Football in the 1970s was a rough and tumble affair, with working class heroes who were either skilled but flawed playboys or tough tackling enforcers.
Brooking brought an effortless, under-stated elegance to the game. A shrewd reader of he game who could unlock a defence with a perfectly weighted pass or blast in a goal in the peculiarly definitive way that only a left-footer can manage, he was one of the greatest English midfielders of his generation.
In 600+ appearances for his beloved West Ham, he was booked just the once. He scored goals rather more regularly – exactly 88 times more regularly for the Hammers in the league.
For England, he formed a telepathic understanding with Kevin Keegan and the one thing missing from his CV was a proper international stage to showcase his talents as by the time England managed to qualify for the World Cup in his playing lifetime – in Spain in 1982 – Brooking was recovering from injury and managed only minutes on the pitch.
But a consolation was, by then, already in place as Brooking had scored the winning goal in the 1980 FA Cup final against Arsenal – the second time Sir Trevor and the Hammers had enjoyed a day of Wembley glory in his brilliant career.
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