Different class: The dignified way Bobby Moore reached 100 caps is in sharp contrast to the crassness of England defender Cole
22:20 GMT, 9 October 2012
When the footballer acclaimed by Pele and Franz Beckenbauer as the best defender of all time won his 100th England cap, the occasion was marked by Bobby Moore doing one of the things he enjoyed most.
Driving the Scots demented with frothing frustration, suppressed rage – and grudging admiration.
On St Valentine's Day, 1973, the commanding figure of the only English captain ever to raise the World Cup aloft led his country to the massacre of Scotland at Hampden Park. Great and terrible was the gnashing of sporrans.
Otherwise, the celebration of that noble century was largely confined to a few mentions in the papers, something said by Sir Alf Ramsey, then a few beers with the chaps when we got back to London.
If the caps fit: Bobby Moore poses with 99 boys from the primary school opposite Upton Park on the eve of his 100th England game
Bobby dazzler: Moore (right) wins his 100th cap as he and Billy Bremner lead the England and Scotland teams out at Hampden Park in 1973
The jolliest item in the sports pages
was the photograph shown here for which the cameraman had to borrow not
only 99 schoolboys but some caps from other England players, because
each of those items of symbolic headgear was bestowed by the FA not for
each game but for clusters of matches.
An earlier battle with the Auld Enemy
in 1968 set the pattern for what to expect when we landed at Glasgow
airport. An intrepid tartan sportswriter had ventured: 'Welcome to
Scotland, Sir Alf.'
The glowering reply from the England manager in those less politically correct times, was: 'You must be effin' joking.'
The Scots never took to Alf but Bobby
was a different matter. No matter how feisty the sporting enmity,
admiration of greatness at the fitba' resides deep in their soul.
The score that day was 5-0. Take good note of the nil.
When, after games like this in which
their finest foundered on his haughty defending and they called him
'that bastard Moore,' it was said with enormous respect. When the bloody
English failed to knight him, the Scots were first to take to calling
him 'Sir Robert.'
Little or no fuss was made by the FA
as Moore joined the ranks of England’s precious few centurions.Certainly
nothing like the Wembley presentation of a golden cap in a
gold-plated case to Goldenballs when David Beckham reached his 100.
And, most damning of all, nothing like
the palaver that was being planned for the crass Ashley Cole when
expected to reach that landmark next week.
Cole is a very fine defender but Bobby
Moore he is not. Nor, as a leader of men, inspirational figurehead,
honourable gentleman or human being, would he have been fit to breathe
the same air as Mooro, let alone lace his boots.
Moore was intensely loyal but he would
have castigated John Terry, not least for his own good, for that ugly,
vulgar abusing of Anton Ferdinand.
The most imperial of captains had his
issues with the FA but – steeped as he was in the true values and
manners of genuine, old- fashioned working-class London – he would never
have stooped to tweeting crude insults had such a thing existed in his
How soon the inhabitants of Chelsea’s
Bridge of Lies – along with so many of their foul-mouthed, cheating,
threatening colleagues in the Premier League – have forgotten the
dignified example of men like Moore. Forgotten those who paved the way
for them to bank theirinordinate (some would say obscene) pay cheques.
Centre of attention: Ashley Cole, seen here meeting Prince William, Duke of Cambridge at St Georges Park could reach 100 caps on Tuesday
How the 100 club members celebrated
(105 caps, captain in 90 games)
England 1 Scotland 0 (Wembley, April 11 1959) British Championship
Already captain. The first player to reach 100 caps. Bobby Charlton, who was the next centurion, scored the only goal. Wright was carried shoulder-high from the pitch by his team-mates.
SIR BOBBY CHARLTON
(106 caps, captain in 3 games)
England 3 N Ireland 1 (Wembley, April 21 1970) British Championship
Charlton was given the captaincy even though regular skipper Bobby Moore was in the team. Charlton, Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst all scored. George Best replied.
(108 caps, captain in 90 games)
Scotland 0 England 5 (Hampden Park, February 14 1973) Scottish FA Centenary match
It turned out to be a stroll in the park for Moore, who was already captain. A Peter Lorimer own goal was added to by Allan Clarke (2), Mick Channon and Martin Chivers.
(125 caps, captain in 15 games)
England 1 Holland 3 (Dusseldorf, June 15 1988) European Championship
The goalkeeper was given the captaincy but the must-win group match did not end well with Marco van Basten scoring a hat-trick. Bryan Robson netted for England.
(115 caps, captain in 59 games)
France 1 England 0 (Stade de France, 26 March 2008) Friendly
The former captain was not given the armband in Paris and in a forgettable match, Beckham was booked for a foul on Franck Ribery and replaced by David Bentley in the second half.
The Mooro generation took their modest stipend and played their hearts out.
Although not poor while their careers
lasted – Bobby drove nice cars, lived in a detached house in stockbroker
Chigwell and dined in fine restaurants – they had to find work once the
glory days came to an end.
Class, he would have informed Master
Cole, does not come with the flash motor he almost crashed when told
Arsenal were only going to pay him as much in a week as Moore earned in a
year, at best. Class comes dressed in humility.
As arrogant Ashley struts his inflated
value of himself in the louche hideaways of today’s privileged
footballers, he might pause to ponder the truly great Bobby’s response
to a fan who came up to him in a pub after he had performed miracles for
West Ham and said: ‘People say you come across as aloof but you seem
really down to earth.’
Moore bought the guy a beer and said: ‘You know, if you’re quite good at something you don’t have to tell everybody.’
Quite good Of all the players in
English football history, Moore is one of the elite who might have been
forgiven for considering themselves worthy of just a modicum of special
treatment. Not him.
When he set the then-record of 107
caps in a friendly against Italy in Turin in the June of ’73, it was the
press, again, who had to salute the achievement.
We took a collection, bought an ornate
piece of Capi de Monte porcelain and presented it to him back at the
hotel after the match.
The celebration went on until we boarded the buses to the airport the following morning – but the party was almost over.
Moore had made a rare error – so rare
as to be a collector’s item – in a World Cup qualifier in Poland which
preceded the Italy game. Ramsey dropped Moore for the return match at
Wembley, only for his replacement Norman Hunter to make the identical
Thus England drew a match, in which Poland barely got out of their own half, and failed to qualify for the 1974 World Cup.
There was one Wembley game left in
’73, peculiarly another friendly with Italy. Ramsey recalled Moore as
captain for what was to be his 108th and last cap — a world record at
‘I sort of sensed it was the end,’ said Bobby. ‘But nothing was said on the night. I just went home.’
No grand farewell for a magnificent symbol of the national game. Not trumpets blaring. Just went home to wait for the letter.
Back then, even the greatest players
only found out whether they had been selected for the next England game
when the envelope from the FA dropped through the letter box.
For the first time since he made his
England debut in the 1962 World Cup in Chile, the letter did not come.
And that was the end of that.
Imagine the indignant, affronted,
self-righteous fury of Crass-ley and JT – and Becks for that matter – if
their England careers were abruptly ended without a personal,
sympathetic conversation with the manager and a sycophantic tribute from
Scotland's 'Sir' Bobby Moore simply
said: 'The next World Cup is four years away. It’s time for younger
guys, fresh faces. I know they don’t need old Mooro any more.'
If the scorn being poured on Cole – as
well as his mate Terry – ignites a bonfire of false egos it will
perform a service to the game almost as important as that given by
England’s greatest captain.
INSIGHT – KENT GAVIN, photographer
Bobby Moore and I were very good friends and we used to go on holiday to Marbella together along with the likes of Besty (George Best) and all the old crowd.
The summer before he played his 100th game for England I said to him that I’d like to take a photo to mark the occasion.
There used to be a primary school right in front of West Ham’s ground and I thought that would be perfect.
I told him I’d like to take a picture at the school with him right in the middle wearing his England shirt and 99 schoolchildren around him in the caps.
He said: ‘I’d love to do it, but there’s one problem – I don’t have 100 caps!’
I didn’t understand because everybody was saying he was about to play his 100th game. Bobby explained that when they used to play the home internationals they would only get one cap for the three games.
Anyway, I phoned Billy Wright and asked if he’d be willing to lend us his caps and he said he’d love to, so I made the arrangement for 32 of Billy’s caps to be picked up for the photo.
Then came the next problem – I didn’t want the caps to be mixed up as I knew that could be a nightmare with those kids.
I got the headmaster to give out Billy Wright’s caps and to make sure those boys gave their caps back to him, while I handed out Bobby’s caps and got the boys to give Bobby’s back to me.
There are only 99 children because it was just before his 100th game. We picked the 99 youngest at the school as it seemed the only way to make it fair.
If you look at the expressions on their faces you can see just how proud they are to be wearing those caps. It’s just magic.
I remember there was one cheeky devil who had to hand his cap back to the headmaster and came over to Bobby and pointing at the date on the cap, said: ‘I know you’re old, but you couldn’t have played in this game!’
Bobby just fell about laughing.
It took an hour to get the kids seated correctly and settled but it only took 12 frames, in the days of good old film, to capture the picture.
It worked because of the expression on the kids’ faces. Some of the caps don’t fit, some are pulling faces – it’s marvellous.
WERE YOU ONE OF THE CHILDREN IN THIS PICTURE If so, share your memories below