Early Years

The Young Bobby Moore:

Bobby's introduction to properly organised football began at Barking Primary School where he was part of the team that won the Crisp Shield two years running, the second time as captain.

After leaving Barking Primary he was hoping to move to the South East Essex Technical School along with the majority of his friends but he ended up at the Tom Hood School in Leyton. This posed problems for the young Bobby as it meant he had to get up at 7:15 and he would not get home until 5:15. This began to take it's toll on Bobby and he ended up at the Doctors. He was issued with a note for his headmaster suggesting that he should be moved to a school closer to his home. The following day Bobby went to see the Headmaster with the Doctors note in his pocket but before he could say anything the Headmaster told him that he had been selected to play for the Leyton District Under 13's. The note was never given to the headmaster.Very young Bobby Moore

At school Bobby was not the worlds greatest scholar although there is some confusion about his qualifications. In "My Soccer Story" Bobby says he attained four GCSE's (technical drawing, woodwork, geography and art) yet one of his teachers (Joan Wright) seems to remember him passing "Eight O'Levels in one go."

As a young child Bobby always considered himself chubby. In fact one of his early nicknames was "Tubby" Moore. He was never considered a skillful player but more the strong, hard working type. As Bobby moved on through the ages in the District side to under 14 and then under 15 more and more of his team mates and opponents were signed up to professional clubs and Bobby began to accept that he was never going to make it as, in his own words, he was "sound rather than spectacular."

As Bobby began to prepare to leave school for a possible career as a draughtsman he was told that a teacher from another school wanted to see him. The teachers name was Tom Russell and he had connections with West Ham. In the meeting Bobby was asked if he was interested in getting some coaching from West Ham. There was only one answer to this and a very excited Bobby ran home to tell his parents the good news.

In 1955 Ted Fenton, then the West Ham manager, sent Jack Turner to check over the young Bobby in a cup tie between Leyton and East Ham. The game ended 3-3 and Bobby didn't make much of an impression. The scouting report said that Moore was hard working but was nothing special. On a hunch Turner went to see the replay and Moore scored the winner in a much more impressive display.

The coaching of the kids at West Ham was the responsibility of one or two of the senior players notably Noel Cantwell and Malcolm Allison. The impression that these senior pro's had of Bobby was that he knew he had a lot to learn, was very willing to listen and that he worked hard to improve. At the age of sixteen Bobby talked to his parents and decided that he wanted to join the groundstaff at West Ham. He was signed by Ted Fenton at a wage of £7 per week and told he would get plenty of games and coaching. The rest as they say is history.

The coaching of the kids at West Ham was the responsibility of one or two of the senior players notably Noel Cantwell and Malcolm Allison. The impression that these senior pro's had of Bobby was that he knew he had a lot to learn, was very willing to listen and that he worked hard to improve. At the age of sixteen Bobby talked to his parents and decided that he wanted to join the groundstaff at West Ham. He was signed by Ted Fenton at a wage of £7 per week and told he would get plenty of games and coaching. The rest as they say is history.

I have recently been in contact with Gavin Wyatt whose Grandfather played schoolboy football with the young Bobby Moore during the 1952/53 season for South Park Boys. South Park Boys

He has been kind enough to give me some photographs to use on the site. The one on the right is of the double winning side from 1952/53 and Bobby can be seen second from the left. The other boys who can be named are Dennis Allen (father of Ex Hammer Martin Allen) who went on to play for Fulham who is on the shoulders holding the cup and shield and Brian Wyatt who is fourth from the right underneath the shield.

The team was a mixed age team and Bobby was aged 11, 2 years younger than most of the other boys.

Apprentice Years

When Bobby first joined the groundstaff most of the other boys had represented Essex or London schoolboys and some of them had even had trials for England schoolboys. A person with a weaker personality and desire may have been overawed by this but, although he felt out of place, he decided to work harder than anyone else. It was about this time when Malcom Allison took Bobby under his wing. Malcom Allison was one of the original members of the "Academy" at West Ham who used to meet in Cassettari's cafe to talk football. The main reason for this was that Ted Fenton the West Ham manager had arranged for the players to be given vouchers by the club that they could spend in the cafe which was near to the ground.

Young Bobby MooreOther members of this little band were Noel Cantwell, John Bond, Dave Sexton, Jimmy Andrews and Frank O'Farrell but it Was Malcom Allison who was the driving force. Bobby learnt a lot during this time by listening to the senior players at the club and if you look at the list it is no surprise that many of the made a move into management with no little level of success.

Malcom Allison would give Mooro a lift back home to Barking after training and all the way home Bobby would be picking Allison's brains about technique and strategy. It was during one of these impromptu training sessions that Allison gave Bobby the piece of advice that would shape his game, "Always keep a picture in your mind where everyone is, That way when you get the ball you don't have to think what to do with it." This was to be the cornerstone of his game and would get him a reputation for having ESP on a football pitch.

Another major influence on Bobby at this stage was Ron Greenwood who was in charge of the England Youth. This was a partnership that was to go onto the Under 23's and ultimately at West Ham after Ted Fenton was sacked in 1961. Ron Greenwood was a real student of the game who greatly admired the great Hungarian side of the early 1950's who had dismantled England so masterfully. Bobby won his first England youth cap against Holland which England won 3-2 and on the aeroplane on the way home Bobby sat next to Ron Greenwood and quizzed him, as he had done with Malcom Allison, all the way home.

Just after Bobby's 17th birthday he was offered his first professional contract at £12 per week which was the maximum allowed at the time and Mooro duly signed in April 1958. The season 1958/59 was the first season that West Ham were in the first division. Malcom Allson who had been out with TB had been training incredibly hard and when injuries forced Ted Fenton to shuffle his team Allison presumed that he would get the call. Unknown to Allison Ted Fenton had called Noel Cantwell into his office and asked him who he thought he should pick. The choice was between Moore and Allison and despite Cantwell's friendship with Allison he chose Bobby without a moments hesitation.

The date was September 8th 1958 and the game was against Manchester United. Bobby made an assured and competent debut in a 3-2 victory but it was largely unspectacular. One of the saddest things from this episode was that Malcom Allison, who had worked so hard to recover from TB never played in the top flight for West Hameven so he was the first to congratulate Bobby and even said to Noel Cantwell that he had made the right choice. Bobby felt on top of the world and thought that football was easy. West Ham lost the next game 4-0 to Nottingham Forest and Bobby made hardly any more appearances that season. He still had a little way to go.

Leadership

Bobby Moore was a born leader; just looking at him instilled confidence. His appearance was always immaculate and he never seemed to be under pressure. In the World Cup final in 1966 with the clock ticking on the last few seconds of extra time the ball broke to Bobby on the edge of England's penalty area. The hugely experienced Jack Charlton immediately started screaming for Mooro to get rid of the ball into the crowd to waste a few seconds but Bobby was calmness personified, he looked up and played an inch perfect pass for Geoff Hurst to run onto and complete his historic hat trick. That sort of composure in a pressure cooker environment is one of the many reasons that Bobby Moore was special.

Sir Alf Ramsey and Ron Greenwood, two of English football's most talented managers, both made conscious decisions to build their sides around the solidity and leadership of Bobby Moore. Sir Alf is quoted as saying that once the game was under way that Mooro made all the decisions including changing the team formation. Bobby Moore became the captain of England at the age of 22, the youngest ever; three years later he had led his side to be champions of the world.

One of the youngest people to take his FA coaching badge Bobby was a student of the game and would often be found sat next to players like Malcolm Allison, Noel Cantwell, Dave Sexton and John Bond (all of whom went on to be very successful managers) after training at West Ham listening to their theories and explanations of the way the game should be played. It was this knowledge and understanding along with his natural leadership that made Bobby an obvious candidate for captaincy.

Bobby Moore had the respect of those who played with him throughout his career. They all knew that Mooro would play well and his teammates would just try to follow his lead and do the same. When Bobby was playing for San Antonio Thunder in the North American Soccer League the teams Head Coach was sacked and the team owner naturally turned to Mooro to take charge until the end of the season, which he did with great success.

The modern footballers could also learn something from Bobby and that is how to behave on and off the pitch. As England and West Ham captain Mooro was a hero to millions of children and that was a role he took seriously. His understanding and patience with the crowds of jostling children waiting for an autograph is legendary. He would insist on a queue being formed and he would stay until everyone had been satisfied.

A true legend.