Peter Bonetti

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Peter Phillip Bonetti (born 27 September 1941 in Putney, London of Swiss parents from Canton Ticino) is a former football goalkeeper for Chelsea, the St. Louis Stars, Dundee United and England. Bonetti was known for his safe handling, lightning reflexes and his graceful style, for which he was given the nickname, "The Cat". He was one of several goalkeepers (Gordon West of Everton was another) who specialised in a one-armed throw which could achieve a similar distance to a drop kick.

Contents

Early life

In 1948 Bonetti's family moved from London to Worthing on the Sussex coast. His parents ran a cafe on the seafront next to the Worthing Dome. Bonetti shone at an early age, playing for Worthing Catholics F.C.

Club career

Chelsea

Chelsea signed him from the Reading youth team after his mother had written to then manager Ted Drake, requesting that he give her son a trial. He made his first team debut in 1960 and a few weeks later helped the Chelsea youth side win the FA Youth Cup. From the 1960–61 season onwards, he was Chelsea's first choice goalkeeper, a position he held more or less constantly for the next nineteen years. Chelsea were relegated in Bonetti's second full season, which saw the appointment of Tommy Docherty as manager. Bonetti emerged as a key figure in a talented young side which included Bobby Tambling, Terry Venables, John Hollins and Barry Bridges. The team went into the penultimate match of the season needing to beat promotion rivals Sunderland to have a chance of going up. Chelsea won 1–0, with Bonetti making a brilliant last minute save to deny George Mulhall and maintain his side's promotion chances; a 7–0 win over Portsmouth secured instant promotion back to the First Division.

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