Bobby Moore

Pencil Portrait by Antonio Bosano.

Bobby Moore Pencil Portrait
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Last Update : 18/5/15

On Sunday July 31st 1966 in the mid afternoon, Bobby Moore drove home with his wife Tina from a celebrity luncheon hosted by ATV to honour the England football team’s unprecedented achievement in winning The World Cup. After living at Hendon Hall throughout the month long tournament, he found a front and rear lawn in need of trimming and a less than gleaming saloon.

There were a few congratulatory telegrams yet little else as the postal service, as ever, did not operate on the day of rest. He was photographed in his living room proudly displaying his medal to his wife and young daughter, a piece of silverware that embodied the very pinnacle of his chosen profession, the manifestation of a dream he had spoken to Tina about when they first started courting six years earlier. He was twenty five and lucky to be around for testicular cancer had nearly claimed him eighteen months earlier in probably one of the national game’s best kept secrets.

As he nestled in his wife’s arms, the boy from Barking must have reflected on the endless possibilities still open to him. Little was he to know that the “day to end all days”, the experience of lifting the coveted Jules Rimet trophy at Wembley just twenty four hours earlier, would remain an unscalable peak . Ahead lay professional and personal setbacks and the omnipresent threat of an illness that would ultimately claim his life just weeks before his 52nd birthday.

Moore’s health problems had first surfaced in the fall of ’64, as his club West Ham embarked on a European journey which would ultimately end in glory amidst the greatest night in the club’s history. Understandably his life threatening illness was not something he was ready to discuss outside of his immediate circle of family and friends, and this reluctance was very much intact when he collaborated with journalist Jeff Powell on his 1976 autobiography. In her 2005 biography of her ex-husband, Tina Moore recounted that he had noticed the lump in his testicle a few weeks earlier. The club physio had been alerted but a sports injury had been the initial diagnosis.

Like other parts of the body, the testicles can be affected by certain conditions and diseases, which can lead to symptoms. The most common signs and symptoms in the testicles and scrotum are lumps, swelling and pain. Some conditions that affect the testicles can also cause a heavy or aching feeling in the lower belly (abdomen), or can even cause nausea and vomiting.The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a painless lump on a testicle. In some cases the lump is uncomfortable but severe pain is rare yet this was precisely the symptons Moore had so all was indeed not well.

The Moores put two and two together and the word cancer was never expressly mentioned between them, for the fear factor would have been papable. Great progress has been made in recent decades in the treatment of testicular cancer but in the 1960s, the survival rate was shockingly low with only six per cent of men passing into remission. These days, the cure rate is 99% if caught early enough, largely due to successful treatments called cisplatin and carboplatin.

Carboplatin has become a standard treatment for a frequent sub-type of testicular cancer called seminoma. A single dose of this drug has proved to be as effective at treating testicular cancer as two to three weeks of radiotherapy, with the added benefit of fewer side-effects for patients. It also allows surgeons to remove just the affected part of a testicle, rather than the whole organ. In 1964 Moore did not have recourse to carboplatin, only radiotherapy. Whilst it has been extremely effective in preventing reocurrence of the cancer, there are potential side-effects including temporary infertility and gastric irritation. In the longer term some patients experience more serious problems including damage to the cardiovascular system and a slightly increased risk of developing new cancers in other organs. In 1964, Tina Moore thought her husband had been handed a death warrant, and sought solace in her catholicism. After discussing her feelings with a priest she maintained her silence for another week before breaking down in front of her mother. For the West Ham and England captain, life became one round after another of dressing room evasion before washing alone in the communal bath. Every six monthly check up for the next five years became a mental ordeal, as the pattern of Moore’s waking hours began to change irrevocably. He became an insomniac.

I met the man very briefly just once, in April 1972 before a home game with Liverpool. I was standing with my back to the dressing room door talking with the West Ham manager Ron Greenwood when the atmosphere palpably changed in the room. It was 2.50 pm and as ever Moore was the last player to arrive. I was thirteen at the time and as I spun round I was introduced to a bespoke tailored Greek God or as the actor Terrence Stamp has succinctly described him, a blond Viking warrior. I was still living in the monochrome world of 60’s television; my parents wouldn’t buy their first colour set for another three months in anticipation of the Olympics and here was one of my heroes in his full technicoloured glory. I observed the fastidiousness with which he prepared for the match. Time was pressing but he was sufficiently concerned to ensure that his clothes would not crumple in any way as he changed into his playing kit. His hairstyle, much in vogue with the times was longer and the sideburns were expansive. More in tune with the sartorial mood of the day rather than any slight on the man himself, he didn’t appear as sleek as he had done six years earlier. In any event, 70’s flares were always fodder for cringeworthy photographs, and Moore was no exception. However, whatever my insignificant misgivings, he was very special to me and it seemed like a mark of respect that everyone in the room looked at him when he came in; some people just have that presence.

His domestic career with West Ham was blighted with frustrations. I would watch the club on many an occasion in the Midlands where I lived, and that aura of fragility seemed to palpably run down the spine of the team. For admirers of the beautiful game they were, on their day, a sight to behold; one touch football, diagonal running, near post crossing etc and this dedication to the finer points of the game ensured that Upton Park to this day, remains a fertile breeding ground for future England internationals.

I observed him closely during an away game against Derby County at the old Baseball ground in August 1971. He appeared distracted, as if on “auto pilot” as one team-mate after another failed to capitalise on his near continuous razor sharp incisive passing. The 1971/2 campaign was a pivotal one for Moore. Amidst the terrace taunts about the bracelet incident in Bogata, the season would offer the glimmer of hope of a return to Europe, the grounds upon which the Hammers had flourished throughout the 64/65 and 65/66 campaigns, only to end in despair on a rain soaked Old Trafford pitch in the League Cup semi final second replay against Stoke City. Beyond that lay the stark reminder that English football was tactically falling behind its European competitors when West Germany trounced the national team at Wembley in April of that year. Placed in an unfamiliar centre back position due to injuries, Moore, that once most imperious of defenders, began to look a fraction slower, his carefully concealed deficiencies during more than a decade’s worth of international outings, now slowly exposed by the dwindling lack of cailbre in his defensive colleagues. For any of us who remembered him at his international peak between 1963 and 1971, the new order of world football and the changing times ushered in the bitterest of chills for all English supporters.

The end of his international career, to all intents and purposes, came in June 1973 in a World Cup qualifier against Poland. In the early moments of the second half he made an error which cost England the match, thus consigning me to an unceasing barrage of ridicule the next day in the company of my schoolmates. What I couldn’t say, nor saw any point in trying, was to explain just how sickening the mistake truly was, because he was caught out applying a tactic he had instinctively used his entire career. Receiving a back pass, Moore was never one to hoof the ball into the grandstand no matter what the pressure being applied; his manoeuvering into space in his own penalty area before delivering that inch perfect pass to Geoff Hurst to score in the dying seconds of the 1966 World Cup Final being a case in point. With the Polish forward Lubanski bearing down on him, he pulled the ball across him with his right foot to go wide into space. Fatally, the Pole made the merest of contact, and the momentum of his run took him past the England captain to fire home an inch perfect low drive past Shilton in goal. As if to signify the day’s events from an english perspective Lubanski went off injured soon afterwards. Moore never lost confidence in that aspect of his play and no one caught him again. Unfortunately, Sir Alf Ramsey, would select Norman Hunter of Leeds United, Moore’s understudy for years, in the return game at Wembley. In symbolically dropping a big match player who would never have repeated such an error, the portents were written before the match even kicked off, and Hunter duly “obliged” with a second half defensive howler that ended the country’s World Cup aspirations for at least another four years. In the space of twenty weeks a ten year partnership between manager and captain was irrevocably fractured. Moore captained his country once more in a token gesture from Ramsey, and the manager himself was sacked by the Football Association the following spring.

The bare facts of what happened to the Golden Boy of English football after Poland can be located at

The tragedy of Moore’s life after 1977 is the incomparable treatment that was meted out to him in a way that no other World Cup winner would experience in the modern world. At the very least he would today secure a well remunerated punditry position with one of the all important television channels. As it was, he endured long periods without gainful employment whilst outwardly maintaining the trappings of an affluent lifestyle.\

In reading Tina Moore’s book and reviewing the circumstances behind their divorce, I was reminded once again of the precarious tightrope we all walk in maintaining a marriage through thick and thin. In spite of the myriad of issues to overcome within the confines of the marital home, there are also external factors that bear down on the relationship. Here was a World Cup winning captain, unable to secure a full time managerial position in his chosen profession. There were overheads, the home, private education for the children, lifestyle expectations. His wife was working incognito at Harrods and with the Samaritans, helping to keep the family finances afloat. At the core of this familial turmoil is the modern world as we know it, where the only worth of a man is judged by his status and financial holdings. He is no longer the core family provider, strewth he isn’t even required anymore if a woman seeks motherhood. Staring back at the world and blatantly admitting that outgoings have to be trimmed and status symbols sold is a difficult admission to make to anyone, let alone when one is in the public eye. Unfortunately, Moore did not flourish in an era of sponsorship, rather a period in time when celebrities were invited to invest in business ventures. He appears to have had little capital behind him when the hard times arrived; merely participative illiquid holdings in failing enterprises, and whilst wishing to avoid being unduly harsh, was perhaps further bedevilled by a degree of personal naivety and lack of business acumen. Two decades later he would have been feted with directorships at West Ham and Fulham, television punditry work and ambassadorial roles on behalf of the Football association. As it was, in an uncomplaining manner befitting his personality, the man who, in the words of his wife, “liked all the things that money could buy,” was floundering.

More background information on these failed business dealings can be located at The last days of Bobby Moore.

Moore clearly felt he was failing his family. His drinking was escalating in direct proportion to his professional frustration. He was existing in that dangerous vacuum between heavy drinking and alcoholism. Had he tested himself and decided to abstain completely from alcohol for three months would he have been successful? Would he have found the period of time a constant endurance? Would he have noticed a change in his personality? I suspect he would have come up short on these individual counts which suggests he had a problem, if not a clearly defined one. The five year gestation period which ultimately led to remarriage with Stephanie was traumatic and clearly brought some personal reward, but at a very high cost to his emotional well being. At the core of the attraction was a woman who didn’t know initially who he was, and this remains plausible. She was an air stewardess, disinterested in soccer, he was thirty eight and retired from the game for two years by that stage. She will have had an agenda, all women do, but her patience and forbearance suggests a partner who loved him. Nevertheless Moore, who had practiced monogamy for nineteen years like a religious calling amidst opportunities galore, now found himself engulfed in the malaise that affects virtually all men of a certain age. One woman in a million would have told him to go home, resolve his domestic issues and failing that to move out, re-establish a life for himself and then call her. Yes we can definitely say that one woman in a million would have given that advice, only the former England captain didn’t meet her.

In Tina Moore’s book she describes her marital anguish on pages 221-275. It’s a harrowing read about a man leading a double life, being torn in two with little chance of reconciliation with his wife unless cut off from the other woman. Stephanie herself may have been emotionally undone by whatever Moore was telling her but apparently he never discussed Tina and she was nothing if not patient. What we can say is that a form of warped competitive instinct invariably takes over, allowing the mistress to systematically destroy the marriage even if her emotions for the wayward husband remain ambivalent. It’s the principle of the matter, being invariably played out like a game of chess. The new woman hangs onto the beleagured husband’s every word, she rushes into his arms each time he arrives, she soothes his brow, she encourages him in his endeavours, she tells him he’s wonderful and most worryingly, she probably tells him that it’s okay to have an affair. Unsurprisingly most men move on like unthinking automatons, whilst a few believe they “deserve” to be in the new relationship if only to reflect daily on their recriminations. Moments of contentment predictably become ever more fleeting. Here we encounter the classic chasm between male and female expectations, for whilst it is okay for the woman to understand the very real limitations of the latter day relationship, her vanity will never countenance her partner expressing similar sentiments. He must remain the adoring attentive partner who has been spared a life of domestic drudgery with the wrong person, in favour of blissful unrestrained happiness. For the new woman, the sensation of waiting patiently around whilst the screaming hysterical wife casts her dignity aside in order to save the marriage, is a palpably empowering sensation.

In the final analysis, Moore became part of that very small percentage of extra marital affairs that leads to a full time relationship, but at what emotional cost? For a long time, he was constantly revisiting Tina, but faced with her perfectly understandable “all or nothing” demands he would ultimately walk out for good. What he moved onto was a relationship without the solidifying elements of parental responsibility, emotional anquish over his two children and the detrimental effect of the break-up on their education. Most of all, he left a woman who plainly still loved him, and allowing his guilt to extend this period of torture for Tina – and indeed Stephanie – for so long was wrong of him. If he had had misgivings about his new lover, he would surely have brought them into the open after at least two years so why the excessive vacillation? Why was Stephanie so acquiescent? In 2002 she recorded an interview in which she admitted that Moore never came to terms with his marital breakup. Was she like millions of single partners who are “content” for their married lover to shoulder all the guilt? Furthermore, did she choose to believe that she was not also committing adultery? It remains paradoxical that many men and women who clearly have no respect for the sanctity of marriage, repeatedly marry. A subsequent national newspaper profile of Moore’s second wife would detail her involvement with another married man years later. These patterns of behaviour are not uncommon.

Perhaps the explanation to all this turmoil in Moore’s life lies within the detached cool exterior he so often displayed under pressure on the playing field. In the sporting arena this personality trait enabled him to flourish, whereas in his private life it brought him torment. It might also have contributed to his early death because I cannot reconcile what I have read of his personality with the vision of a very ill man table thumping and demanding medical answers. Instead I see him stoically passing through a combination of NHS administrative delays and private consultations with the diagnosed secondary bowel and liver cancer ultimately denying him the opportunity to reconcile his thoughts and regrets in later life.

Recommended viewing

Bobby Moore – ‘What’s My Line’ (US Tv 1963)

The American League Championship (also known as ‘the International Soccer League’), was founded by Bill Cox, a former owner of the Philadelphia Phillies baseball club, in 1960, the plan being to bring European teams across the Atlantic during the close season, wow the immigrant-heavy East Coast crowds and put soccer on the map.

The ISL was the first post-war attempt, before the North American Soccer League (1967-1984) and the Major Soccer League (which began in 1995), to sell football to the great American public.

In 1963, the ISL attracted 288,743 fans over its 42-game schedule (crowds of just under 7,000 a game). However, with most teams deciding not to risk their big-name players, attendance’s dwindled and the ISL ground to a halt in 1965.

When Moore arrived in the US fresh from England duty with Johnny Bryne, West Ham were bottom of their group. Thereafter, matters improved dramatically with goals from Geoff Hurst, who was the tournament’s leading scorer with eight, taking the Hammers through to the final against Polish side Gornik, who they beat 2-1 on aggregate. Having won the ISL, the Hammers then took on the brilliant Dukla Prague side from Czechoslovakia in the American Challenge Cup, but narrowly lost out. Still, Moore’s exploits were enough for him to be awarded the Eisenhower award as the tournament’s most valuable player. Reflecting on this period in his professional career, the West Ham captain always maintained that invaluable lessons were learned in these early encounters with top European opposition.\

Moore’s appearance on this top rated Television show was recorded at the time he was playing in the ISL. Unsurprisingly, the panel is not blindfolded for he was unknown at the time in the USA; nevertheless, it remains a fascinating slice of Hammers history with Moore, as ever, living up to his image as the ‘Golden Boy’ of English football.

Within eighteen months, he would have lifted the FA Cup at Wembley when West Ham defeated Preston North End 3-2 in the ’64 final, been voted ‘Footballer of the Year’ and suffered testicular cancer. Here he is in this clip (starting at 20.53), at the age of twenty two, on the cusp of success, and before insomnia overtook his life.

West Ham v Munich 1860 – 1965 European Cup Winners Cup Final

Moore’s personal favourite of his three cup final wins and as a spectacle, an object lesson for any aspiring youngster in how the game should be played. Regrettable that the match survives only as a 450 line monochrome recording but there is, nevertheless, much to savor in the quality of a pure passing game virtually devoid of the fouls and gamesmanship which tarnish so much of the modern game.

The Hammers lifted a major European trophy built around a team boasting nine home grown players; an unthinkable feat today where English clubs are predominantly populated with European and worldwide hired mercenaries.

Brazil v England (World Cup 1970)

Played in the blistering Mexican mid day sun to accomodate worldwide television broadcast requirements, England went head to head with the cup favourites, emerging with honours if not a richly deserved and creditable draw. In any event losing 0-1 at the time appeared to most nuetrals as merely a precursor to a much anticipated final. Moore was twenty nine and played like a man at the absolute zenith of his career. The second half tackle against Jairzinho can be studied by students of the game ad nauseum, but no defender either before or since, has ever had the ability or sense of timing to cede so many vital yards of territory before pickpocketing the ball away cleanly from one of the greatest forwards of all time. The Brazilian winger wasn’t alone; Pele himself, received short change from his much respected English opponent over the ninety minutes.

Recommended reading

Bobby Moore – The life and times of a sporting hero (Jeff Powell) Revised edition 1993

This biography lacks a certain objectivity, for Powell was an unqualified admirer and friend of his subject.

It tells the story of Moore’s life, in a slightly haphazard manner with an idiosyncratic timeline. The chapter on the 1975 FA Cup Final was published in the Daily Mail twenty four hours after he had experienced defeat playing for Fulham against his old club, and is presented here in an expanded format. It’s an affectionate book n which the subject himself consistently appears the victim of external factors rather than the instigator. Nevertheless it’s an entertaining read, based on historic interviews in which Moore offered revealing insights into the game, his highs and lows and the people he knew. There’s no first-hand account of his marital breakup with Tina though, and Powell over eulogises about his second union with Stephanie.

Moore Than a Legend (Phil Daniels-Editor)

Comprehensive tribute to the memory of the legendary World Cup winning captain, who died of cancer in 1993. However it singularly fails any attempt at detailed analysis of the reasons behind Moore’s thwarted post playing career ambitions.

In truth, Moore’s personality never made him an ideal candidate for successful soccer management, and whilst one can bemoan his lack of opportunities in television punditry – the Premier league was still a decade and a half away – he never applied himself to academically preparing for a life outside the game. Lord knows, he had the time to do so.

Bobby Moore – By the person who knew him best (Tina Moore) 2005

An insider’s view of Moore the private person and national hero by his first wife. Both the good and the bad times are covered but one has to dig deeper to comprehend why the marriage broke up.

Brian Glanville reviews Tina Moore’s book

I don’t read tabloid newspapers but during my initial research on Moore in 2012, I was saddened to realise that his first wife Tina has suffered additional personal tragedy in her life. It’s an awful coda to the rather uplifting end chapter to her 2005 book in which she spoke so proudly of her children. I can but wish her well.

Bobby Moore - The Man in full (Matt Dickinson) 2014

Hampered by an awful ‘reversed’ cover photo of the man himself – enough reason alone to wait for the paperback edition – Dickinson’s book upset more than a few of the East End faithful upon publication, yet a fuller appreciation of a sporting superstar is perhaps best achieved by portraying an individual as an interesting and realistic package of frailties, talents and setbacks, than as an exemplar.

Littered with references to Moore “staggering home,” “collapsing in an armchair” or “crawling up the stairs,” it’s fairly common knowledge that the England Captain was a heavy drinker, yet his consistent professionalism would ward off any insidious descent into full blown alcoholism. If English football was truly stuffed with bon viveur at the time, interviews with Moore’s compatriots merely serve to reinforce the image of a World Cup hero as a man prematurely out of time, as European influences on fitness and diet started to creep into the British game.

It’s more than possible to get carried away with tales of Moore’s ‘laddishness,’ but when he drove his Daimler Sovereign into a bollard near his home in Chigwell after some enthusiastic celebrations for his thirty sixth birthday, he would be banned from driving for a year and fined £150. More than three times the legal limit, he also had his nine year old son in the car with him. The child was thankfully unhurt, but his father’s actions were reckless and unforgivable.

In his epilogue, Dickinson describes Moore as a “very awkward man to bring back to life.” He rarely said much that grabbed the attention. What little film of him survives shows a reserved man, so deliberately bland that they mighht have hesitated even to invite him on to the ‘Match of the Day’ sofa.

Finally, and in a manner hardly detrimental to the man’s memory, he goes on to add:

“His post-playing days had revealed Moore to be just a man – decent, likeable and increasingly at ease – but not a leader away from the pitch or a thinker, not a coach of distinction or someone with compelling views about the game. I had cpme to this project hoping to discover hidden depths and finished wondering if, in truth, I had spent all that time looking for something that was not there.”

In an era where stars reveal – and sometimes to nauseating excess – a rash of hitherto previously unknown skills far removed from their original vocation in life (the actress Meryl Streep springs to mind), Dickinson sums up the East End hero’s life by adding that:

“Maybe I was expecting too much. Perhaps this was just the gripe of a frustrated biographer. It was certainly an uncomfortable feeling given the adoration for him, and his achievements. Moore had excelled at one thing in his life to an extraordinary degree, which is more than the rest of us can hope to accomplish. He was no saint, but he was one of the supreme footballers of his generation. One of the best English footballers of all time.”


Career stats and fact file. The news section contains various periodical cuttings and a useful resumé of his life which spares me the need to rehash essential details.