One of the best goalkeepers to play in the English football league, Bonetti was a legendary figure at Chelsea FC, where he competed in 600 league games for the club. A member of the 1966 England World Cup winning squad, we take a look at some of the top quotes on Peter Bonetti.
With a total of just over 20 years at Stamford Bridge, Bonetti played in two spells at the club, winning the FA, League, and European Cup Winners’ Cup along the way.
Nicknamed ‘The Cat’ due to his reflexes and style of play, Bonetti was an expert in the long distance one-arm throw from his penalty area. Though not appearing in any of the matches at the World Cup in ’66, Bonetti did appear in seven internationals for England, spending most of his time as a back up to a certain Gordon Banks.
His first stint at Chelsea saw him play in 495 league matches, before returning again after a short run with North American team St Louis Stars. In a career total of over 700 games for the club, Bonetti kept over 200 clean sheets, and conceded one goal or less in two-thirds of his matches for the team.
After retiring and running a guesthouse and becoming a postman, he returned to football in a coaching capacity guiding both the England national team and Chelsea, as well as supporting other clubs.
Bonetti was one of the handful of players who did not receive a winners’ medal from the World Cup triumph due to his non-participation, but belatedly was presented with one in 2009.
“…..the brilliant human being behind that brilliant goalkeeper.”
“…..everything about this service was top class. To play over 700 games for a club is amazing, and I was lucky enough to play with him and what a top goalkeeper he was! He played the same time as Gordon Banks but because we played with him, we classed him as number one.”
John Dempsey (Chelsea team-mate)
“I wanted to commemorate Peter and one of the things I especially wanted to commemorate was his professionalism…..He was famous for his cat-like acrobatics but when he had to go down at people’s feet he was fantastic.”
Charlie Cooke (former Chelsea team-mate)
“…..What have you done to my goalkeepers? They’re playing brilliantly!”
Ken Bates (former Chelsea chairman)
“…..And here we have Peter Bonetti, The Cat, playing…..”
Ron Tindall (former Chelsea player; one of first times nickname used)
“Peter Bonetti the goalkeeper, who was ahead of his time with the way he played and how dedicated he was to the game, but as a man he also really stood out…..”
“…..one of our indisputable all-time great players.”
“…..brilliant athleticism and flamboyant – although superbly efficient – style…..Quite simply, Bonetti was one of the finest exponents of his art, a true gentleman who was held in complete respect…..”
Phil McNulty (BBC Sport football writer)
Frank Sinclair (former Chelsea player)
“A true gentleman…..”
“He was a terrific goalkeeper for Chelsea for so many years. Got to know him when he was England’s goalkeeping coach and he was a delightful bloke.”
“A lovely lovely guy. A fabulous goalkeeper. A great coach……truly fantastic.”
Neville Southall (former Wales goalkeeper)