AddThis SmartLayers

‘I was Bobby Moore’s alter ego,’ Sunday columnist recalls

Bobby MooreA regional newspaper columnist has recalled “being Bobby Moore” as a new TV series about the former England football captain reaches its conclusion.

Mike Lockley, of Birmingham’s Sunday Mercury, has remembered his time ghost writing the World Cup winning skipper’s Sunday Sport columns during the 1980s.

Mr Moore, pictured above left, died in 1993, aged 51, and is currently the subject of ITV series Tina & Bobby, due to conclude tomorrow night.

Writing for the Mercury, Mike recalled his time impersonating the defender.

He wrote: “I was Bobby Moore. Seriously, I was Bobby Moore or rather the England captain’s alter-ego. And I was well-paid to impersonate one of the greatest footballers this nation has ever seen.

“Not that I possessed Bobby’s dashing looks, sublime soccer skills or wealth. But I was a better writer than the Hammers’ hero – and that earned me the plum job of being Bobby Moore, the sports reporter, not the England captain.

“The role – a dream for any fan of the beautiful game – was clinched during an early 1980s stint with the salacious tabloid Sunday Sport.

“Each frantic Saturday, former football stars were paid to attend matches and describe the action during frequent phone calls to waiting, fraught reporters. Today, the ex-players would either tweet or text details.

“Back then, they had to wrestle for the limited phones made available to journalists attending matches. Their brief conversations were turned into purple prose by the hacks – and would appear in the following day’s paper under their names and pictures.”

Mike also ghost wrote for other footballers, including Arsenal’s Charlie George and Liverpool’s Tommy Smith.

He added: “A number simply failed to ‘ring in’ after partaking of half-time libations. One famously engaged in a violent altercation while giving his assessment of the action. But gradually, I was elevated to the lofty status of being Bobby, a man given the impressive status of Sunday Sport sports editor.

“The World Cup hero – now the subject of three-part ITV drama, Tina And Bobby – was polite, punctual but, at times, a little less than animated. Squeezing out enough detail to fill a tabloid page could be hard work, even if the pitch action was thrilling.

“‘Sounds like it’s all kicking off at Stamford Bridge,’ I’d bellow down the phone, desperate for info. ‘Yeah,’ he’d reply in clipped, Cockney tones, ‘not a bad game.’

“But Bobby, who died in 1993, aged only 51, was always quick to praise. He’d ring in and announce: ‘Like what you did there’. He was sometimes moved to inform me he was ‘well ‘appy’ with my report.”

One comment

You can follow all replies to this entry through the comments feed.
  • January 31, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Interesting stuff, but it always seemed wrong that Moore should be involved with such a publication as the Sunday Sport. It perhaps summed up how ostracised he was from English football’s inner circle in later years.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(1)