Good old Peter Shilton, we could do with him now ‘wot wiv those fools simply masquerading as goalkeepers today. However, Peter Leslie Shilton is long retired, and is known today as an after dinner speaker, and a prolific one at that if his personal website is anything to go by.
However, back in the day, the guy was one of the world’s top goalkeepers, and enjoyed a career in the game that spanned over 31 years. However, after football Shilton’s career is less glittering, with failed management attempts and gambling addiction staining the reputation of England’s most capped player…
Shilton’s league career began with Leicester City, where he spent just eight years at the club, amassing 286 appearances and winning the Football League Second Division in 1970-71. However, it was with Nottingham Forest that Shilton earned his greatest prizes in football. Between Shilton won the First Division in 1977-78, the League Cup in 1979, the European Cup in two successive seasons in 1978-79 and 1979/80 and the European Super Cup in 1979. The only tournament Shilton never won was the FA Cup, despite coming close in 1969 with Leicester City.
At Forest Shilton made 202 league appearances, and this is where he enjoyed his most fruitful spell as a player. However, Shilton nearly won the first Division again with Southampton in 1983/84, as his career after Nottingham Forest continued. In fact, after representing Leicester City, Stoke City and Nottingham Forest, Shilton went on to play for the play 188 times for Southampton, 175 times for Derby County, 34 times for Plymouth Argyle, once for Bolton Wanderers and nine times for Leighton Orient. That is not to mention Wimbledon, Coventry and West Ham, who all signed Shilton up and named him as a substitute at one point.
In total, Shilton played 1,005 league matches, which remains a record to this day. After starting his career in 1965-66 with Leicester City, when The Beatles were still yet to release Sgt. Peppers and grow beards, Shilton’s career would span 31 years, ending with Leighton Orient in 1996/97, where the Spice Girls were considered Britain’s greatest musical export. However, whilst Shilton is a legend of the Football League, he is also acclaimed as one of England’s finest ever goalkeepers.
Shilton was capped by England a record 125 times, and is still ten caps ahead of a certain Armani underwear model. Shilton unfortunately never won anything with England, but was involved in some of England’s most famous moments. English collective memory will recall the famous goalkeeping display of Jan Tomaszewski as England failed to qualify for the 1974 World Cup after a 1-1 draw with Poland, the ‘Hand of God’ at the 1986 World Cup, and the 1990 World Cup penalty shoot-out defeat to West Germany. What they might not realize however, is that Shilton was England’s goalkeeper in all three of those occasions.
However, post football, Shilton has had his demons. Despite a relatively successful stint as manager of Plymouth Argyle, Shilton suffered with an addiction to gambling, ultimately costing him his job and a valued friend. McGovern. Shilton’s weakness for a flutter, and some unwise business ventures in property and horseflesh, rendered Shilton bankrupt. This led to the demise of his relationship with his former Nottingham Forest colleague and then assistant manager at Plymouth John McGovern, who had led Shilton £7000.
Today Shilton has resurrected his ailing finances, and has overcome his afflictions. The 61 year old has however, probably given up hope of management despite believing he still has unfinished business in the game after his sacking from Plymouth for a non-football reason. Shilton has been awarded with an OBE, and was made an Inaugural Inductee of the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
Today an after dinner speaker, Peter Shilton is a true legend of not just English, but world football.
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