Personal Stories: Brian Moore's story
Popular ITV Commentator Returns To Faith After Health Problem
With another football season now upon us there will be at least one change to the scene on the TV front. No longer will we hear the marvellous voice of ITV commentator Brian Moore. After nearly 30 years as the voice and face of ITV’s football coverage, Brian has decided to call it a day as far as his TV commentating is concerned.
He couldn’t have gone out on a higher note – his last match was the World Cup Final. Earlier on that day he was featured in the Granada TV programme My Favourite Hymns, which was shown on ITV. And out of it emerged a fact that I had known for several decades – that Brian Moore is a thoroughly decent man.
What also emerged, and what many viewers probably didn’t know, is that Brian Moore has a deep Christian faith.
He told interviewer John Stapleton: “I was a choirboy as a youngster at St. George’s Church, Benenden, in Kent. I used to have to go three times a day on a Sunday. I loved it.
“Then, like a lot of people, when I started to go to work and had a young family I lost my way a fair bit. I really didn’t pray a great deal. I didn’t go to church much and I think when you get to a certain age things happen in your life that maybe make you feel you ought to start reconsidering Christianity – and that’s what happened to me.
“In 1986 I went for an annual medical check-up. I had been working stupidly hard. I got on one of those treadmills and after three minutes the guy said: ‘You have got to get off – there’s a slight problem.’ It turned out I had a furring up of some arteries. Happily it was sorted out and I have been fine ever since, but, during those very dark days, I prayed and prayed, and it had been some time since I had really got down on my knees. As I said, everything turned out fine. But I thought to myself that God had done his part of the deal for me and I couldn’t really say to him: ‘Thanks ever so much for that – now when I need you the next time, do you mind if I call again?’
“I felt then that I had to commit something to him – that really made me turn back towards the Church.
“In recent years I think I have tried to be a kinder man. With God’s help I try to lead a Christian life.”
For the record, the four hymns Brian chose and which were superbly performed, were that lovely harvest hymn Come, Ye thankful people, come, Now thank we all our God, Love diving all loves excelling and finally the hymn which is always sung at the FA Cup Final, Abide with Me.
Brian was and is respected by the players. I can remember particularly in Mexico at the 1970 World Cup, Brian coming to the hotel to talk to us all. Nobody would shy away from Brian because they knew when you spoke to him it would be in absolute confidence.
I knew Brian – a lifelong Gillingham supporter – well and we enjoyed several games of golf together.
Now in retirement, I’m sure Brian will find more time to work on getting his golf handicap down and will also be able to spend more time with his wife, Betty – something I know he dearly wants to do.
Enjoy your retirement from the TV microphone, Brian. You’ve deserved it.
Written by Alan Mullery