This book should come with a health warning: ‘Contents may cause readers to throw objects in a violent manner and swear excessively’. Why? Because they will be thinking ‘Why didn’t I think of this first?’.
Tim Crane’s idea is as straight forward and, when you think about it, glaringly obvious as its title, and once the rest of football wakes up to it, expect other clubs to rush to create similar tributes to their greats. Not that many of them can hold a candle to Bobby Moore, of course, so it is only fitting that he leads the way. Over the years, many ex-players and hangers-on have been quick to talk about ‘the Bobby I knew’, but there are few better placed to give a real insight into the man than his work colleagues — those who played alongside him
Whilst the reminiscences of such club legends as Sir Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters are well known and have been heard many times before, Crane’s labour of love also takes in the memories of some of West Ham’s forgotten men, like Andy Smillie, Peter Shearing and Harry Obeney. Bit-part players maybe, but all with a story worth listening to. Some of Moore’s 89 West Ham team-mates have passed away but where they are not available, the author has tracked down and spoken to their nearest and dearest to get stories from as close to the horse’s mouth as possible.
Not only is there a wealth of stories — like classmates of the 14-year-old Billy Bonds being disappointed it wasn’t someone famous when a young Moore was sent to his school to present prizes — but also holiday snaps and wedding photos, showing just how much of a team West Ham were, on and off the pitch, and how in both settings, Moore was at the heart of the action.
The imminent move away from Upton Park and the pitch where so many club legends were created has created an environment for huge nostalgia, but to use such a dismissive term to describe a book like this would be an insult. Crane has created a unique time capsule of memories of one of the most important parts of the club’s history, and it is one for which everyone who cares about West Ham should be hugely grateful. It is hard to imagine any true Irons fan who would not want to read every word of it
* Order your copy now by sending a cheque for £28 (which includes p&p) made payable to Tim Crane and sent to: Mr T Crane, 47 Glengall Grove, Cubitt Town, London E14 3NE. Alternatively, use the link: www.bobbymoore89. co.uk