Chief Football Correspondent
Peter Bonetti walks dejectedly off the pitch after the match....World Cup Quarter-Final, 1970
Bonetti played 729 times for Chelsea and seven caps for England Credit:  Getty Images

Peter Bonetti, who has died aged 78 after a long illness, was not just a goalkeeping superstar of the 1960s and 1970s, but was an innovator, a pioneer and a deep-thinker about the game.

He was, for example, the first to put his name to goalkeeping gloves with Sondico’s iconic green and yellow pair, beloved by children and used by other goalkeepers, featuring a big “B” on the back of each. Prior to that goalkeepers, including Bonetti, often just used gardening gloves.

Despite being only 5ft 10.5 inches tall and weighing just 11 stone, Bonetti was one of the first goalkeepers to come off his goal-line to bravely gather crosses and showed his tactical brain in also being one of the first to throw the ball out rather than just kick it upfield. He grew an extraordinary tribute from Pele when the Brazilian said: “The three greatest goalkeepers I have ever seen are Gordon Banks, Lev Yashin and Peter Bonetti.”

Despite undoubtedly being a Chelsea legend, with the club producing a long and touching tribute to “a goalkeeping superstar” who was known as “the Cat”, he will also be remembered, perhaps above all, for an England match which he should not have played.

三级成人视频By the way that nickname, “the Cat”, which so wonderfully summed up his brilliant agility, was actually given to him by his former Chelsea team-mate Ron Tindall as he ad-libbed a mock TV commentary during a game of billiards in the players lounge. But it perfectly summed up Bonetti’s spectacular style of play, with his eye-catching flying saves.

三级成人视频“You reflect on his career, the times you played with him,” said his former Chelsea team-mate Clive Walker. “I used to always be in the wall at free-kicks and often you know when a free-kick is taken that it is going in and, instead, you’d turn around and see him make another incredible save.”

三级成人视频His former captain Ron Harris, the only man to make more appearances for Chelsea than Bonetti, said: “He was about 5ft 10, ever so slim and acrobatic. He pulled off some unbelievable saves. I’m not knocking any of the present day keepers but ask any Chelsea support who’s been around for some time and I bet they’d say the number one keeper at Chelsea was Peter Bonetti.” His only rival is Petr Cech, the only goalkeeper to beat his record of 200 clean sheets.

Even so it was for England that his most memorable and, also, unfortunate match came. It was Bonetti’s misfortune that he played in an era with Gordon Banks and, therefore, he was understudy to him during the 1966 World Cup and in 1970.

三级成人视频Bonetti did not play a minute in England’s triumph on home soil. Only the 11 players on the pitch against West Germany were eligible for medals but after an FA-led campaign every member of the squad was later recognised with Bonetti receiving his medal from Prime Minister Gordon Brown in Downing Street in 2009.

Bonetti with his 1966 winners' medal, presented to him in 2009 Credit: Getty Images

It was in 1970 and, again, against West Germany in the quarter-final in Mexico that Bonetti got his chance but only because Banks went down with food poisoning.

三级成人视频On an intensely hot day in Leon – the match was incredibly scheduled for a midday kick-off – and with less than an hour before the game started Alf Ramsey turned to Bonetti. Having conceded just one goal in his previous six England appearances, Bonetti was beaten three times as England squandered a two-goal lead.

三级成人视频He was undoubtedly at fault for the first, allowing Franz Beckenbauer’s shot under his body, although the two other goals probably had as much to do with England’s tired defence and Ramsey’s decision to take off both Bobby Charlton and Martin Peters. Even so the sight of Bonetti failing to reach a high ball before Gerd Muller volleyed home the winning goal became infamous.

Bonetti, who was undoubtedly rusty, carried the can in what sadly proved to be his last game for his country.

From left to right, goalkeepers Peter Bonetti (Chelsea), Gordon Banks (Leicester) and Ron Springett (Sheffield Wednesday) wear their new World Cup uniforms in 1966 Credit: GETTY IMAGES

三级成人视频Born in Putney, south-west London to Swiss parents, Bonetti and his family moved to Worthing in Sussex to open a café when he was a child. Still his mother wrote to Chelsea urging them to give her son a trial – which they did – with Bonetti signing on the same day as Bobby Tambling and Terry Venables, making his first-team debut when he was 18 and going on to record 729 appearances for Chelsea.

His achievements at Chelsea were remarkable with two extraordinary performances standing out. Firstly was the 1970 FA Cup Final replay victory over Leeds United, the dominant team at that time. In front of an astonishing television audience of 28million Bonetti suffered an injury to his left knee after a challenge by Mick Jones.

三级成人视频It was a time before substitute goalkeepers and, after a pain-killing injection at half-time, but still barely able to walk, Bonetti made save after save to deny Leeds with Chelsea coming from behind to triumph in extra-time. It was the first time they had won the trophy. The following year Bonetti overcame pneumonia to inspire Chelsea to another first: their first European trophy, beating a formidable Real Madrid side in the European Cup Winners Cup final.

Bonetti overcame injury in the 1970 FA Cup final as Chelsea defeated Leeds Credit: Mirrorpix

Bonetti briefly left Chelsea in 1975, for a spell in the US with St Louis Stars, but returned the following year to take on the role of senior player in an exciting young team. He played five games for Dundee United in 1979 before retiring and working as a postman on the Isle of Mull.

After that Bonetti became an accomplished goalkeeping coach, firstly for Manchester City, then back to Chelsea – the first in the club’s history – and finally with England. Still he did not hang up his gloves and played for Woking, aged 45, as they beat Weymouth in an FA Cup tie in 1986.

With his second wife, Kay, whom he married in 1992, he had a son, Scott, and he had four children, Suzanne, Kim, Nicholas and Lisa, from his first married to Frances Jennings which ended in divorce.