A former footballer has recalled a wonderful tale about West Ham United great Bobby Moore in a new book.
West Ham have had some great players down the years.
From all time record scorer Vic Watson to Billy Bonds, Sir Trevor Brooking, Tony Cottee, Paolo Di Canio, Carlos Tevez and more recently Dimitri Payet.
But few come close to the legendary Hammer Bobby Moore.
Moore led West Ham and England during a golden era for club and country.
He remains England’s only World Cup winning captain and as such his name transcends generations despite his untimely death in 1993 aged just 51.
Regarded as a gentleman of the sport, Moore remains the undisputed icon of West Ham.
‘Oh my God… Bobby Moore stood before us’
As time goes by former teammates, opponents and friends have regaled Hammers fans with stories of Moore.
Now a new story has been told by an unlikely source.
Lee Howey, the undistinguished footballing brother of former Newcastle star Steve, recalled a chance meeting with Moore in his book Massively Violent & Decidedly Average.
Howey remembers when he was a 17 year old trainee at Ipswich playing away at Southend.
“Our last match before Christmas in my first year was away to Southend United on 21 December,” Howey said in Massively Violent & Decidedly Average.
“We weren’t allowed to play at Roots Hall, but we changed there and were minibussed to and from the pitch we did use. After the game, which we lost 2–0, Neil Emmerson, Martin Young and I were milling around outside Roots Hall.
“We were about to make our way back to the North East for Christmas and working out the walking route to the railway station when we heard a shout from behind. ‘What are you waiting for, lads?’ We turned round. Oh my God – and it very nearly was. Bobby Moore stood before us. ‘Star struck’ might be a hackneyed expression, but there is no better way to describe the moment.
‘He seemed to take a genuine interest’
“The man we had seen in all those famous, famous images from 1966 was addressing us. Our powers of speech were momentarily in retreat, but between us we managed to explain. He smiled. ‘Come with me. I’ll ring you a taxi.’
“Mr Moore was in charge of Southend at the time. We followed him to his office where he rang the cab. While we were waiting for it he asked us about ourselves, what positions we played, where we were from, what we wanted out of life and football generally. He seemed to take a genuine interest. We answered him politely and eagerly, but our solitary collective thought was: ‘It’s Bobby Moore! It’s Bobby Moore! It’s Bobby Moore!’
“All too soon the taxi arrived and we said our thank yous and goodbyes. When it pulled away we sat in complete silence, still unable to comprehend what had just happened. That was my sole and brief experience of the great man and it only reinforced the general opinion of him: that he was a true gentleman.
“All these years later I remain thrilled at the thought of that chance meeting.”
Yet another example if it was needed of what a true legend Moore was.
He is still sorely missed, gone but never forgotten.