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Bobby Moore, the Man in Full By Matt Dickinson

Release date: 12th September, 2014
Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press

List Price: £20
Our Price: £9
You Save: £11 (55%)
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The apocryphal story goes that after watching West Ham’s stars glide out of the home dressing room before a league match in 1965, Bill Shankly doubled back to inform his players that Geoff Hurst looked ill, Martin Peters was obviously carrying an injury and “that Bobby Moore can hardly walk. And he has dandruff.”

Moore’s own list of his shortcomings are quoted in Matt Dickinson’s outstanding biography. “As I recall,” Moore once said, “[my] faults boiled down to the fact that I wasn’t very fast, I wasn’t very good at heading and I wasn’t very good at tackling. I can’t actually remember what I was supposed to be good at.”

In fact, though one-paced, Moore was an accomplished tackler and good in the air, thanks to his excellent timing and ability to read the game.

He is, of course, one of English football’s iconic figures, famed for leading his country to their only World Cup success, his image emblazoned upon our memory banks holding the Jules Rimet trophy aloft, though he was only on his teammates’ shoulders for just eight seconds. His success led to the erection of a statue in his honour outside of Wembley where he stares down with a benevolence befitting a man renowned for his great generosity of spirit.

His memory has been cherished with such steadfastness that he is regarded as one of our greatest defenders, a flawless character, a man to be admired.

There’s no doubt he was a very popular man, what might be called a man’s man, yet he was shunned by the football establishment, eventually finding work as a radio commentator, driving to matches with his mate, the commentator Jonathan Pearce.

Yet, though lionised following his death from cancer at a desperately early age, he was no saint, but a complicated, fastidious man. His exterior calm and neatness belied an interior clutter, hid his complexities.

Dickinson has not done a hatchet job (he writes far too well for that), but succeeds in dismantling Moore’s “Dianafication”. The former England captain was a heavy drinker, conducted an extra-marital affair, ridiculed Sir Alf Ramsey in front of other England players, was a frequent drink-driver and engaged in blazing rows with his first wife, Tina.

By identifying his faults, Dickinson makes Moore sound more human. He may have omitted to mention the limp and the dandruff, but one suspects this excellent biography comes much close to describing the real Bobby Moore.


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