West Ham United will today pay tribute to the memory and legacy of their favourite ever footballing son and England legend of all time Bobby Moore on the 25th anniversary of his tragic death at the tender age of 51.
The first of a fortnight of tributes that will be paid to the Three Lions’ first and only ever FIFA World Cup-winning captain will take place at today’s Premier League clash with Liverpool at Anfield.
3,000 travelling members of the Claret & Blue Army will each be given a complimentary commemorative shirt to wear during the match on Merseyside that is set to create a unique tribute in the stands.
In addition to this on Saturday, a new piece of artwork on the west side of the London stadium will be officially unveiled to accompany other decorative pieces on the exterior of the ground.
It depicts two images of the man himself, one being his famous outline and the other a picture of him holding aloft the 1964 FA Cup trophy in Claret & Blue ribbons.
And two famous quotes, one from Brazilian football great Pele about Moore on and off the pitch and another from former manager Ron Greenwood about his trademark style of play.
Also, being opened today is an exclusive and free to view collection of memorabilia from his career on the bottom floor of the club shop in Stratford, featuring many interesting relics and showpiece artefacts such as medals and jerseys worn by the man himself.
Including in the display is a specially commissioned bronze sculpture of the icon supported by his daughter Roberta Moore, it is part of a collection to mark 25 years since he succumbed to bowel cancer.
However, this is not all, the East Londoners travel to face Swansea City away from home next weekend, but after that, welcome Burnley to the London stadium.
The day will be dedicated to Moore, with many of his former teammates, veterans of FA Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup triumphs alongside him and of course, his family.
Furthermore, it emerged last night that the club will also be honouring Bobby in a very special and traditional way at the site of the Boleyn Ground, the stadium they left for the London Stadium at the end of the 2015/2016 season.
In partnership with Barratt, the company regenerating the Upton Park site into Upton Gardens and the Bobby Moore Cancer Fund, which survives him today and has raised close to £25 million in 25 years, something very special will mark his memory forever.
A time capsule, featuring memories and momentous from his career and life was placed under the Bobby Moore Stand by widow of Bobby, Stephanie after his death in 1993.
25 years on, the box has been carefully extracted from the soil and filled with new memories, such as his legacy and the work that the charity that bears his name have done.
It will be replanted at the heart of the new Upton Gardens development shown below on the spot of the centre-circle, a place he greeted officials and opposing captains hundreds of times.
The centre of the pitch will act as the middle part of the new Legacy Walk which will split two of the main developments in half and run down the what was the site of the centre line.
Stephanie Moore MBE had this to say about the heart-warming gesture and the legacy that her husband left with him when he passed away 25 years ago to the day,
“It seems like only yesterday I placed items in Bobby’s time capsule and by adding more mementoes from the last 25 years, his memory can continue to live on. I’d like to thank everyone at West Ham for remembering Bobby on this particularly poignant anniversary and his achievements for his club and country.
“Since he died, the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK has made huge strides towards beating bowel cancer – survival is improving and has doubled in the last 40 years. We still have so much more to do and I hope by continuing to raise vital funds and awareness, we will beat this terrible disease.”
Joint-Chairman of the club David Gold, who grew up across the street from the ground and watched the number six in action at Upton Park many times, also commented on the tribute,
“I watched Bobby Moore lead West Ham United into battle on that very spot so many times, immaculate in his number six shirt, and there could not be a more fitting location to honour his memory at our former home.
“I was fortunate enough to witness Bobby’s entire playing career from the very beginning, and even more fortunate to get to know him personally later in life when he worked for Sport Newspapers. He was a great man as well as a great footballer.
“Although 25 years have passed since his tragic and premature death, the esteem and national pride in which he is still held speaks volumes, and the reburial of his time capsule at Upton Gardens ensures that the legacy of Bobby Moore and West Ham United will proudly continue at our spiritual home.”
Barratt’s Regional Managing Director for London and Southern Gary Ennis had this to add about his company’s project in the site and remembering the former Three Lions skipper,
“This time capsule honours someone who has not only had an impact on his fans, but on a great many people who live in the local area of Upton Park.
“Preserving the unique heritage of this location has been of key importance to us in our development of Upton Gardens and we are proud to be working with West Ham United to help preserve the memory of Bobby Moore through this special event.”
The elegant defender began his career in East London, a product of the famous Academy of Football in the late 1950s, along with the likes of fellow World Cup Final hero Geoff Hurst.
And quickly found himself playing regular first-team football, less than ten years later, Moore had not only been named captain at the Boleyn Ground, but had also guided the team to domestic and European success.
Although perhaps his biggest achievement came in that period, bravely leading his national team to their only ever World Cup win at Wembley Stadium in the 1966 tournament, defeating West Germany in a 4-2 thriller.
Moore continued to captain England through to his 108th and final cap in 1973 by which time he was about to swap East London for West London, West Ham to Fulham.
He played out the early twilight years of his career with the Cottagers, finishing in the United States of America with a series of up and coming clubs, announcing his retirement in 1983.
The great flirted briefly with the idea of management, before working as a pundit on television and radio, leading up to his untimely and impromptu passing on Wednesday 25 February 1993 after a second bout of cancer.
While recognised instantly for his team triumphs, Moore also picked up several individual accolades throughout his career, though humble, he often played these down.
They included four Hammer of the Year awards, a Ballon d’Or runners-up award in 1970, the 1966 BBC Sports Personality of the Year and an OBE from her majesty the Queen, amongst many others, his trademark number six shirt is retired in his honour at the club he spent the majority of his playing career.
As well as being one of the greatest champions there ever was on it, Moore was a role model and a true gentleman off the pitch as well, quotes from names such as Franz Beckenbauer, Pele and England boss Alf Ramsey serving as a testament to that fact.
It only seems ironic to many that the Claret & Blue stars of today would be playing in Liverpool 25 years after his death, the city in which he scored his first ever Three Lions goal at Goodison Park, early in the same year he lifted the Jules Rimet Trophy.
And as the next two weeks will tell you, even a quarter of a century on from his tragic death, Bobby Moore is still so painfully and sorely missed all over the world to this day.