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Newham Recorder 50: Tributes to West Ham legend Bobby Moore (1941-1993)

PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 June 2018

Bobby Moore by an unknown photographer, 1962 Picture:National Portrait Gallery London

Bobby Moore by an unknown photographer, 1962 Picture:National Portrait Gallery London

National Portrait Gallery London

West Ham fans bid farewell to local legend Bobby Moore in a poignant match at Upton Park.

“Tears and cheers” from 24,679 attendees filled the Boleyn Ground at the Hammers’ March 1993 clash against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Blue and claret scarves, flowers, photos and tribute messages lined the main gates to the stadium, with a huge floral wreath shaped as a number-six shirt carried onto the centre circle by club royalty Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters and their former manager, Ron Greenwood.

Born in Barking in 1941, Moore went on to captain West Ham for more than a decade and lead England to World Cup victory.

Supporters held back tears during a minute’s silence in his memory, held after an extract of Kenneth Wolstenholme’s broadcast relaying the moment Bobby lifted the 1965 Cup Winners’ Cup.

“Only the odd cough, a seagull overhead, a dog barking and a child crying interrupted the stillness,” wrote reporter Gary Bird.

“At that moment both young and old were united in grief. Unlike the dreams in West Ham’s famous anthem, the memory of Bobby Moore will never fade and die.”

A sign of the shadow the 51-year-old’s death cast over the English football, two Wolves fans laid a black and gold wreath “to resounding applause”.

Bobby’s family — his widow Stephanie, then aged 41, daughter Roberta, 28, and son Dean, 24 — were in the crowd and would later lead 30 mourners in a private funeral at Putney Vale Crematorium, Wimbledon.

His ceremony, like his life, was “modest and dignified”, the Recorder reported at the time.

As a mark of respect, team sheets in the match programmes left the number six blank and midfielder Ian Bishop playing as number 12.

When emotions across east London football fans ran high, the BBC’s decision to use Moore’s death “as a backdrop” for a programme on crime drew flack from former Recorder editor Tom Duncan.

“My feeling as I reflected on that shoddy debate, was one of intense anger,” he seethed.

The paper’s front page, meanwhile, held back the rage.

“Bobby Moore’s death touched the hearts of a whole community in a way seldom seen before,” it read, adding: “The silence of that moment said it all.”

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