Bob Wilson is part of the furniture at Arsenal.
The former keeper's affiliation to the Club stretches back as far as 1963, encompassing 308 appearances, nearly three decades as a coach, charity and community work, and most recently a role with Arsenal TV.
|Arsenal Career||1963 - 1974|
|Appearances||308 (308 starts, 0 as a sub)|
Originally trained as a teacher, Wilson was a late starter as a professional, making his bow as an amateur against Nottingham Forest in 1963; the last appearance made by a non-professional in the top flight. He arrived at Arsenal for a transfer fee of over £6,000 - the first amateur to come at a price.
Wilson was forced to bide his time as understudy to Jim Furnell, and his early appearances for the Club did little to suggest he would make the grade. But a combination of intelligence and sheer hard graft ensured that Wilson seized his chance when it came in March 1968.
His growth continued apace and in 1970, the Derbyshire native claimed his first honour, the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. The following year Wilson was an ever-present in Bertie Mee's Double-winning side, scooping the Player of the Year honour to boot. International acclaim soon followed.
Two years later injury forced Wilson out of the Arsenal side but he recovered to claim back his No 1 jersey. He held it until his retirement at the age of 32.
By now the Club was in his blood and the end of Wilson's playing days did not signal the end of his Arsenal days. Far from it.
Wilson was goalkeeping coach for 28 years, working with the likes of Pat Jennings, John Lukic and David Seaman. All the while he forged a successful broadcasting career with the BBC and later ITV before turning his focus to charity with the Willow Foundation, set-up in memory of Wilson's daughter Anna who died in 1998. In 2007 Bob received the Order of the British Empire (OBE) as recognition for his work.
Wilson makes no bones about the deep-seated passion he has for Arsenal and often tells of the having the N5 postcode on his car number plate. A stalwart of the Club and a beholder of its values; a truly great Gunner.