By Rob Shepherd.
This week 40 years ago Bobby Moore made his 108th and last England appearance.
At Wembley on Tuesday (November 19) Steve Gerrard is set to equal that milestone in a friendly against Germany at Wembley – the last big event of the FA’s 150th anniversary celebrations.
Gerrard could now overhaul David Beckham’s record of 115 outfield caps.
Goalkeeper Peter Shilton is the most capped player with 125 appearances, and Frank Lampard recently became England’s eight centurion.
But with Wayne Rooney on 87 appearances and at least four more years ahead of him, the Manchester United striker is on course to, er, cap them all.
It is only Moore though who has had a bronze statute built of him around the New Wembley.
Back in 1973 many felt that some day perhaps Moore would become England manager.
Who would have ever thought that the man who would make Moore’s farewell game a defeat would end up being England’s boss…?
Can’t deny it was great to see Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard presented with a golden cap to mark passing of a century of England appearances.
Those who ridiculed him when he was an emerging player (fans and a lot of press men too) must feel a bit silly now accusing him of being fat and only getting a game ‘cos his dad was assistant coach and brother-in-law to his then West Ham boss Harry Redknapp.
Trust me, apart from having been a fantastic footballer for club and country over the years “young” Frank, like his dad “big” Frank, is a top geezer.
Yes, Frank has all the trappings of fame and fortune. But unlike so many others he has not been trapped by fame and fortune.
He remembers his roots – and respects them. Just as he respects Joe Public when he is out and about, which fewer and fewer famous footballers do.
So it was typical that as Frank reflected on having passed that international milestone he was almost embarrassed that he now only has five fewer England caps than Bobby Moore.
More to the point Lamps acknowledges what an inspiration Mooro and the Boys of ’66 have been to his career. And he said it from his heart rather than offering up a soundbite.
Of course it DID help a bit that his dad, “Big “ Frank , who won two England caps, was one of Bobby Moore’s big mates…
Which brings me back to my original point: It was forty years ago this week that “Lord Bobby” won the last of his 108 caps for England in a friendly match against Italy, which England lost 1-0.
Italy won the game with a goal four minutes from the end of a dour encounter just a month after Poland had knocked England out of the qualifying stages of the 1974 World Cup finals.
It was Sir Alf Ramsey’s last game as boss as well. But who scored Italy’s winner…?
Have a look below;
Yes, none other than Fabio Capello.
Now back in November 1973 who would have been favourite to have gone on to manage England one day; England’s World Cup winning skipper and golden boy of a generation Bobby Moore or a granite faced Italian midfield bruiser who played for some club called Juventus…???
As one of Moore’s great mates Jimmy Greaves would still put it: “Funny old Game…”