Our new “The Artists” collection was launched on 15th February celebrating the exceptional skill and contribution of some of the greatest exponents of the beautiful game. There are 10 players honoured in this initial range and our blogs will share some magical moments of artistry from each one of them.
Here we feature Bobby Moore.
1 – v West Germany, World Cup final, 30 July 1966
Bobby Moore was the ultimate ball-playing centre back, and if you needed proof, here it was in the final passage of play in the 1966 World Cup final.
Trailing 3-2 with seconds remaining, West Germany played a cross into England’s penalty area which Moore dealt with as thought it were a fly in his living room. He took the ball down on his chest and moved calmly out into the right-back position.
Moore finds himself close to the corner of Banks’ penalty area, and instead of kicking it into the stands to waste time he found the perfect pass for Geoff Hurst, clipping the ball 50 yards to the West Ham striker, who duly made history.
2 – v Brazil, World Cup group stage, 7 June 1970
This was one of the greatest contests in World Cup history; and it was largely thanks to a superb England defence led by the indomitable Bobby Moore.
England have the ball in a dangerous area, but the cross into the box is dealt with by Brazil’s goalkeeper, Felix. A Brazilian defender, quick of thought, plays the ball down the field to Jairzinho and all of a sudden England are in trouble.
Jairzinho moves inside and is running with menace, the ball close under his control. Bobby Moore meanwhile is backpedalling, but all the while keeping his eyes on the ball at Jairzinho’s feet.
When an attacker moves into the penalty area, the option of tackling becomes a far greater risk; unless you’re Bobby Moore.
Moore waited for the opportune moment to make the tackle, allowing Jairzinho to fractionally lose control of the ball before extending his right leg towards the ball, sending Jairzinho flying, and moving away with the ball at his feet. Moore then moves the ball forward with the assuredness of the best centre back in the world.
3 – v Anon
Specific examples of Moore’s ability on the pitch are quite difficult to come by on the internet, but when I found this goal I couldn’t leave it out. Unfortunately I couldn’t track down the game, but the goal itself is a supreme reminder that Moore could have probably played anywhere on the pitch.
Moore acquires the ball just ahead of the centre circle, and moves forward with it. Glancing up briefly it becomes clear to him that his best option is to keep the ball to himself, which he does as he moves directly towards the penalty area.
Looking every inch the attacking midfielder, Paul Gascoigne, Bobby Charlton, Paul Scholes all into one, Moore lashes the ball past three defenders and the goalkeeper into the top-left corner from all of 20 yards.
The celebration is the icing on the cake. As Moore’s team mates surround him with congratulations, the West Ham captain walks back with barely a smile, as if to say ‘Come on lads, it’s not really my job that is it?’
The image is complete with the sight of the beaten goalkeeper standing hands on hips. It is right out of a Roy of the Rovers cartoon; right where Bobby belongs.