A man nicknamed “The Cat,” because of his magnificent reflexes between the passes. Appeared in 729 matches for Chelsea during the two spells at the club. Which put him in second place on the list of all the club’s performances for Ron Harris.
“The Cat” has passed away
Chelsea FC have announced the death of former goalkeeper Peter Bonetti, who died at the age of 78 after a battle with a long-term illness. A man nicknamed “The Cat,” because of his magnificent reflexes between the passes, appeared in 729 matches for Chelsea during the two spells at the club, which put him in second place on the list of all the club’s performances for Ron Harris. He helped Chelsea win the League Cup 1965, FA Cup 1970 and the European Cup Winners Cup in 1971. In a lengthy memory statement on his Chelsea website, the clubs stated: “Peter Bonetti’s position in the Chelsea pantheon is unshakable. He was a Cat who broke the mold, defied chances, drew the gasps, earned the cheers, and got the cream. Everything is in front of the adoring Stamford Bridge.”
Bonetti’s record has been overtaken by Peter Cech
Born in Putney, Peter came through the Chelsea youth system along with fellow Blues stars Bobby Tambling and Terry Venables and made his debut in the first team at the age of only 18 in a 3-0 victory over Manchester City in April 1960 – The first of 208 blank sheets that he will keep for the club. Bonetti continued the record for the cleanest sheets as a Chelsea goalkeeper until January 2014, when Peter Cech overtook him. The first choice for the Blues during the 1960s and 70s, Bonetti was part of a generation of goalkeepers who began to remodel the art of position into what it resembles today, with a focus on dominating the penalty area to collect crosses and launch attacks playing the ball from the back.
The first goalkeeper to wear gloves
He was also one of the first goalkeepers to wear gloves – initially sports garden gloves during matches, later he had his kit under the brand name Peter Bonetti of the type, which is now synonymous with the position in the modern game. After his resignation, Bonetti continued to be a pioneer of the Blues, in 1983 he was appointed their first-ever specialist goalkeeper coach. He also worked with England at the 1990 World Cup in Italy. Bonetti also won seven matches for England and served number two behind Gordon Banks during the team’s run to glory at the 1966 World Cup. In 2009, Bonetti awarded by Prime Minister Gordon Brown with a Medal at Downing Street.
He played in the quarterfinals of the 1970 World Cup against West Germany after Banks was struck by food poisoning, as the holders were beaten 3-2 in Mexico. Like Chelsea, Bonetti also had a short match with the American St. Louis Stars in the North American Football League and ended his career with a season at Dundee United.