Bobby Moore and the Sixties

Lifelong West Ham United fan and author Tim Crane looks ahead to Saturday's Barclays Premier League visit of Sunderland, which will be themed in honour of Bobby Moore and the Sixties - the golden era in Hammers history...

It is now 23 years since Bobby Moore prematurely left our world. His legacy remains colossal and will outlive us all.

His combined domestic, European and world successes have never been matched by any Englishman in the history of our game.

On Saturday, his former teammates have returned to the Boleyn Ground as a mark of respect for their captain. It is a poignant reunion of the Club’s history makers.

These are the very players who helped realise the dreams of thousands. They are the reason so many of us follow the Club, the great performers whom our forefathers took us to see through clicking turnstile and swaying crowds. They fulfilled expectation, beat the best, brought home the silverware via the streets of east London and, a couple of them – Sir Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters – even managed to help Bobby lift the World Cup.

Quite simply, they raised the bar of achievement at West Ham United and are the measure for any future player wearing the famous Claret and Blue shirt.

Only seven Hammers in the history of the Club have won both the FA Cup and a European trophy. Alongside Bobby Moore, they form the Magnificent Seven and we are fortunate to have four of them with us here today – Ken Brown, Sir Geoff Hurst, Jack Burkett and Ron Boyce.

The remaining two, Jim Standen and John Sissons now live in California and Cape Town, respectively and were unable to attend today’s match. Both took the time to call and relay their warmest wishes to both the Moore and Greenwood families as well as their teammates for today’s tribute.

Increasing the frisson of excitement with their attendance today are European Cup Winners’ Cup winner Brian Dear, FA Cup winners Peter Brabrook and Eddie Bovington, former goalkeeper and part of the successful 1965 European campaign Alan Dickie, 1963 FA Youth Cup final four-goal hero Martin Britt and the goalkeeper and forward from that youth side, Colin Mackleworth and Peter Bennett respectively.

Last but not least Bobby’s centre-half partner from the late 1960s, Alan Stephenson.

These heroes will be presented to the crowd on matchday, giving the Claret and Blue Army an opportunity to thank them - and the late, great Bobby Moore - for the part they played in an unfogettable decade in West Ham United history.