Peter Shilton

City Legend Shilton Re-Visits Filbert Street

The walk past the site where Filbert Street used to stand not only evokes fond memories for members of the Blue Army on a matchday, but also for former England and Leicester City goalkeeper Peter Shilton.
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Shilton – England’s all-time leading appearance maker – spent eight seasons at the Foxes between 1966 and 1974 and played 339 times for his boyhood club.

Recently recalling some significant moments at Filbert Street during his career at City, Shilton discussed his journey from Academy youngster to first-team regular in an exclusive interview with LCFC TV.

“I have some very good memories, some very exciting memories, because I was about 10 years of age playing for Leicester boys Under-11s and supporting Leicester City,” he said.

“My first memory really was watching the Club on the old terraces – the far side as you came away from the tunnel. That’s when Gordon [Banks] had just joined the Club and had this thing going with Dave MacLaren, the other goalkeeper.

“One was in one week, the other was in the next week, and there was a bit of competition. At that time, I remember I got noticed and was asked to come down to train at the Club on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, which was unheard of because there were no soccer academies in those days.

Feature

Peter Shilton's Filbert Street Memories

Leicester City and England legend Peter Shilton looks back at his time as a professional goalkeeper and reflects on his memorable experiences at Filbert Street.

“It was just schoolboy football. The amateurs and semi-professionals used to come from work at about 5.30pm to 6pm and train twice a week. I came before them and used to cycle on my bike from Braunstone, come down into the ground and literally walk in and get changed in the changing rooms – the first team changing rooms.”

Shilton eventually made his first appearance for the Foxes at the age of just 16, but says he did not feel too much pressure having already played in front of tens of thousands of fans at youth level for England.   

“I played for England schoolboys at Wembley in front of 90,000, I played in the final for the Leicester schools team and we played Swansea,” said Shilton. “It was a two-legged affair, we drew both legs and shared the trophy and there was 23,000 for that game.

“I was used to big crowds, but when it was your debut, you’re 16 and Gordon [Banks] was away playing for England, I was still an apprentice – a local lad – and there was still a lot of pressure on. I just wanted to not make a mistake, really. That was the big thing.

“It was just so exciting and it’s just one of those memories that lives with you forever really.”

I was used to big crowds, but when it was your debut, you’re 16 and Gordon [Banks] was away playing for England, I was still an apprentice – a local lad – and there was still a lot of pressure on. I just wanted to not make a mistake, really. That was the big thing.

Peter Shilton LCFC TV

The character and structure of Filbert Street meant that the playing surface had differing factors depending on which goalmouth Shilton stood in – that only added to the ex-Leicester goalkeeper’s experiences at the 22,000-capacity ground.

“It was always very good,” said Shilton of the Filbert Street atmosphere. “It was a little bit different to this day and age. We used to have rattles in those days, which would be offensive weapons now I think!

“From a goalkeeping point of view, it was a bit difficult for the reason that you’ve got the big ‘Double Decker’ stand and you didn’t get any sun in the 18-yard box, so it didn’t dry out as much as the other end, which got all of the sun. There was a difference in surfaces, really.

“I was a lot softer down the ‘Double Decker’ end and a lot firmer at the other end. We tried to say to referees that this was a problem for goalkeepers in particular, so can we do a toss-up in the dressing room before the game and then do a mock toss up on the pitch – 50 per cent would do it and 50 per cent wouldn’t.

“For the ones that wouldn’t, I’d have two pairs of boots. One with long studs in and one with short studs. As soon as we tossed up, whichever end I went to, I would try and change my boots!”

The full feature-length interview with Peter Shilton is now available to watch on LCFC TV.

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