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Kev Moore, Grimsby Town Legend

29 April 2013

KEVIN Moore was academically bright, a great golfer (Lincolnshire Schoolboy Champion in the 1970s) and one of the best players ever to don the black and white stripes.

As soon as he had finished his A Levels, Kevin joined the Mariners, and within weeks was in the first team against Sheffield Wednesday in the League Cup.  Better than that, even at that stage in his career he kept his first team place for the next 13 games!

That was just an early example of what was to come from the high-jumping winger - full back - midfielder - centre-half!

His first matches against big-club opposition came in the three-times played games with Southampton - ironic really, bearing in mind his later career, but he had to wait until the second league game of the 1978-9 Fourth division season to record his first goal for the Mariners (versus Wigan Athletic).

By this time, one of the great Mariners sides of recent times was beginning to take shape, so let's just have a look at the team that Kevin scored in that day ....

Batch; Mawer, Kevin Moore, Waters, Barker, Crombie, Tony Ford, Terry Donovan, Mike Lester, Bobby Mitchell, Bob Cumming

Town stormed up the table, aided by Kevin's goals - often scored from soaring headers - and Town fans had the delight to see Kevin and brother Dave playing alongside one another for most of those games!

December 1979 saw Town facing the then mighty Wolves in the League Cup after beating Everton a week or two earlier at Blundell Park.  Drawn at home, the game was heading for a goalless draw when, in the dying minutes Kev sent the ball crashing against the underside of the Pontoon bar in front of over 23,000 hoarse Mariner fans!

Although Wolves eventually won on neutral territory after another draw at Molineux.

Kevin missed the Liverpool FA Cup game due to injury.  Perhaps had he played the Mariners wouldn't have been overwhelmed 5-0.

The rest of that season saw Town march on to the Third Division Championship, with Kevin scoring his final goal of the season in the penultimate home game versus Oxford.  A great Evening Telegraph photo from the end of the Sheffield United game shows Mike Brolly and Kevin Moore being carried shoulder high by the fans, with Kevin giving a delighted "thumbs up" to all and sundry, with a broad grin on his face; and a later photo shows him spraying the fans with champagne from the old Directors Box.

Kevin's aerial power and tackling ability was bringing in the scouts, and in 1980 there were very strong rumours of a move to Liverpool, and his second year running selection for the PFA Select XI.

More highlights followed, though perhaps we Town fans were beginning to take Kevin's terrific abilities and the club's high league placing too much for granted!

In January 1982, Kevin was of course in the team that won 6-1 away in the FA Cup at Millwall, followed by a great 2-1 triumph at St James Park, under new manager Dave Booth.  The team won the League Group Cup when they beat Wimbledon 3-2 at Blundell Park.  Later he went on to play in the same team as his younger brother Andy!

Kevin eventually took over the captaincy from Joe Waters, leading the team with his inimitable style, and in 1986 was granted a Testimonial against Sheffield Wednesday.  I had the honour of supplying the ball boys for that game, and afterwards Kevin was still enthusing over the football played, particularly over the movement of the Sheffield Wednesday forwards, and giving me a few tips of how to coach the lads!  Then a few days later, a letter arrived from Kevin in his own writing, thanking the lads for their work!

Soon afterwards though, in 1987, with Kevin looking as though he would become the new appearance record holder, he was sold to Oldham by Mike Lyons to raise cash for team strengthening .... and it's now history that the team went down at the end of the season!

Oldham - then a second division side failed to make it to the (old) first division, and due to a clause in his contract, Kev was able to sign for a First Division side - that being Southampton, managed by his old team-mate Chris Nicholl!  He was captain at Southampton too.  After finishing his playing days at Fulham, Kevin served as safety officer, training ground manager and stadium manager at the Cottage.

For all the matches that I watched him play, my abiding memory of Kevin will be his trademark leap and practice header as he ran onto the pitch at the start of each game.  With the opposition watching that, they knew they were never going to beat him in the air!  He'd won, before ever setting his foot on the Blundell Park turf!

Kevin Moore
29th April 1958 - 29th April 2013.

Kirky

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