Bobby Moore Tribute: Sir Trevor Brooking recalls memories of West Ham icon
19:30 23 February 2013
Bobby Moore’s exemplary leadership of West Ham did not stop when he stepped off that famous stretch of turf at the Boleyn Ground in east London.
Sunday will mark the 20th anniversary of Moore’s death from cancer.
West Ham, Moore’s boyhood club where he played for almost two decades, will commemorate the landmark by laying a wreath at the feet of the statue of their most famous son, and they will also hold a minute’s applause prior to their game against Tottenham the day after.
Moore played no small part in helping guide another of West Ham’s most famous names, Sir Trevor Brooking, through a career that would end with the midfielder making over 500 appearances for West Ham and 47 for England.
Brooking’s West Ham career began in 1964 - shortly after 23-year-old Moore had lifted the FA Cup following a defeat of Preston North End in a final watched by over 100,000 spectators at Wembley.
Brooking, then an aspiring 16-year-old midfielder, recalls his first meeting with Moore fondly.
“I was still at school at the time, but I went in to train two nights a week,” Brooking recalls.
“When I was injured I used to go down to the training ground on a Sunday and every time I went there Bobby was there training.
“Rob Jenkins, the physiotherapist, introduced me to Bobby. After I asked Rob why Bobby was in and he told me that he came in every Sunday.
“He was the only (senior) player there. What would happen was that he’d enjoy his social evening out, as was the norm, and he would come in on a Sunday morning in a tracksuit and lap the track, sweating it out.
“He’d do it for an hour or so, all off his own back.
“That really impacted on me how focused he was, even at that stage of my career.”
Modern footballers are often criticised for a perceived lack of restraint when it comes to their personal lives.
Moore, on the other hand, tried to lead by example in everything he did right down to the smallest detail.
“He was the most meticulous and tidy man,” Brooking added.
“Every time we went on an overnight trip he was meticulous with his suit carrier and his bag. Everything had to be hung up right.
“He just wanted to look smart and be presentable wherever he went.
“Even when he went to the pub he would be dressed smart.
“He took great pride in his role. He wanted to make sure that he never let anyone down.
“He thought that if you are sloppy off the pitch you can be sloppy on it.”
In his current role as the Football Association’s director of football development, Brooking sees first hand how young defenders are being encouraged to approach the game like Moore, 55 years after England’s only World Cup winning captain made his debut.
“We’ve almost come full circle now where we are trying to get young English players to develop the habits that Bobby was working on in his latter teenage years - to be a ball-playing central defender,” Brooking said.
“Bobby came up in a generation where there some defenders who took no prisoners and cleared their lines.
“They weren’t thinking about having possession being a key opportunity to counter-attack quickly, but Bobby would bring the ball out.”
Brooking thinks Moore’s legacy has benefited West Ham hugely.
A number of famous starlets have come out of the West Ham youth set-up over the last 20 years, and he thinks they may have snubbed the club in favour of an early move to either Manchester United or Arsenal had it not been for the success of Moore and his team-mates.
“It’s a great reflection on West Ham that they have produced over the last 20 or 30 years and I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for Moore, Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst,” Brooking said.
“It has all come on the back of what Bobby and those players achieved. “What they did has set up a great 20 or 30 years of youth development at the club and that has been beneficial for everyone.”