Beating cancer made Bobby Moore an even greater hero before England's 1966 win
Less than two years before England beat West Germany on that magical summer’s day, he had fought — and beaten — testicular cancer, aged just 23.
Yet Moore’s cancer was kept secret.
“Bobby had been in that dark place before Lance Armstrong was even born,” his first wife, Tina, wrote in her autobiography.
“In many ways it was more devastating. In those days cancer was something you just didn’t mention, a taboo word, a fearful prospect.
"All I could think was, he’s only 23 and has been handed his death warrant.”
In November 1964, Moore had emergency surgery to remove a testicle. His cancer kept him from playing football for just three months.
THREE MONTHS! Less than two years later he captained England to our only World Cup victory.
Only a handful of people — his doctors and nurses, his wife — ever knew the mountain he had climbed.
“What a man,” Tina Moore reflected as her golden-haired husband lifted that World Cup.
“What a man.”
The official line was that Moore, above with Tina in ’66, suffered a groin injury in training.
It is a bitter irony that he insisted on total secrecy about his cancer — his West Ham and England teammates never knew, let alone the general public — as if his illness would have made us think less of him.
When of course his secret battle made him even more of a hero.
But Moore’s attitude to cancer was typical of the time.
When my father was dying of lung cancer in the late Eighties, he never told his family. And when he collapsed and was rushed into hospital, my mum could not bring herself to say the name of the thing that was killing him.
Three weeks later we buried him.
And nobody ever mentioned the word “cancer”.
But how different our attitude to cancer is today.
Father Ted writer Graham Linehan revealed this week that he has been fighting testicular cancer.
Graham, 50, even found it in him to make a joke about his illness. “I got a bit of bad news recently,” he posted. “A little touch of the old cancer.
“Luckily, ball cancer is one of the best ones to have (sorry ladies!) and they got rid of it all pretty quickly, along with a ball.
"Bye ball! I’ll never forget the good times!”
Cancer Research says that the cancer survival rate has doubled in the last 40 years in the UK.
Half of the 360,000 diagnosed every year now survive for ten years or more.
Greater awareness, improved technology and earlier diagnosis all play a part.
And so does removing the stigma around cancer.
Most of us would struggle to be as light-hearted about catching cancer as the writer of Father Ted.
But all of us must know by now that there is no shame in having cancer.
Tina Moore wrote of her husband’s cancer: “What had happened struck at his livelihood, his masculinity, his very existence on the planet.”
Moore’s silence about his illness is horribly easy to understand. I saw the same silence around my father.
In the bad old days, even the bravest of souls did not speak about their cancer.
It is heartbreaking to think of the generations who fought cancer without ever finding the words to talk about it, the countless victims who suffered in silence.
By the age of 25, Moore had beaten his illness and beaten West Germany in a World Cup Final.
But cancer returned later in life to claim him.
On Valentine’s Day 1993, Moore announced that he had bowel and colon cancer. He died ten days later at the age of just 51.
The establishment never got around to giving him a knighthood or awarding him anything like the recognition he deserved.
But he remains an inspiration to his nation and casts a giant shadow over every player who pulls on an England football shirt.
Moore’s secret battle when he was just 23 surely rates as his greatest triumph.
If only he had told us.
If only we had known.
And when you see his laughing, dimpled grin, you can only echo the words of the young wife who was by his side in sunshine and in shadow.
What a man.
Defeating trolls the easy way
THE late Love Island star Sophie Gradon called for action against trolls who drive people to suicide just a few weeks before she is thought to have taken her own life.
Sophie, 32, told a cyber bullying conference in March that “she descended into a dark place” after poisonous online bullying following her appearance on Love Island.
Sophie told the conference: “Online bullying is as destructive as face-to-face bullying, sometimes worse.
“Trolls leave you feeling vulnerable, unsafe and upset.”
Three months later Sophie was found dead at her parents’ home near Newcastle.
But what Sophie didn’t say – and what the generation that has grown up with social media is yet to learn – is that none of this stuff is compulsory.
You don’t have to be on Twitter.
You don’t have to be on Facebook.
You do not have to be anywhere that cowards, creeps and bullies can make you feel bad about yourself.
Any time we choose, we all have the power to turn off the taps of the social media sewer.
Diego: wine always me?
THIS fabulous World Cup was blighted by Diego Maradona’s obscene gestures at the crowd when Argentina were romping through to the knockout stage.
It turns out that Diego has an excuse for his crass behaviour.
Apparently, he had been drinking white wine when he usually sticks to red.
I’m so glad we got that sorted out.
For a moment there, I was worried that Diego Maradona is a fat, over-indulged Argentinian airhead.
Nurse – the Malbec!
HELENA CHRISTENSEN, 49, has no trouble at all slipping into the metal bikini, she first wore 27 years ago, for an In Style magazine photoshoot.
It just goes to show what stunning results can be achieved with exercise, diet and a regular dab of three-in-one oil.
Skirting the issue
HERE are a couple of things you probably never had when you were at school – “down-blousing” and “up-skirting” – the modern habit of fun-loving pupils covertly taking pictures of female teachers down their top or up their skirt and then putting the pictures on the internet.
The mystery is not why these students have phones in a classroom.
The real question is why are these vicious little scumbags not being done for sexual assault?
Corbyn is not friend of Forces
YESTERDAY was Armed Forces Day and, for the second year running, the day when we honour our servicemen was snubbed by Jeremy Corbyn.
I hear you ask – oh, but perhaps Jeremy’s friends in Hamas and Hezbollah were having their summer fete on the same day?
Or perhaps he had a previous booking at a Provisional IRA picnic or some Sinn Fein shindig?
No – in fact Corbyn skipped Armed Forces Day because he was at an NHS rally.
Tory MP James Cleverly, a former Army officer, said Corbyn’s reluctance to attend an event on Armed Forces Day proves Jezza’s “long-term ambivalence to our services personnel”.
You mean a state of having simultaneous conflicting feelings?
That hardly describes Corbyn’s attitude to our Armed Forces.
Corbyn snubs our Armed Forces because he despises them.
There’s nothing ambivalent about it.
Get shot of our monarchy or enjoy half a cappuccino
With the UK population standing at just over 66 million, that means the Royal Family cost one pound plus loose change for every person in the land.
Or we could get shot of our monarchy and all have half a cappuccino.
Taking the Michael
I DO find it odd when I hear Michael Gove and Scots Tory leader Ruth Davidson referred to as the “dream team” who might possibly replace Theresa May if she cocks-up Brexit.
I love both of them dearly, but if you are dreaming about Michael and Ruth then you are probably eating too much spicy food too close to bedtime.
One can't quite remember the name of that flaming actress
LOVELY pictures of flame-haired actress Susan Sarandon meeting the Queen and Prince Philip at a polo match in Windsor.
Although I think they both thought that Fergie is looking well these days.
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