"I can't believe how quickly the 20 years have gone," says Martin Peters.
"There was nothing you could say against Bobby Moore. I remember him walking up the steps to collect the World Cup at Wembley. He brushed his hair and wiped his face to make sure he looked clean to meet the Queen, picked up the trophy and 80,000 people screamed and shouted. You could just see him smiling, smiling and smiling."
Peters, now 69, knew Moore better than most. Both came through the ranks at West Ham and progressed to international level, Peters scoring in the 1966 World Cup final with another Hammers player, Geoff Hurst, whose hat-trick sealed that most famous of all England victories.
West Ham will pay tribute outside Upton Park this weekend at the site where Moore, Peters, Hurst and Ray Wilson are carved in bronze, a statue that evokes memories of England's finest hour. At Wembley on Sunday the flag of St George will fly at half-mast to mark the 20th anniversary of Moore's passing, 47 years after he embarked on the famous walk up the old stadium's steps to collect the glittering Jules Rimet trophy.
"I first met Bobby when I was 15 years old and I went to West Ham," Peters told the Observer this week. "Bobby was about 18 then and when he got in the side it was just fantastic to watch him. He was a great player no matter what position he played. Then he became captain, got picked for England and got better and better.
"He was a fantastic man. There's no doubt that he was the best defender of all time, and not only was he a defender, he took free-kicks sometimes and he would lay chances on for Geoff Hurst to score. He came out of defence and got forward a bit, it was just great for me to play in front of him at Wembley and win a World Cup."
One wonders what Moore would have made of the modern era with all the razzamatazz of the Premier League. "He was a social man," says Peters, but Moore was never one to court the limelight or act in any manner other than gentlemanly.
"He was not a shouter and a screamer, if he wanted to say something to you he'd come up and say it," Peters says. "He showed what he wanted people to do by doing it himself. He was a great man. I used to have a couple of lagers with him, although I didn't drink a lot."
Indeed, when Moore was stripped of the West Ham captaincy in 1971 by Ron Greenwood following a night spent with Jimmy Greaves, Brian Dear and Clyde Best, he did not cause a stir. Despite being unhappy with Greenwood's actions, Moore kept his counsel. "True to the man he was, Bobby kept his opinions to himself and got on with things," as George Best put it.
The Football Association will pay its respects at Wembley on Sunday, although its treatment of Moore after his playing career finished has been severely criticised. Moore was given no honorary position at the FA and instead turned his hand to media work, always keeping a dignified silence.
Many people have since lobbied for Moore to be awarded a posthumous knighthood, but no one has ever received the honour after death. "He should have been a sir, there's no doubt about that," says Peters. "The way he worked for England and the amount of games he played. Even in 1970 when we went over to Mexico he was still fantastic.
"I don't want to question the Queen, I would never do that, but certainly after all the things he did in his life as a player, a manager, and working outside of football, he was just a wonderful man. It would have been great for him and he would have loved to be a sir."
When the news came in 1993 that he had lost his battle with cancer, Peters says England was a country in mourning. "It was terrible for all the players. The funeral was very difficult to take, it was so difficult to lose him at 51. We all heard the rumours that he possibly had a problem, but he started working for the radio and I'd often see him.
"It was so sad for me because I knew he was poorly and I was driving into Brentwood where I live and I heard the news on the radio. It made me cry, I couldn't believe it. He was a great man and I'm so sorry we lost him. I'd do anything for Bobby Moore, there will never be a player like him again."
On Sunday Moore's statue outside Wembley Stadium will be awash with red and white. Wreaths will be laid, memories shared and perhaps a few tears shed. Carved in the stone at the home of English football home are the words that ring clear still: "Immaculate footballer, imperial defender, immortal hero of 1966 … gentleman of all time."
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