3 December 2023 9:26 PM
Tina Moore (left), the first wife of legendary footballer Bobby Moore, is distressed after her ex husband's red England shirt he wore when he lifted the 1966 World Cup somehow went missing from her home and ended up in the hands of an unknown private buyer. Pictured: Tina and her daughter Roberta

Tina, the first wife of legendary footballer Bobby Moore, is at sixes and sevens. We’ve arranged to meet in a swish London hotel to discuss the distressing fate of the red England shirt her husband wore when he lifted the 1966 World Cup which, as revealed exclusively in yesterday’s Daily Mail, somehow went missing from her home and ended up in the hands of an unknown private buyer.

But, by a curious twist of fate, I’ve unknowingly booked the same room in the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington that she shared with her husband Bobby on that triumphant night. Tina is, by her own description, a ‘spiritual’ woman, and says: ‘I haven’t been back to this hotel since. It’s weird, isn’t it? I think it could have been this room we stayed in.’

She looks out of the window. ‘It was this room.’

‘There.’ She points to a first-floor balcony. ‘That’s where the team came out and we [the wives and girlfriends] joined them to wave to the crowds,’ she tells me and her daughter Roberta, now 58, who is with us. The memories of Bobby – who died of bowel cancer in 1993, at the age of 51 – start to overwhelm Tina. You can see it in the way her face lights up like a Sixties snapper’s flashbulb one minute, her eyes swimming with tears the next.

Tina Moore (left), the first wife of legendary footballer Bobby Moore, is distressed after her ex husband’s red England shirt he wore when he lifted the 1966 World Cup somehow went missing from her home and ended up in the hands of an unknown private buyer. Pictured: Tina and her daughter Roberta 

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Bobby Moore kisses the Jules Rimet Trophy as George Cohen, Jackie Charlton and Geoff Hurst look on after they had defeated West Germany 4 – 2 in the World Cup final at Wembley, July 30 1966

She looks down to the high street, which is choked with traffic today.

‘That whole street thronged with people cheering. It was amazing to look out at them. Bobby was lovely. He kissed the Jules Rimet cup [as the World Cup trophy was then called] then he handed it to me and kissed me, possibly somewhat less passionately than he’d kissed the cup. It meant so much to him.’

With her sense of fashion and cover-girl looks Tina was, if you like, the original WAG, although compare her to the likes of Rebekah Vardy and Co at your peril.

‘I never consider myself a WAG,’ she says. ‘Today they get more attention than the footballers. It’s ridiculous. They’ve done nothing and they get millions. What for? I just don’t get it. Until Bobby played in the World Cup, wives and girlfriends hadn’t really been involved in football but we moved from the back page to the front that day.

‘The atmosphere was something I’ll never forget. The extraordinary feeling of joy and euphoria – the elation.’

WAG or not, Tina, now pushing 80 and a great-grandmother, remains fashionably stylish in NU shirt and leather pants. You sense, as she speaks about that wondrously happy day more than half a century on, that she still hears those roars of applause and chants of ‘For he’s a jolly good fellow’ for manager Sir Alf Ramsey and England captain Bobby.

She has never really stopped loving Bobby, who broke her heart when he left her for air hostess Stephanie Parlane.

Bobby never stopped caring for Tina either. They never said an unkind word about each other before or after they divorced in 1986 after 24 years of marriage. And Bobby left every piece of footballing memorabilia – including his famous red shirt – to the woman who had selflessly supported him throughout his playing career.

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Bobby Moore is pictured on holiday with his wife Tina and children in 1969 

Today, the image of Bobby hoisted high on the shoulders of his team-mates with the World Cup held aloft stands as the most iconic in the history of English football. And the shirt he’s wearing is now worth a fortune – especially after the shirt Diego Maradona wore during the infamous ‘Hand of God’ World Cup sold for an eye-watering £7.14 million last year.

But it has disappeared from Tina’s collection along with many items of kit – including the valuable yellow shirt he got from Pele. Moore famously swapped his white shirt with the Brazilian legend in the 1970 World Cup when England lost 1-0 in the group stages. To his family, the items are priceless.

‘Dean [their son] loved that yellow shirt,’ says Tina. ‘Bobby used to say to him, ‘It’s your shirt’ and he would wear it and sleep in it.’

Tina is moved to tears. Dean, who was born two years after the 1966 World Cup, died at the age of 43 in 2011 from diabetic ketoacidosis – a serious condition that affects people with diabetes when their body starts to run out of insulin.

Dean, who had a much-loved daughter Poppy, now a mother of three herself, had been dead for three days before his body was discovered. There is not a day that goes by that Tina does not miss her son.

‘I love him so much. It’s hard. He’s such a sweetheart – a really good man.’ Tina slips unconsciously from the past to the present tense as she speaks for the first time about Dean’s death.

Telling how she heard the news, she recalls: ‘I was in Ireland. I’d seen Dean before I left and he didn’t look well.

‘He said he was going to see the doctor. He’d been spending a lot of time with me so I said, ‘OK, when I come back we’re going to go to Miami.’

‘Anyway, I woke up the morning we were about to leave Ireland and I’d been dreaming about Bobby. I told the person I was with about it. I said, ‘It’s weird. Bobby came to me in my dream.’ The dream was so real – so vivid.

‘When I came back to London I tried to ring Dean. He didn’t answer so I left a message saying, ‘Dean, if you don’t ring me or text me I’m going to come over tomorrow to see you.’ I didn’t hear from him.

‘I got in a taxi to go to Notting Hill where he was staying. I kept trying to call and was starting to really panic.

‘I rang the concierge at his block of flats. He said, ‘I’m really sorry, Tina, but the police are here.’

‘Dean had been dead for three days on the floor. I fell on my knees in the taxi. It was heartbreaking.

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Moore’s iconic red shirt has somehow gone missing and ended up in the hands of an unknown private buyer 

‘When the police told me how long he’d been laying there I went over everything in my mind and realised he’d died the night Bobby came to me in my dream.

‘I know he’s with Bobby now, so do you really think Bobby or I would have given away the shirt that was so close to our son’s heart?’

As the Daily Mail revealed yesterday, this is what has been claimed happened to the shirts that are now in the hands of a mysterious private buyer.

‘The shirts were in a sports bag in the attic,’ says Tina. ‘The bag had a zip around the bottom, which Bobby would have put his shoes in. We used it for storing the shirts from his England career. He had quite a few. When we split up, Bobby left me everything. He said, ‘Tina, you’ve always been there for me. I want you to have it all because I know you’ll look after it.’

‘Two years before the World Cup he’d been diagnosed with testicular cancer. I was six months pregnant with Roberta at the time. When the surgeon told me I said, ‘I don’t want Bobby to know.’ In those days the next-of-kin had the right not to tell the person, and cancer was such a scary thing. I didn’t know if he was going to live or die.

‘I went to a Catholic church to say a prayer for him and spoke to the priest. I needed to share my burden with someone. I never told Bobby. We never discussed it.’

Tina explains how her husband only knew he had a growth, but not that it was cancerous. Bobby later had a testicle removed.

Tina said: ‘Once he’d had the operation, I felt he needed to focus upon fighting for his place on the England team without worrying, and he got his place back. He was very determined.

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The shirt has disappeared from Tina’s collection along with many items of kit – including the valuable yellow shirt he got from Pele

‘That day at Wembley in 1966, when he ran out of the tunnel leading the team, the crowd went crazy. The cheers were deafening – something I’ve never again experienced in my life. It was amazing.

‘Bobby looked so handsome and striking. Normally the England team would have worn white but, because that was also Germany’s colours, they were wearing red.

‘I have so many memories but the biggest is of him raising the trophy. Everyone was cheering and I remember thinking, ‘My God, if everyone knew about the cancer and the terrible, terrible adversity he’s overcome they’d be cheering even louder.’ I was so proud of him.’

She falls silent, looking out once more on to that first-floor balcony. ‘After we stood there we went on to the Playboy Club. The Bunny hostesses were all over the place. Burt Bacharach was there. He was on the piano and Bobby – he fancied himself as a singer – was singing 1-2-3.’ She snaps her fingers in rhythm to the 1960s hit.

‘It was a really big party and there were so many funny stories from that night. I’ll tell you one quickly.

‘The players didn’t get much money back then. Bobby got about £100 a week but it was never about money. It was about England, about patriotism.

‘Anyway they’d given one of the player’s wives – I think it was Blackburn Rovers winger John Connelly’s wife Sandra – £50 to get an outfit. She’d gone to Harrods and apparently bought a beaded top. John went up to their bedroom, and I think it was five or six weeks they [the England players] had been away. He knocks on the door. She’s opened it and he says, ‘Oh darling, you look amazing. I haven’t seen you for so long. How about a quickie?’ ‘

Tina, a brilliant mimic, slips into Sandra’s Lancashire accent. ‘She said, ‘You must be joking. I’ve just had my hair done and I’ve blown fifty quid on this top. No way!’ I love that story.’

Bobby and Tina used to ‘laugh a lot’. It was one of the many things that bound them together – and why it came as such a devastating shock to her when she discovered his infidelity with Stephanie.

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Bobby and Tina used to ‘laugh a lot’. It was one of the many things that bound them together – and why it came as such a devastating shock to her when she discovered his infidelity with Stephanie

‘When I found out, it was the biggest shock. I adored Bobby.’ The tears begin to fall. ‘I’m emotional. I can’t say more. He was a lovely man. He was my best friend and the only man I’d ever known. I’d been a virgin when we met.

‘It was really hard. Bobby was so torn. He said he’d never stopped loving me but he’d fallen for someone else.

‘Looking back, I can see he was lost at that time. When his playing career finished, football turned its back on him and he was deeply depressed. I think that’s when he looked outside his marriage. He had always been a one-woman man.

‘He felt so guilty. He said he wanted to work it out and for us to stay together as a family but he kept coming and going for what seemed like an eternity. When he came back, he never completely unpacked. It was pretty nerve-racking. When you see the man you love go to the bathroom with a washbag under his arm, you know he isn’t really settled.

‘One day I said, ‘Bobby I can’t go on like this. I’m going to have a bath and when I get out of that bath you’ve got to decide to make an effort or go.’ When I got out, he’d gone.’

After separating from Bobby, a devastated Tina left Britain for Miami ‘to try to turn my life around’ in the late Eighties. When she heard Bobby was dying of cancer, she was in turmoil.

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Moore kissing Tina during a banquet in honour of the 1966 World Cup squad

‘I flew back with Bobby’s trophies for him to hold one last time. Roberta took them to him. I wrote him a letter and said I loved him and that he’d always have a special place in my heart.

‘I was back in Miami when he died. I went to a church but it was locked. I sat on the steps and cried. He’d been such a big part of my life.’

Tina hadn’t given much thought to the shirts which, in those days, were not regarded as valuable collectables. She presumed they were still in that sports bag until she began sorting through the memorabilia decades later, only to discover the bag was missing.

‘I spoke to friends and retraced my footsteps trying to find them. I’m actually quite a disciplined person who files everything away. I couldn’t for the life of me find out where they’d been misplaced and there’s no way I’d ever have given them away.’

For years afterwards, Tina searched high and low for them in vain until, in 2021, Roberta received a phone call from the Football Association, saying her father’s shirt had been found.

It was to feature in a coffee-table book charting the history of England football shirts, commissioned by the FA, that was about to go to press. She called her mother, who believed it to be a fake.

‘When they [the FA] spoke to me to say the shirt had been authenticated and had been found at a general auction of an unknown deceased person, I said, ‘I find that really hard to believe because all his memorabilia was left to me.’

‘Then they said it had been found with the Pele shirt, which made it a whole different ball game because I knew both shirts had been in the attic together along with all his other England shirts.’

Tina instructed her lawyer to investigate but, after racking up £33,000 in fees, is being met with what she describes as ‘a wall of silence’.

The FA has told her they understand the private buyer wishes to remain anonymous and they cannot help. She is now pleading for whoever they are to come forward.

‘Who knows who’s got them. I haven’t got a clue,’ she says. ‘But those shirts belong to our family – to me, to Bobby’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We’d like to loan them to a football museum or the FA so everyone has an opportunity to see what’s part of this country’s footballing history.

‘A World Cup isn’t an easy thing to win, is it? No England team has done it before or since. I don’t expect to see it happen again in my lifetime.

‘Bobby entrusted those shirts to me and they were mislaid. I just feel a lovely way to finish my life would be to bring them home again to where they belong – with Bobby’s family.’

Source : https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12003069/Tina-Moore-says-Bobby-Moore-trusted-missing-red-shirt-wore-1966-World-Cup-triumph.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490&rand=1270

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