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Borota, Peter (1979-1982)


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Peter Borota (1979-1982)

Written by Jimboola69 in June 2007

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Fans of a certain vintage (yes like me…) only think of one player when ‘cult’ players are mentioned. A keeper who was crazy before Rene Higetta, who went up for corners before Schmeichel and personified eccentric keepers long before Bruce Grobbelaar arrived at these shores.

In an unremarkable March 1979, what seemed to be an unremarkable keeper arrived for £70k from Partizan Belgrade.

With Chelsea legend Peter Bonetti in his final days as a pro, Chelsea needed a replacement and on first sight it was hard to see how this player from Yugoslavia (as it was) fitted the bill. In an era when non-British Isles players where a rarity if not an oddity, Petar Botota was a real shock to the system. He had big fuzzy hair, shouted in serbo-croat at his bewildered team mates and spent more time in the warm up juggling the ball than practicing catches. Yet an hour into his debut in a 0-0 against high flying Liverpool he had already made a good impression on the Bridge faithful. While unable to stop a cash-strapped Chelsea from relegation that season, Borota showed enough to cheer the crowd, entertain them and put in some good performances as well.

Borota was often said in the fanzines (in which he was always a big favourite) of the time to be from ‘Madtown’ as opposed to Belgrade, such was his behaviour. This is a man who would happily dribble up the field past opponents, would charge down the wing with the ball, head a ball clear instead of catching or punching and would even throw the ball against the post prior to kicking a ball upfield.

79%2080%20team%20borota%20mid%20row%20lh Obviously while this was entertaining (and heart stopping) for the fans it was more serious to the man whose job was at stake, no-nonsense Chelsea boss John Neal. The pair are said to have had ‘dozens’ of fall outs, most in the dressing rooms or on the training pitch, but at times it was all very public. However the fans adored him, chanted his name and voted him Chelsea player of the year in the 1980-81 season after he kept 16 clean sheets.

Despite this Neal eventually tired of Borota’s behaviour which could lead to the conceding of goals, and sold him to Brentford in 1982.

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Petar Borota was born 5 March 1952 in Belgrade, he played 114 times for Chelsea keeping 36 clean sheets in an era where Chelsea had no money, no success and were ravaged by hooliganism and decaying facilities. Yet he gave great entertainment and fun to those of us that watched him, even if we did curse some of the eccentricities that allowed the opposition to score very very soft goals. A true cult hero and showman of the history of Chelsea.

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