Football: Upton Park salutes Moore's memory: Phil Shaw reports on an emotional East End tribute to a favourite son

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The Independent Online
WEST HAM UNITED'S followers, who have traditionally tolerated defenders as a necessary evil, turned out in force last night to honour the memory of Bobby Moore, the most imperious of them all. An Upton Park crowd of 20,311 saw their team beat a Premiership XI 2-1, and contributed an estimated pounds 200,000 towards a family trust and cancer charities.

In the year since Moore died of cancer, aged 51, a double-decker stand named after him has risen on the site of the old South Bank. Despite a downpour before the game, there were few empty seats as the football community of the East End and Essex gathered to celebrate a glorious career and mourn a wretchedly premature death.

For older spectators, some of whom must have seen the 17-year- old from Barking make his debut in 1958, it was a chance to wallow in watery-eyed nostalgia. There was the way Moore would kill a ball on his chest - 'It's a wonder he never had a hole there,' a man queuing to collect tickets remarked - and the tackle like a clamp; the positional sense and long passes both seemingly controlled by radar.

The younger generations abandoned tribal loyalties, applauding as the players from rival clubs who made up the Premiership XI were introduced. And the minute's silence was so perfectly observed that the gentle hiss of the rain sounded like a thunderstorm.

The West Ham team Moore led to the FA Cup and European Cup- Winners' Cup were warmly received, among them Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters from England's world beaters of '66. Peters had arrived looking as youthful as ever, prompting one fan to ask if he was playing. 'Not selected,' he laughed, almost regretfully.

The game itself was so low-key that Peters could probably have had a run-out. Understandably, the competitive edge had been retired along with West Ham's No 6 shirt, although Glenn Hoddle's presence ensured moments Moore would have cherished.

Tony Cottee marked his return 'home' to Upton Park by firing the Premiership XI ahead in the 15th minute. Barry Venison gifted Clive Allen the equaliser 12 minutes later, before Billy Bonds and George Graham rang the changes for the second half, which included a cameo role for Liam Brady.

The Dutchman, Joroen Boere, headed the winning goal 16 minutes from time, but the memories will live on long after this result is forgotten. A bust of the great man in the foyer of 'his' stand was unveiled by his widow to ensure as much. It is cast in bronze, even though Moore was pure gold in claret and blue.

West Ham United: Miklosko (Kelly, h/t); Brown (Gayle, h/t), Martin, Potts (Jones, 66), Rowland; Gordon (Butler, h/t), Williamson, Bishop (M Allen, 50), Holmes; Morley (Boere, h/t), C Allen.

FA Premiership XI (first half): Gunn (Norwich); Venison (Newcastle), Jobson (Oldham), Bould (Arsenal), Dorigo (Leeds); Yorke (Aston Villa), Hoddle (Chelsea), Wark (Ipswich), Wilcox (Blackburn); McClair (Manchester Utd), Cottee (Everton).

(Second Half): Pressman (Sheffield Wednesday); Summerbee (Swindon), Monkou (Southampton), Calderwood (Tottenham), Dicks (Liverpool); Rocastle (Man City), Barker (QPR), Brady (Brighton), Hodges (Sheffield Utd); Ndlovu (Coventry), Holdsworth (Wimbledon).

Referee: P Don (Hanworth Park, Middx).

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