Brian Moore (commentator)

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Brian Moore
Born (1932-02-28)28 February 1932
Benenden, Kent, England, UK
Died 1 September 2001(2001-09-001) (aged 69)
Sports commentary career
Genre(s) Commentator & presenter
Sports Football

Brian Baden Moore (28 February 1932 – 1 September 2001) was a British sports commentator and television presenter who covered nine World Cups and more than 20 Cup finals.

Early life[edit]

Moore was born in Benenden, Kent and educated at Cranbrook School, Kent, which was also the school of fellow commentators Peter West and Barry Davies.

Career[edit]

Brian Moore began his career in newspapers, working for The Exchange Telegraph for two years before moving to The Times in 1958. In 1961, Moore became a football commentator and presenter on BBC Radio and the Corporation's first football correspondent, in 1963. Moore and Alan Clarke were behind the mic for BBC Radio when England won the World Cup in 1966 – with Maurice Edelston as summariser.[1] Moore also covered the FA Cup Final from 1964 to 1967, and European Cup Winners' Cup victories for Tottenham Hotspur (1963) and West Ham United (1965), and Celtic's European Cup triumph in 1967.

London Weekend Television[edit]

Shortly after that Moore moved to London Weekend Television, which was building up to its launch on the ITV network in 1968. Enticed across by head of sport Jimmy Hill, Moore would become synonymous with ITV Sport over the next three decades. Although ITV had covered League football before, the launch of The Big Match in 1968 began to garner the network a reputation as a respected alternative to the BBC.

First success[edit]

Moore's first big ratings success came in 1970 as the chairman of ITV's highly innovative World Cup coverage. Although a panel of football experts was not entirely new, Moore and Hill presided over a month of football debate – and glorious action – that bristled with controversy and charisma. Malcolm Allison, Derek Dougan, Pat Crerand and Bob McNab were dubbed the "Midnight Cowboys" by the press, due to the late night kick-offs and viewers deserted the BBC in droves, the only time ITV have beaten the BBC when the two have gone head to head with the same live event. It set the standard for all TV football panels of the future. In subsequent years, outspoken manager Brian Clough would often be a pundit on ITV and developed a strong friendship with Moore.

Career outside of football[edit]

Although he will primarily be remembered as a commentator, Moore presented a number of flagship ITV Sport shows including Saturday lunchtime preview On The Ball and Midweek Sports Special. After flirting with a return to the BBC (he admitted to being tempted by the Corporation's offer that he could also present coverage of cricket, which he loved) in the late 1970s he was also offered a six-part documentary series Brian Moore Meets... which featured the likes of Kevin Keegan, Niki Lauda and Björn Borg.

The song The Game by Tackhead featured vocals by Moore providing a commentary of the song.[1]

Brian Moore also lent his voice to the Liverpool F.C. novelty song 'Anfield Rap', rapping two verses, the second of which was an appeal for then England manager Bobby Robson to select Steve McMahon for the England team.

Well Steve McMahon sure can rap, it's about time he had an England cap. So come on Bobby Robson, he's the man, 'cause if anyone can, Macca can!

Accomplishments[edit]

In his prime as a commentator Moore produced many magic moments. Perhaps his most famous line was "it's up for grabs now!" during the 1989 league decider between Liverpool and Arsenal, when Michael Thomas scored a dramatic late goal to win Arsenal the title. He was also well known for using a stock phrase "and it's in there!" to describe a goal.

During thirty years at ITV, Moore commentated on European triumphs by Arsenal, Liverpool, Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Everton and Aberdeen.

Brian Moore's commentary from the winning goal of Aston Villa's 1982 European Cup win over Bayern Munich is displayed on a giant banner across the North Stand of Villa Park:

Shaw, Williams, prepared to adventure down the left. There's a good ball played in for Tony Morley. Oh, it must be! It is! Peter Withe!!

He also covered the FA Cup Final on ITV every year from 1969 to 1988 and again in 1998. Brian was also at the microphone at six European Championships between 1972 and 1996 – missing 1984 due to England's absence.

Strangely he was not always at the heart of the action at the World Cup, working solely as presenter in 1970, 1974, 1978 and 1982. In 1986 he presented the coverage from London for most of the tournament, before flying out to commentate on the final. From 1990 to 1998 he commentated throughout the tournament, including the infamous England vs Argentina second round match where the world saw David Beckham sent off for flicking a leg at Diego Simeone.

Retirement[edit]

He retired as a commentator in 1998 after describing France's 1998 World Cup final victory on at the Stade de France against Brazil, but he continued to broadcast, presenting an interview programme for Sky Sports in 1999, and hosting programmes for BBC Radio Five Live and TalkSport. His time on Talksport included hosting Inside the Boardroom, where club chairmen and directors would join him in the studio and field phone-in questions from fans.

Personal life[edit]

Moore married Betty in 1955.

He was also a lifelong supporter of Gillingham F.C., and a director at the club for 7 years. As a consequence he was the most popular choice to have a new stand at the club's Priestfield Stadium named after him. A fanzine devoted to the club is also named in honour of Moore, called Brian Moore's Head Looks Uncannily Like London Planetarium, a line from Dickie Davies's Eyes by the cult indie band Half Man Half Biscuit.

Moore suffered from serious heart problems in his later years and twice underwent life-saving surgery for blocked arteries. After the first health scare he became a regular churchgoer and a committed Christian. He died at the age of 69 on the same day that England beat Germany 5–1 in Munich during the qualifying stages of the 2002 World Cup.

His close friend, the author and sports journalist Norman Giller said when delivering the eulogy at his funeral: "Brian was a refined, modest man whose next boast would have been his first. Yet he had much to boast about, a supreme commentator, consummate broadcaster, and, above all, a caring, considerate human being, loyal colleague and devoted family man. A bright light has gone out on the worlds of sport and broadcasting."

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Game entry in Tackhead discography

External links[edit]