just 51. His reputation is undiminished. A stunning, twice life-size sculpture was unveiled at the new Wembley Stadium when it was opened in 2007. Still evoking an image of grace and control, ball under his foot, arms folded and a steely gaze, Bobby Moore now looks down from the front of Wembley Stadium over Olympic Way with Caesar‑like style. Around the plinth are outlines of all members of the 1966 team, with Bobby Moore still firmly at the helm.