How Moore was caught up in gun drama that threw World Cup into chaos

When 1966 World Cup hero Bobby Moore was accused of stealing a bracelet from a Bogota hotel foyer boutique 50 years ago today, England feared they would have to defend the Jules Rimet trophy in Mexico without their captain. The mystery of the Bogota bracelet incident has never been solved, but Prime Minister Harold Wilson waded into the row personally during a General Election campaign, just three weeks before he was turfed out of Downing Street by Ted Heath. But former Three Lions midfielder Alan Mullery, who played superbly at the tournament, has never forgotten the gun-toting drama which was “like a scene from a movie.” And one way or another, manager Sir Alf Ramsey's best-laid plans for the 1970 World Cup were plunged into a kaleidoscope of chaos. “Sir Alf left no stone unturned in our preparation and, talking to Pele at the Hilton hotel in London, some time after the tournament, he told me that England were the only team Brazil feared. “But we could never have imagined in a million years would happen to Bobby.” England had just arrived in Bogota, checking into the exclusive El Tequendama hotel, ahead of their friendly with Colombia when Moore wandered into the Fuego Verde gift shop in the foyer to help Bobby Charlton look for a present for his wife. They left without buying anything, but shop assistant Clara Padilla followed them in the foyer and accused them of stealing a bracelet worth £625 from a display case. It didn't make sense from the start.” Moore and Charlton were questioned briefly on the spot, made official statements and the crisis appeared to have blown over when they received an apology for the inconvenience of being detained at gunpoint. A week later, England made a five-hour stopover in Bogota on their return from their other warm-up friendly in Ecuador and, despite some reservations among the players, they went back to El Tequendama. Ramsey had arranged for his squad to watch Shenandoah, and they were settling down to their private screening of James Stewart's western when plain-clothes police burst in and arrested Moore for alleged theft. Nobody knew whether he would be freed in time to play in the World Cup.” Spared detention in an unspeakable Bogota jail, by arrangement Moore was placed under house arrest at the home of Colombian FA director Alfonso Senior. He was incredible, as if nothing had happened in the build-up.” Mullery, who would score his only goal for England in the 3-2 quarter-final defeat by West Germany, was the man Ramsey had earmarked to take over as skipper if Moore was still under arrest. “What I can say is that when Bobby missed a European Championship qualifier in Malta a few months later through illness, Alf sat us down and said 'Alan' was going to be captain. “We won the game 1-0, and it was the only time I led the side out, so I can say I had a 100 per cent record as England captain.” Related: Every Premier League player who is set to be out of contact next month [Read Sport]