It’s pretty clear to see that his head DOES look uncannily like London Planetarium, but why is the fanzine named after Brian Moore? Well, to Gills fans he was more than just the voice of football – he was one of us, too.
A tribute to a gentleman and a true Gills fan
The recent loss of Brian Moore was felt right across the British game. He was an icon, and not just because of the shape of his head. For many of us during our formative years he represented the face of football on ITV – fronting The Big Match on a Sunday afternoon. His commentaries were knowledgeable and passionate. His love for the game was obvious for all to see (and hear).
He was from an era where football was less about money and greed and more about the sheer childish joy of watching the game. His style was unique and his reading of the game on a par with any of his peers. He came across as a true gentleman without the arrogance or ego of many within the game. Most importantly of all he happened to be a genuine Gills fan.
Now let’s think about it, Brian Moore was lucky enough to spend his adult life travelling the globe watching the greatest players and the biggest teams, and yet he remembered his Kentish roots and stayed loyal to Gillingham Football Club. He occasionally referred back to his early Gills memories and in particular of queuing up for the QPR FA Cup tie which saw our record attendance of 23,002 in 1948.
Brian even became a director of the club for a period in the 1970s although naturally his work commitments limited his appearances at Priestfield. He subsequently left the board but remained Gillingham’s most famous, well only famous, supporter.
I once had the pleasure of meeting Brian – albeit briefly – at the St. Lawrence cricket ground, home of his other love, Kent County Cricket Club. It was a sun-drenched August afternoon only days into Gillingham’s debut season in Division One. He was quietly minding his own business, inspecting the square, when I spotted him. I just so happened to have a copy of BMH with me, the one with the picture of Thommo wheeling away having won promotion. Well I plucked up the courage and asked Brian Moore to sign my Brian Moore’s Head – which was a bit surreal. He was only too glad to oblige and we had a ten-minute chat about all things Gills. He admitted to being worried how we would do in Division One but he was also most enthusiastic about both of our trips to Wembley. He couldn’t believe how many Gills had made the pilgrimage. Clearly winning at Wembley had brought him as much joy as any of us. His eyes twinkled as he mentioned the words Gillingham and Wembley in the same sentence. He came across as a true gentleman, willing to talk ‘Gills’ with anyone.
Brian Moore’s career finished with the 1998 World Cup Finals in France. By then he was becoming a little prone to the odd mistake and we weren’t slow to make fun, but for most of his career he was the epitome of cool, precise description and identification. His most famous phrase was probably uttered back in 1989 when he yelled “it’s up for grabs now!” just before Michael Thomas won the League for Arsenal at Liverpool with the last kick of the game.
Brian made a public appearance at Priestfield in 1998-99 when he was introduced to the crowd vs Wrexham before taking his seat with Scally in the new Rainham End to rapturous applause. Apparently he was chuffed to bits when the Rainham End broke into song to chant his name. The warmth of the reception from right around Priestfield showed how much he was appreciated.
Well as you know by reading this publication, we even named our fanzine after him (well via a Half Man Half Biscuit song) but a more fitting tribute was recently announced by Paul Scally that if and when the new Town End stand is built it will be known as the “Brian Moore Stand”. Well you can’t say fairer than that, can you Brian!
The BMH Team