Gilks gives a big hand to fellow ‘Scot’

Former TV presenter and Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson with Matt Gilks
Former TV presenter and Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson with Matt Gilks
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WHEN Matt Gilks met goalkeeping great Bob Wilson at Bloomfield Road they talked about accents ... or the lack of them.

Wilson, 70, visited the Seasiders’ ground as part of a bid to cycle to every Premier League club in the country to raise money for charity.

Pool keeper Gilks was there to greet him and the pair had quite a chinwag.

Gilks said: “I can’t begin to tell you what a nice bloke he is. The main thing we talked about was how we both play for Scotland, yet the pair of us couldn’t sound less Scottish if we tried!

“He was interested in how I qualified to play for the country – through my grandmother – and he told me his Scottish links.

“It was just great to speak to someone who has the wealth of experience he has and I wish we could have spoken for longer. He said some really nice things about me, which were lovely to hear.

“He is a massive Arsenal fan and said he watched me at the Emirates at the start of the season and was impressed. Although I let six goals in, he said I had a great game.

“He understands what it is like to play well as a keeper and yet still get pumped!”

Wilson is more than halfway through his challenge, which started in London last week, and is now on his way to the North East.

The former double-winning Gunner and TV broadcaster said: “It was great to come to Blackpool because I have always loved the place, mainly because of Jimmy Armfield and Sir Stanley Matthews, who I knew well. Meeting Matt was something I had been looking forward to and he didn’t disappoint – he was a smashing lad.”

Wilson is raising money for the Willow Foundation, a charity he formed after his 31-year-old daughter Anna died from a rare form of cancer. The charity provides memorable days each year for the thousands of 16-to-40-year-olds diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.

“It’s been an amazing experience so far,” added Wilson. “Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton met me at Old Trafford, the whole Blackburn team were there when I arrived at Ewood Park, Matt is at Blackpool ... the whole soccer community has rallied round and it has been quite humbling.”