The Liberty five-a-side team have claimed the first Bobby Moore Fund Championship but the real winner on the day was the charity itself with vital funds and awareness raised in the fight against bowel cancer.
The finals at the Boleyn Ground this week followed regional heats across the country with scores of five-a-side teams taking part in the nationwide competition. Liberty had won the Southampton event and then emerged victorious on a day when the wet weather in east London failed to dampen the enthusiasm of all taking part. The West Ham United legend's widow Stephanie Moore and his World Cup-winning team-mate George Cohen were on hand to present the trophies to the victorious team and plans are already afoot for the 2009 event.
"It has been terrific," said Stephanie after the trophy ceremony. "There has been a marvellous atmosphere and very good quality of football. We hope to have raised £15,000 for Bobby Moore Research for Cancer UK so football is a winner and Cancer Research has raised this money. To be able to play here at West Ham is most mens' dream so once again the charity is very grateful to West Ham and the board for allowing us to have this final here.
"It really is a tremendous draw for the teams to be able to come and play here. We are building and building our relationship with West Ham and it is going from strength to strength. This is absolutely integral to our success." Stephanie set the Bobby Moore Fund up with the support of Cancer Research UK after his tragic death at the age of just 51 in 1993. The club has been fully committed to supporting the campaign and has backed many fundraising initiatives - particularly in this past season.
"If we can make bowel cancer glamorous by being involved with West Ham we can save lives on many different levels. It is very important for the charity. Of course on a personal level, it was Bobby's home and he played here his entire career bar just a bit at the end." As well as the club's backing, Stephanie had special words for the encouragement she gets whenever she meets fans. "It is marvellous. I am totally indebted to the supporters at West Ham. They have always supported the charity. I can't say thank you enough."
She added: "One in three people will have cancer at some point in their lives and one in four of us will die from cancer so there is no family that is not touched by cancer. So it is very important that we all do our bit to raise funds for research." It is clear to Stephanie that the money being raised is making a difference. "We are making headway. I have seen incredible changes in the 15 years since Bobby died and I think Bobby would be really touched to see West Ham get behind the charity in his memory."