Bob Wilson was one of the most intelligent goalkeepers ever to play the game, and was the thinking man’s goalie. A former schoolteacher, he started his career as an amateur with Wolves before joining Arsenal and quickly establishing himself as a master last line of defence.
Born in Chesterfield of Scottish parents, he was the first English-born Scottish international. Tommy Docherty selected him in 1971, the same year he helped Arsenal clinch the League and FA Cup double. A courageous as well as calculating goalkeeper, Bob played 234 League matches for Arsenal. He already had his after-playing career mapped out in his mid-20s and started serving an apprenticeship as a television broadcaster with the BBC.
Bob later became the face of ITV football, and was their No 1 anchorman until the arrival of Des Lynam in 1999. He and his wife, Megs, have had the character to turn a tragedy into something of a triumph. When they lost their lovely daughter, Anna, to cancer in 1998 they set up the Willow Foundation in her memory, and have developed it into a successful charity that has helped thousands of people suffering with life-threatening illness.
A class act, Bob – an OBE – is an inspiring and interesting after-dinner speaker who has a myriad of tales to tell about his life in football and broadcasting.