Tag Archives: schoolboys

England caps are still an honour – Jeff Powell

England caps are an honour… so wear them with pride like Bobby once did



23:54 GMT, 12 November 2012

EXCLUSIVE: Gerrard emulates Moore on the eve of his 100th England cap

Click here to see the pictures as Steven Gerrard shares a special moment with pupils at his former school — emulating the famous picture of England's iconic captain

They're abandoning ship faster than the rats on the Titanic.

Men for whom it should be a matter of enormous pride to play for their countries are pulling out of international matches this week faster than they can bank their club pay cheques at the rate of 10 a minute.

Never mind the national pride, here’s the sick note. Basically it reads: ‘It’s only a friendly.’

Centurion: The legendary Bobby Moore posed with 99 schoolboys each wearing an England cap prior to winning his 100th as an England player

Centurion: Bobby Moore posed with 99 schoolboys each
wearing an England cap prior to winning his 100th

Time was when these games were nearly all friendlies and great players would have given – if not quite their right arms – at least a couple of fingers for the privilege of pulling on the shirt.

Now they pull a pained expression.

The world might never have heard of Ferenc Puskas and his mighty Magyars had it not been for the small matter of a so-called non-competitive match at Wembley in the spring of 1953, when Hungary stormed the hitherto impregnable fortress of English football and fired a six-goal salvo into the heart of our national game.

A year later, in the return friendly, they made it seven and changed us forever.

John Barnes would not have immortalised himself with a wonder goal in the cathedral of Rio’s Maracana unless England had travelled to Brazil to practice playing against those infernal South Americans.

That friendly is more fondly remembered than any England World Cup match of late.

Magnificent Magyars: Hungary's Ferenc Puskas (right) greets Billy Wright at Wembley in 1953

Magnificent Magyars: Hungary's Ferenc Puskas (right) greets Billy Wright at Wembley in 1953

The cap which Barnes received for his exploit is the most cherished of his mementoes. It seems there are England players now who would rather put a baseball cap on backwards and go for a night out.

Roy Hodgson is not so much England’s new manager as the secretary of a youth club, so little known are some of the kids he is calling up for national service in Sweden on Wednesday evening.

Frankly, at first glance, I thought Zaha was a clothes shop. It turns out he is a lad who, until yesterday, had been torn between playing for England or the Ivory Coast… someday.

I wish the lad well but if he does plump for this country I hope he never forgets that his big chance came in the kind of game which so many of his elders – and supposedly betters – are in the habit of calling ‘meaningless.’

Neither Bobby Moore or Bobby Charlton ever described any England match in which they took part in such disparaging terms. Nor did any of their distinguished peers. For men like these, it was always an honour to play for the country.

And even though David Beckham is a long-time sparring partner of mine, it has to be said that he always wanted to play in every England game. In fact, still does.

Unforgettable: John Barnes embarks on his epic run before scoring against Brazil at the Maracana in 1984

Unforgettable: John Barnes embarks on his epic run before scoring against Brazil at the Maracana in 1984

Although it was country first for the older gentlemen of England they were conscious, also, that every international appearance enhanced their reputations both at home and abroad.

They knew, too, that if they wanted to become World Cup stars it was only proper that they served their time and answered the call every time it came.

Now no-one doubts that John Terry is on crutches for a reason after that leg-crunching collision on Sunday.

But while it could well be that yesterday’s scans of other celebrated limbs revealed serious hurt, we can be forgiven for expecting that a whole posse of celebrated names missing from the passenger manifest for the flight to Stockholm will suddenly reappear, right as rain, in the Premier League this weekend.

Maybe there is pressure from some leading managers – Arsene Wenger for one is a leading campaigner for the abolition of friendlies – but the kind of strong-minded footballer who ought to be picked for England should be able to resist.

Patriot: David Beckham would still play for England in every match if he were selected

Patriot: David Beckham would still play for England in every match if he were selected

It’s not only the English chaps, of course, Robin van Persie – who came under Wenger’s influence for a long time at Arsenal – is one of many overseas Premier Leaguers opting out of ‘friendly’ week on the Continent.

In a perfect world, all the replacements would do so amazingly well that the services of the cynical old drop-outs would not be required in future.

That is most unlikely to happen, of course. But perhaps the mere thought of it might send out a reminder to the celebrities that since much of their fame and fortune is garnered from playing in the big World Cup games we expect in return that they pay their dues on the less glamorous occasions.

And if that’s not enough, in this of all weeks, let them not forget to wear not only their poppies with pride… but also their caps.

Bobby Moore 100 cap schoolboys remember England icon

If the caps fit: Three schoolboys share their memories of awe-inspiring Moore



00:16 GMT, 12 October 2012

Three of the 99 schoolboys who posed with Bobby Moore to celebrate his 100 England caps have come forward to tell their stories after seeing the photograph in Sportsmail.

Graham Moxom, Paul Roberts and Martin Smith — all 10 years old at the time — queued up with other children at St Edward’s Roman Catholic School near Upton Park on that day in 1973, not knowing they were all going to wear an England cap.

When news filtered back from the front of the queue, they were all keen to make the final cut.


Cap that: The three boys ringed are (from left) Graham Moxom, Martin Smith and Paul Roberts

Cap that: The three boys ringed are (from left) Graham Moxom, Martin Smith and Paul Roberts

Professional career: Roberts

Professional career: Roberts

Moxom, still living in east London,
was put on the end at the back of the group. But that was the last place
he wanted to be. He said: ‘I was tall so they stuck me at the back.
Everyone wanted to be as close to Moore as possible.

he came through dressed in his England kit, it was incredible. We were
hoping to get to keep the caps, we didn’t know they weren’t all
Bobby’s.’ (Some of the caps were borrowed because Moore was not given a
cap for every game).

head — the late Mr Challoner — was terrified one would go missing and
was running around trying to keep control, but it was impossible.

are a few stories from that picture. Paul Roberts went on to play for
Millwall and I know a couple of them have been in prison for attempted

Roberts got to stand directly behind Moore in the picture and something clearly rubbed off on him. He went on to play more than 400 League games as a defender for, among others, Millwall, Brentford, Southend and Colchester.

The 50-year-old, now living in north London, said: ‘The truth is I was captain of the school football team, which is why I might have got to sit there. No-one took any notice, we were just pleased to be in a picture with him.’

Smith, who played for the West Ham youth team through his teens, is ringed in the photo in the second row from the front.

He said: ‘I was in awe of Bobby — he seemed like such a big guy at the time.

‘One of the things that sticks out is that he wasn’t wearing football boots, he just walked around in his socks. It was a real honour to be included and to wear one of his caps.’

The trio were no strangers to the West Ham players. They recall making any excuse to get over the school fence at lunchtime to meet them when they arrived at the ground, and Roberts and Smith got in trouble for their escapades.

Moxom, 49, said: ‘As soon as Bobby arrived in his white Jaguar about 20 balls would go over the fence. We’d run and ask the teacher if we could go and get them. He always stopped to talk to us. He was an absolute gentleman.’

Helmut Haller, scorer of the opening goal for West Germany in the 1966 World Cup final, has died in Augsburg aged 73 after a long battle against
Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.


If so, share your memories with Sportsmail. Contact us on 0203 6151202

Bobby Moore reached 100 caps in a dignified way, sharp contrast to Ashley Cole

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

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

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

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.

(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
the time.

‘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
the FA.

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
Snapper: Kent Gavin

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

Barcelona want Chelsea prodigy Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Barcelona leading City and United in chase to land Chelsea prodigy Loftus-Cheek

Barcelona are set to make a move for Chelsea youngster Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

The 16-year-old midfielder has shone for Chelsea's academy and Under 18s and has also attracted interest from Manchester rivals United and City, according to the Mirror.

Barca were impressed when seeing Loftus-Cheek score for England schoolboys against Wales in 2011.

Bright future: Chelsea's young midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek (left)

Bright future: Chelsea's young midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek (left)

In the past the Catalan giants have had academy products lured to the Premier League, such as Cesc Fabregas and Gerard Pique, by Arsenal and Manchester United respectively.

Barca have long expressed their anger at clubs poaching their youngsters before they had signed their first professional contracts.

Young Lion: Manchester United and City are also interested in Loftus-Cheek

Young Lion: Manchester United and City are also interested in Loftus-Cheek

But now the reigning European champions are themselves hoping to take advantage of the fact that Loftus-Cheek has not yet signed a deal at Chelsea.

Shane Long: The accidental footballer whose first love is hurling

Shane Long: The accidental footballer whose first love is hurling

The walls of Shane Long”s bedroom were like those of many other star-struck schoolboys – filled with images of goalscorers.

However, the faces of Andy Cole, Alan Shearer and Ryan Giggs could not force their way past other heroes.That trio”s abilities were lost on this teenager.

The Republic of Ireland striker, brought up on a diet of Irish sports, had eyes only for two hurling greats in his county of Tipperary – Nicky English and Pat Fox.

Big deal: Shane Long is West Bromwich

Big deal: Shane Long is West Bromwich”s record signing, with some estimates valuing the move at more than 10m

And, for those over here who can”t quite imagine how big the Gaelic Athletic Association games are, West Bromwich Albion”s forward was keen to put it into perspective.

“Myself, John O”Shea and Stephen Hunt were out having a catch-up a few weeks ago in Waterford at the same time as the Waterford hurlers,” he said.

“Not that they should pay us any attention, but the kids basically ignored us. They made a beeline for the hurlers and pestered them.

“It is difficult for people here to understand but, if you win an all-Ireland final for your county, you have a massive profile and you become public property. Your face is broadcast everywhere.”

Long”s face should be well known now.

Albion”s record signing – the figures range from 6.5million to more than 10m – is a star in his own right.

Proud Irishman: Shane Long (left) has settled well at West Brom

Proud Irishman: Shane Long (left) has settled well at West Brom

Early-season goals against Chelsea and Manchester United have alerted a few defenders to his prowess – like Aston Villa”s Alan Hutton in October.

His horrible lunge at Long could have caused a far more serious injury.

As it was, Long was back in the side within a month, emphasising Roy Hodgson”s prediction that Albion fans will be glad he went the extra mile to sign the striker last summer.

Yet Long is almost an accidental footballer.

He should have been claimed by hurling but a lost bet threw his future in the air.

“When I was a kid, the only use I had for a football was to play Gaelic football with it,” he said.

Hurling deal: Long lost to Limerick

Hurling deal: Long lost to Limerick

“There wasn”t any football at my school. I didn”t start playing football competitively until I was 13.

“My dad was up the pub and one of his pals ran a team and wondered whether I fancied a game. But, even though I showed some ability, I was more interested in hurling. “I know it looks brutal on television. I didn”t have any bad injuries – maybe a broken finger but nothing serious.

“I was all set up to pursue my hurling. You aren”t paid but you represent your county. It”s as great an honour as you can receive. If you play for the senior side, generally you get a job as well. You are looked after. I played in two Munster minor finals (Under 18s) and two all-Ireland semi-finals.

“I was 16 and played in front of 50,000 at Croke Park but I was doing OK at soccer as well. My hurling coach, Pat Dolan, knew I had to give up hurling to give myself a chance.

“I struck a deal with him. If we lost in the first round of the finals, I”d quit. We were expected to beat Limerick, but we lost. That was it. If we had got through, though, I”d have carried on, and who knows what might have happened”

/12/09/article-2072330-0D8FB7A1000005DC-624_468x293.jpg” width=”468″ height=”293″ alt=”New ball game: Long in action for Tipperary against Galway” class=”blkBorder” />

New ball game: Long in action for Tipperary against Galway

Then he was snapped up in the deal that took Kevin Doyle from Cork to Reading in 2005.

“I don”t know how much I cost,” he said. “It was more-or-less nothing. They took Kevin after watching him and saw me at the same time, so the story goes, but I can”t believe someone hadn”t seen me, otherwise they were taking a real leap of faith.

“When I went to England, I spent four or five months in Reading”s Academy, then I was promoted to the first team. I was used off the bench and scored seven or eight goals when the club were first promoted to the Premier League.

“I thought, “This football is a piece of cake”. Of course, I soon found out differently as I watched and waited for my chance. It came when Kevin went to Wolves and I was pleased with my form last season. When we lost in the play-off final, I did wonder whether it would be time to move on.”

Long became the first man to appear at Croke Park as a hurler and footballer after his debut for the Republic of Ireland, and it was to his new international colleagues he turned after Albion and Leicester made plays for him.

Improving Long

Improving Long”s game: Roy Hodgson

He consulted Damien Duff and Stephen Kelly, who had played for Hodgson at Fulham, and their assurances that the Albion manager would help improve his game swayed his decision.

“It”s very clear why he has managed several of the biggest clubs in Europe. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the game.”

Now the wheel has turned full circle. The No 9 shirt has iconic status at a few clubs, certainly at the Hawthorns, where Jeff Astle and Cyrille Regis have worn it.

“The club offered me the No 9 shirt because they knew it was a big deal for me. It was only afterwards I found out about the legends like Astle and Regis who”d worn it.

“I will do my best to live up to it.”

If his meteoric rise continues, his picture will adorn the bedroom walls of many a Black Country youngster.

Bodog, West Bromwich Albion”s main sponsor, are one of the world”s largest online gaming brands: www.bodog.co.uk

Fans: Harry Redknapp and son Jamie think a lot of Long

Fans: Harry Redknapp and son Jamie think a lot of Long


My dad says Shane Long was a real handful a couple of weeks ago when West Bromwich played Tottenham.

He is such a pacy player and powerful, too – he has the kind of acceleration and strength that Gazza had in his prime, using his upper body to free himself and create space.

Once Long surges past a defender, he is in trouble. I watched him a lot at Reading and thought he was a real prospect, but I did question whether his first touch was good enough.

I thought he needed to improve his link-up play, too. He”s definitely made those improvements and is flying at West Brom – he”s scored five goals this season, including strikes against United and Chelsea.

I came up from Bournemouth to the top level and love it when a player makes that step.

There is life outside the Barclays Premier League.

Tim Cahill at Everton and Long are among those who show that there is value to be had.

Those are players who you will see chasing lost causes and showing the desire that fans appreciate.

Sometimes players who have only ever known the Premier League go through the motions. Long isn”t one of them.