Up close and personal, Ken Brown formed a brilliant bond with Bobby Moore both on and off the pitch.
"Sometimes, you don't realise things until after the event but Mooro was everything that was good in the game - not only was he a fantastic footballer but he was an absolutely first-class person, too," insists the 79-year-old, once-capped, England international, who has kindly taken time out from a Caribbean cruise to share some memories of his former central-defensive partner. "It was always a total pleasure to be in his company."
Certainly, Ken could not be better placed to deliver that telling verdict on his team-mate, given the pair lined up together in the heart of the Hammers defence on no fewer than 276 occasions in the 1960s.
"We'd all heard about this young lad in the youth squad but, right from Day One against Manchester United, you could see that Bobby had the ability and that he was going to be the player," recalls Brown, who was already well-established in the newly-promoted West Ham United rearguard alongside stalwarts such as John Bond, Noel Cantwell and Malcolm Allison, when Moore made his debut in September 1958. "Ron Greenwood took over as manager a couple of seasons later and, when he correctly made him club captain, not one of senior players questioned that decision because we knew it was exactly the right thing to do.
"It never went to Bobby's head, though, and believe me there would've been enough older players to knock him back into shape but, deep down, we all knew that that it wasn't ever going to be an issue because he was just one of the boys.
"Before a game, he'd come into the dressing room and whereas we'd all have our clothes either just slung up on the peg or lying around on the bench, he would have all his gear neatly folded or hung up properly on the hook. That just summed up how immaculate he was.
"Out on the pitch he looked casual at times but underneath it all there was a sure and thorough player. I was an old-fashioned bread and butter centre-half, who just wanted to destroy things but Bobby wanted to create something every time he had the ball.
"People will tell you that he wasn't the quickest and he rarely took people on but his control and passing with either foot was just second to none. Bobby seemed to have this uncanny instinct that meant he knew exactly what he was going to do with the ball before it had even arrived at his feet. He would constantly be thinking: 'If it comes to me now, what am I going to do with it?'
"Mooro would think nothing about controlling the ball on his chest or his thigh and, when he first came into the team, I used to keep running around the back of him just in case he missed it but he never did! I can't ever remember him making a mistake so, after a while, I never bothered getting behind him to cover and his calmness seemed to rub off on everyone in the end."
Indeed, Ken followed his partner in crime up the steps to the Royal Box to collect FA Cup (1964) and European Cup Winners Cup (1965) winners medals in successive seasons, before heading back to Wembley as a spectator in 1966 to witness his fellow Hammer and England captain raise the Jules Rimet Trophy on a jubilant July afternoon.
"Even though he had lifted the World Cup, he was still the same, modest, mild-mannered old Bobby," insists Ken, whose 456 first-class outings in the claret and blue stand him in 10th-spot in the Hammers all-time appearance charts. "With that blond hair, he shone out like a beacon and he liked to get away to places, where nobody would recognise him.
"While he was always concentrating on the forthcoming Saturday's match during the later part of the week, on a Monday or Tuesday after a weekend game he would take his wife in the car down to Southend and have a few drinks by the seaside...he liked a beer, did Bobby, and that meant his missus would always end up driving him home!
"Ron Greenwood also started taking us on tours to the USA in the summer months and I think that Bobby really enjoyed those trips because he could totally relax. No-one knew him in somewhere, say, like New York and he was a very light-hearted person away from football.
"It was terrific to be around him - I don't know how it came about but I nick-named him 'Throbber' - and it was great seeing him getting away from it all because after all the adulation he'd get back home in England, he deserved those little breaks. I'd call over to him: 'Oi Throbber!' and he'd just raise his glass and smile back. As I say, lovely memories, both on and off the field.
"Think Bobby Moore, think top-notch. Looking back, Bobby was capable of producing unbelievable things out there on the pitch," concludes Ken as he prepares to head back out into the Antiguan sunshine and toast his dear and absent friend. "I'd see him do something and say to myself: 'How on Earth did he know that was going to happen?'
"But I don't think that he, personally, ever thought that he was the great footballer that we all knew that he actually was. I've always felt that I was very fortunate to play almost 500 games for West Ham United and to have played nearly 300 of those matches alongside Mooro was just a massive bonus for me.
"What more can you say? 'Throbber' was a superb person all round - really and truly, there's only one Bobby Moore."
*West Ham United would like to thank Steve Blowers for providing this interview for whufc.com