With Bobby Moore remembered as a football great by many since his era, what better way to honour England’s 1966 World Cup winning captain by celebrating his life on the big screen during the 50th anniversary of our country’s greatest sporting triumph.
Renowned journalist, TV presenter and now producer Matthew Lorenzo, who grew up with Moore during his childhood, has rallied together the help of Wayne Rooney, Roy Hodgson, Sir Geoff Hurst, Paul Gascoigne, Frank Lampard, Russell Brand and many more to commemorate one of the world’s greatest-ever defenders in a bid to try and give Bobby the recognition he truly deserved.
Bo66y The Movie is set to be released next summer, 50 years after Moore lifted England’s sole World Cup finals success at Wembley Stadium after a sublime hat-trick from Hurst helped the Three Lions defeat West Germany 4-2 after extra-time on Saturday, July 30.
The film documentary aims to uncover the truth behind our inspiring captain, revealing never told before stories about the man from both on and off the field.
Ahead of the project’s Kickstarter fundraising campaign (http://kck.st/1IOrgUU) earlier this month, Shoot spoke exclusively to producer Matthew Lorenzo and England’s 1966 World Cup hat-trick hero Sir Geoff Hurst on their involvement in the film and their admiration for the man himself.
Matthew, what inspired you to produce a film about Bobby Moore’s life?
Matthew: “Well I was lucky enough to grow up with him. My Dad was a journalist and they were very close friends, so I got to see quite a lot of Bobby as a kid. Being a kid and having the England captain pop round the house every now and then was a thrill. Then I became a journalist, like my father. He was upper most in my contacts book, I was very proud of that. But even then I realised that I was suggesting things to Sky and they would say, “No, we don’t really need Bobby Moore”. And that was an attitude that I realised that was taken throughout his life, or towards the end of his life. And I just thought that you have to readjust things and that he deserves a lot more respect than he was afforded. He served the game so well and maybe didn’t get what he deserved at the end of it. I think there is a void there that needs filling.”
Having worked as a highly respected TV presenter for Sky, ITV and the BBC; what was it like becoming a film producer? Has it been the most challenging aspect of your journalism career?
Matthew: “Yeah, it was murder! I didn’t realise that as a presenter, you have producers running around doing all the work whilst you just smile and read a bit of autocue and interview the odd person and then go home. Now I am producer; I think God is getting his own back because everybody comes to you. Everybody’s problem ends up at your door and I’m having to work for a living. I don’t like it at all! But it will be great once it is done and it has been a challenge, as you say, and it will be a lovely thing to put on the CV and to have achieved.”
Geoff, you were also interviewed for this special film. What did you make of Matt’s idea when you first heard about it?
Geoff: “Fantastic idea! One of our greats. One hundred times for England. Captained us at the World Cup. How long have I got to talk about this? [Laughs]. Ninety times the captain of England. One of the greats which we haven’t really replaced in nearly 50 years in that position. I had the great privilege of working and playing with him for West Ham [United] and England for over 15 years. I saw him up close and personal as anybody living.”
Other than that memorable day when you both defeated West Germany 4-2, what other memories do you have of your time with Bobby?
Geoff: “I think one of the best memories I have is Bobby Moore giving me a compliment! Bobby wasn’t very talkative in terms of paying people compliments. In fact if you upset him, he would probably just raise his eyebrows and you would know you had done something wrong. He was that kind of captain for West Ham and England. But I was in the middle of a hot spell, scoring goals in the mid-1960s and we were playing Sunderland away. We won 4-1 and I scored a couple, I was right in the middle of a purple patch. And after the game, I sat in a bath. A single bath, not a group bath. And he sidled over to me by the bath and he said, “Geoff, you are f****** great at the moment aren’t you?” That comment has stuck with me forever!”
Matthew; how has the public, especially regarding the film’s fundraising, reacted to this film production?
Matthew: “Well it is funny because I left Sky, I think, seven years ago to strike up on my own and it is tough in the freelance world. You have an idea on the Monday and by Thursday, some of the world’s leading authorities have told you to go away. But in over two years of working on this, no one has said that. Everybody loved the man and everyone has been really helpful from both of his wives and his daughter, Geoff and the World Cup team. Everybody has been great.”
What can football fans expect to see in this new movie entitled ‘Bo66y’?
Matthew: “Well, most people should be aware of his story, but maybe what they are not aware of is the troubles he faced. He had two bouts with cancer; the last one actually killed him. The issues he had with the authorities, as I said before, not really looking after him and affording him the respect that he had. Right from the start; I believe, Geoff will know more than me, that he was not a natural born athlete. He was called “Chubby” as a kid. Yet he worked and worked and worked and through the people of like Malcolm Allison, he became the sort of player that he became. I think it is just a great story. What I hope is to let people know more about the man and also the lows which mirrored the highs.”
Geoff; if Bobby were to be born say 45 years later, playing professional football now, would he be regarded as one of the best players in the world in this day and age?
Geoff: “Easily! Without a question. It is very difficult sometimes to put it into context about the then and now when you talk about the greats in any profession. But I am absolutely convinced that he could play as well. He would still be the best defensive player we have in this country today. He was that good. He had a great attitude and had great composure. He had a willingness to learn and great leadership. He took responsibly like no other. There are lots of stories about him that I have seen, clips from films where he took responsibility. I think today; we still don’t have anybody in that position as a leader of our team.”
What sort of character was Bobby on and off the field?
Geoff: “Well on the field he was a complete professional. But he was also quite immaculate on the field as well, and off the field. We were playing Manchester City once and someone called Mike Summerbee, the centre forward, who got quite pally with Bobby during the game at that time. Mike used to say Moore “was the only player that he knew that ironed his money”. And that was four years ago he said that. I saw Mike when West Ham played Manchester City a couple of seasons ago at a game and Mike came out with another memoir. He said, “He is the only guy to get out of a bath not wet!” And that is how people saw him. His immaculateness if you like. And that he was the last person in the changing room to put his shorts on before you went out the door. That just sums him up! He always believed in how important it was to be the captain of England. It was a very prestigious role and he behaved accordingly – both on and off the pitch.”
You are one of just a few footballers to be knighted, congratulations! Is that the same level of recognition that Bobby deserves?
Geoff: “Oh absolutely! In fact people today sometimes refer Moore as “Sir Bobby”. I think they almost automatically think that what he achieved and looking at his life and what he did at West Ham and England that he should be knighted. I don’t think he has got the recognition that he deserves. When you look at the great players, I’m excluding me from that, from the past who have been knighted; Stanley Matthews and Tom Finney and so on, you would think that he would be up there in terms of recognition.”