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Bob Wilson praises The Arsenal Foundation

PUBLISHED: 03:42 16 December 2017 | UPDATED: 03:54 16 December 2017

Bob Wilson has hailed The Arsenal Foundation. PA

Bob Wilson has hailed The Arsenal Foundation. PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Gunners legend Bob Wilson has hailed the work of The Arsenal Foundation in an interview with the Islington Gazette ahead of the annual tradition where players and staff – including boss Arsene Wenger – contribute a day’s wages to the cause.

Arsenal first team squad 1969-70: (back row, l-r) Peter Simpson, Frank McLintock, George Graham, Terry Neill, Bob Wilson, John Radford, Ian Ure, John Roberts, Charlie George; (front row, l-r) Jon Sammels, David Court, Bobby Gould, Pat Rice, Jimmy Robertson, George Armstrong, Peter Storey, Bob McNab Arsenal first team squad 1969-70: (back row, l-r) Peter Simpson, Frank McLintock, George Graham, Terry Neill, Bob Wilson, John Radford, Ian Ure, John Roberts, Charlie George; (front row, l-r) Jon Sammels, David Court, Bobby Gould, Pat Rice, Jimmy Robertson, George Armstrong, Peter Storey, Bob McNab

Arsenal will be collecting cash for the foundation against Newcastle before, during and after their Premier League clash at the Emirates on Saturday.

The hugely-respected former Arsenal keeper paid tribute to the club and the large number of helpers and volunteers who will have their buckets ready in an around the ground as Rafa Benitez’s Magpies visit North London.

He told the Islington Gazette: “It’s a great cause.

“I’m proud to be an ambassador for the foundation. They do such a large amount of good work in the community both in North London and far further afield.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (right) shares a joke with his goalkeeper David Seaman (left) and goalkeeping coach Bob Wilson (centre) during a training session at Arsenal's training ground, London Colney in 2002 Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (right) shares a joke with his goalkeeper David Seaman (left) and goalkeeping coach Bob Wilson (centre) during a training session at Arsenal's training ground, London Colney in 2002

“I would urge fans to give any loose change they may have when they’re at the game against Newcastle and help support such a worthy organisation.”

The former keeper’s link to the North London giants stretches back more than five decades. He made 308 appearances and spent almost 30 years with the club as a coach as well as his charity and community work.

He was an ever-present in Bertie Mee’s double-winning side of 1970-71 and when he was goalkeeping coach he worked with Pat Jennings, John Lukic and of course David Seaman, before turning his attention to charity with the Willow Foundation – set up in memory of his daughter Anna.

The Arsenal Foundation have also helped Bob and his wife Megs charity, The Willow Foundation, the only national charity working with seriously ill young adults aged 16 to 40 to fulfil uplifting and unforgettable Special Days.

Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman (left) smiles as he talks with goalkeeper coach Bob Wilson during a training session at Arsenal's training ground, London Colney in 2002. Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman (left) smiles as he talks with goalkeeper coach Bob Wilson during a training session at Arsenal's training ground, London Colney in 2002.

Bob added: ‘The funding Willow receive from The Arsenal Foundation is crucial in terms of helping us provide these special days for young people.

“We are delighted to have the club’s support. It makes a big difference in the numbers of people we are able to help.’

Much-loved Bob isn’t the only one praising the work of the organisation.

The Arsenal Foundation is a fundraising and grant-making organisation designed to grow the reach and effect of the programmes the club supports to help an increasing number of young people near and far fulfil their potential and help their communities thrive.

The Arsenal football team pose for a group picture at Highbury stadium, in London, ahead of the 1971-72 football season. L-R (back row): Bob McNab, Ray Kennedy, Bob Wilson, John Roberts, Geoff Barnett, Peter Simpson and Peter Marinello.  * ...(front row):  Sammy Nelson, Peter Storey, John Radford, Pat Rice, Frank McLintock (captain and Footballer of the Year), Eddie Kelly, George Graham and George Armstrong. The Arsenal football team pose for a group picture at Highbury stadium, in London, ahead of the 1971-72 football season. L-R (back row): Bob McNab, Ray Kennedy, Bob Wilson, John Roberts, Geoff Barnett, Peter Simpson and Peter Marinello. * ...(front row): Sammy Nelson, Peter Storey, John Radford, Pat Rice, Frank McLintock (captain and Footballer of the Year), Eddie Kelly, George Graham and George Armstrong.

Arsenal manager Wenger spoke in praise of the special day at London Colney on Friday saying: “It’s an important quality at our club to be able to contribute. It’s part of the historical values of our club and we are very happy to contribute on our side on a day like that [to the Arsenal Foundation Day on Saturday].

“I think every year we show how much we care. The Arsenal Foundation does a great job.”

Jack Wilshere - who Wenger labelled an ‘Arsenal man’ on Friday - tweeted his support of this weekend’s event, writing: ‘Together we can make a difference.’

*Bob is also backing the book Glove Story which is a must-read for all those who are fascinated by goalkeepers and the art of keeping. Perfect for young and old alike it will not only make a perfect Christmas present but also backs Bob and Meg’s Willow Foundation.

BOB WILSON 1971: Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson gets a kiss from his wife, Megs, after being named in Scotland's party of 16 for the European Championship match against Portugal. With them are Anna (4), Robert (2) and John (6). BOB WILSON 1971: Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson gets a kiss from his wife, Megs, after being named in Scotland's party of 16 for the European Championship match against Portugal. With them are Anna (4), Robert (2) and John (6).

Bob added: “It’s a fun book that will appeal to all who love football.”

See the Islington Gazette this week for more from Layth’s exclusive interview with Bob.

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