On Sunday the football community mourned the loss of Peter Bonetti after a long illness, conjuring anecdotes and stories of one of the finest goalkeepers of the 1960’s and 70’s.
Standing at 5 ft 10 , Bonnetti derived from the goalkeeping stereotype and his height was never a hindrance. In fact his nickname of ‘The Cat’, was very much attributed to his agility and speed which his figure allowed him.
In a Chelsea career that spanned almost twenty years, Bonetti played 729 times for the club, second to only Ron Harris in the club’s all-time appearances list.
During an era where Chelsea were not one of the so-called fashionable clubs in England, Bonetti inspired a team from the second division to win the Cup Winner’s Cup, League Cup and FA Cup, which was the club’s most successful period in their history.
His heroics in the 1970 FA Cup Final victory over Leeds is still stuff of legend at Stamford Bridge and his outstanding performances meant he was named runner-up in the 1969-70 Footballer of the Year award.
At a time when English goalkeeping talent was at its peak, Bonetti was part of the 1966 World Cup winning squad, albeit second choice behind the late Gordon Banks.
Although his international career is renowned for his part in a collapse in the 1970 World Cup Quarter final against West Germany where England relinquished a two goal lead, Bonetti could boast an impressive record for his country prior to that.
In his previous six appearances for the national side, Bonetti conceded just once and was unlucky not to be handed more caps after the disappointment in Mexico.
Following his illustrious playing career, the former Chelsea man would enjoy a successful coaching career, as part of Kevin Keegan’s backroom staff at Newcastle, Fulham and Manchester City.