What a great response to our piece last week on sporting hero Bobby Moore visiting Dorchester in 1980.
It was fantastic to hear from former Weymouth FC manager Stuart Morgan, who wanted to let us know that Bobby, a hero from England’s 1966 World Cup winning team, also visited the area on December 4, 1979 for a Weymouth FC vs Chelsea FC testimonial match.
Geoff Hurst, England’s hat-trick hero in that 1966 World Cup final against West Germany, and then manager of Chelsea, brought his team to Weymouth for the testimonial of fullback Bryan Lawrence and striker Derek Courtney.
Stuart knew both Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst from his time at West Ham United.
He said: “I was quite friendly with with both of them and thought I would ask Geoff if he would bring the team down and he did, even though they were in a different class to us. Then I thought I would ask Bobby if he would play. He was retired having played for Fulham and he agreed to drive down from Essex and played for Weymouth as a guest. The crowd loved it and it was a fairly full stadium.”
After the excitement of the testimonial though, Stuart saw a dip in his team’s performance.
He said: “The following Saturday we were playing Nuneaton and a lot of the players decided they wanted to play like Bobby Moore and before we knew it we were a goal down. The players were bringing the ball down in their own box, chesting it down and playing from the back. And I had to say to them ‘Look, you’re not West Ham! We just need you to win the game.’ And they did in the end – they won it 2-1.”
Having such legends of the beautiful game at the testimonial was the perfect sign off for two of his most valued players, Stuart said.
“Brian and Derek were two legends of Weymouth FC who played more than 100 games for the club. It was brilliant that Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst came to their testimonial.”
Stuart was manager of the Terras for five seasons at the club’s old ground where Asda is now and two seasons at the new ground.
He remembers: “We got promotion when I was manager and when we went to the new stadium we were at the top of the league. But we were hit by severe floods from Christmas to February and the pitch was flooded so we had to play our games at Dene Court in Bournemouth.
“By the time we came back to the stadium we had lost our momentum and Barnet won the league and got into the football league.”
Thanks also to Esme Nicholls of Weymouth for getting in touch to let us know that she remembers a visit from boxing star Henry Cooper in the 1950s.
She said: “I think he went to Woolworths in Weymouth and was promoting Brut. I spoke to him and he was a very sweet man.”
Esme said she enjoyed watching this year’s World Cup, especially the England games, and would love to see some of the present England stars, including captain Harry Kane visit Weymouth or Dorchester one day.