It was early summer of 1976 and I was on a mission in San Antonia TX. I had the cover of an FIFA NEWS from a few years back with Bobby Moore shaking hands with Pele and changing jerseys at the Estadio Jalisco in Guadalajara in the group stages of FIFA World Cup 1970. Robert Frederick Chelsea Moore was now billed THERE'S MOORE TO THUNDER SOCCER on the car bumper stickers in The Alamo City. He was spending one season with the NASL club SAN ANTONIO THUNDER and playing at Alamo Stadium for a club owned by Ward Lay of Frito Lay family/
I first went to the New York Cosmos hotel and found Pele sitting in the lobby and he signed the photo. I then drove to where the Thunder were hosting a pre match press conference and got Bobby Moore to sign. Mission accomplished !! After the match I drove with friends to the restaurant where Thunder supporters had the chance to drink and chat with their players. I spoke to Bobby, wife Tina and their two young children Roberta age 11 and Dean age 8 and I was pleased to see how well behaved and courteous they were.
In 1966 I had watched all 6 England matches at Wembley Stadium including the controversial 4-2 extra time victory over West Germany in the final and was so close to the ceremony that I reached out to touch his arm as he and his team mates walked down from the Royal Box with the Jules Rimet trophy onto the pitch and where he was hoisted onto his team mates shoulders and a victory lap.
In 1970 as defending champions they were in a group with Brazil, Romania and Czechoslovakia. We stayed in the Camino Real on the outskirts of the biggest city in Jalisco State along with supporters English FA official, referees, players wives and some international players doing media work. Each afternoon I joined in 5 a side matches on the manicured lawns. I remember Gary Sprake and Mike England of Wales, Billy Bremner of Scotland and more. Afterwards we had a buffet meal besides the swimming pool. A year previously I had been in the city for a friendly between England and Mexico. The day before Colin Harvey of Everton had asked Sir Alf Ramsey if I could have a ride to practice and back on the team bus and he agreed. I doubt if that would be allowed these days. Colin gave me his England jersey.
The week prior to the 1970 World Cup England had played a couple of warm up matches in South America. Onne was in Bogota, against Colombia. Bobby Moore was in a jewelery shop with Bobby Charlton to buy a gift for Charlton's wife. Norma. He was accused of stealing an expensive bracelet and was arrested at the team hotel and then released. He flew on to Quito where they beat Ecuador 2-0. Back at Bogota airport he was arrested again and taken into custody, What a media story. The rest of the party flew onto Guadalajara without him. He was finally released without charge and rejoined the squad at the city centre Hilton Hotel. I was in the Camino Real late one evening when he came to visit wife Tina before the first match..
England beat both Romania and Czechoslovakia 1-0 and in between lost 1-0 to Brazil. On the way with the media bus through the barrios the locals were all waving Brazilian flags, provided by the Brazilian consulate. The FA were not so savvy. They had sent an England painted bus by sea and then road. However the organizing committee had provided 16 special buses for each team and the FA bus sat idle. The young referee for the Big Match was Abraham Klein of Haifa, Israel, selected by referee boss Ken Aston because of his youth and fitness for the heat and altitude. He had a brilliant match. His room was near mine and we became good friends for life and I even spent a week at his apartment in Haifa.
England lost 3-2 to West Germany in hot Leon, where I roasted in the sun, after extra time after Ramsey had substituted Bobby Charlton with England leading 2-0. I flew from Guadalajara to Mexico City for the semis and final sitting nest to Sir Alf. Bobby was the first English commercial super star and Tina the first WAG. They did some TV and magazine commercials promoting Visit your Local Pub etc. January 7th 1971 West Ham were supposed to play at Blackpool in the FA Cup 3rd round but it was expected to be postponed due to ice.
After manager Ron Greenwood had seen the players off to bed Moore, Jimmy Greaves. Brian Dear and Clyde Best were told by the Match of the Day commentator that there was no way the tie would take place. They went to a night club called 007 owned by Brian London a boxing champion, who was a non drinker. West Ham fans called the press and the next day 'MOORE AND GREAVES HAMMERED IN BLACKPOOL'. was the headline. They were sent home, suspended and fined and the tie took place and WHU lost 4-0.
Bobby had a secret. He had been found to have testecular cancer and one testicle was removed without the secret being publicised. Almost 30 years later I visited with Brian Dear at his sea front boarding house in Southend on Sea Essex. He was Southend United's catering manager and had appprentice players stay at his place.. His claim to fame was the quickest ever 5 goals scored within 20 minutes, either side of half time, on April 16, 1965 in a home cup tie against West Brom. In his living room he had a Bobby Moore Shrine, with a jersey, medals, photos etc of his great friend and team mate who had passed away recently. Bobby Moore had died age just 51 after a short cancer illness on 24th February 1993 a week or so after being in the press box at Wembley Stadium.
In 1986 he and Tina were divorced after he had a relationship wirh Stephanie Parlane who he married in 1991 just over a year before his death. Tina and daughter Roberta became quite successful in business in both the UK and America. Son Dean Moroe 'Deano' became a chef but had various diabetes and alcohol related problems and passed away age 43 in 2011, survived by loving grandchildren and born 2 years aftet his dad's famous 1966 victory,
Bobby Moore has a foundatiion named after him that has raised at least £20 million for bowel cancer awareness and a twice lifesize statue of him outside the new Wembley Stadium...looking down Wembley Way, was unveiled by Sir Bobby Charlton on May 11th 2007.
He never received the riches that todays well paid stars earn and was never helped nor given an ambassadorial role by the Football Association, but will be remembered by most fans long into the future.. TINA AND BOBBY the three part series will conclude this Friday at 9.00pm on ITV..