Bob's book celebrates the history of Wembley Stadium

Bob Bond was  quite taken aback when he picked up the telephone to discover an irate former Liverpool footballer was on the line.

By Craig Salmon
Saturday, 17th April 2021, 8:00 am

The Southport-born sports cartoonist, who once worked for the Lancashire Post and is an avid Preston North End supporter, was wondering what was going to happen next as the ex-Reds legend began to make his point.

Bond – now aged 80 and living in the seaside resort of Worthing of the south coast – had been commissioned to draw caricatures of 25 Liverpool greats which would be depicted on the back of a pack of football cards.

Unfortunately, Bond’s work did not receive the seal of approval from one particular ex-Anfield star, who was most upset that a caricature of himself could not be found amongst the pack.

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Bob Bond

“I never had any player complain to me about a caricature that I have done,” said Bond.

“Maybe they have complained to themselves, but I do remember once a player phoning me up.

“I did a set of Liverpool caricatures – and I called them 25 of Liverpool’s greatest players.

“I used to do these card sets of players – I did a Manchester United set, an Arsenal set, a Spurs set.

Home of English football: 100 years of Wembley Stadium

“I even think I did a Preston North End set.

“I has to choose 25 of the club’s best players in my opinion.

“So anyway I drew Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish and all those kind of players.

“But this player rang me up and he said, ‘I am not in there? I was one of Liverpool’s greats and you’ve not included me!

“So I never got complaints of work that I did, only of what I didn’t do.

“It would be wrong of me to say who the player was but he was Scottish and he played in the 1970s.

“I did actually draw a caricature of him and sent it to him – I think he was happy with that.

“A lot of the caricatures that I have drawn, I’ve managed to get signed by the player.

“I am not an autograph hunter, but I have got 200 or 300 drawings signed by the actual players and that is something I treasure.”

Many of Bond’s drawings feature in a new book which is set to hit the book shelves of WH Smith next month.

Next year will mark the centenary of when the first brick was laid in the building of Wembley Stadium – often known as the Home of Football , certainly of English football.

Officially opened in 1923, the stadium was of course knocked down in 2002 and rebuilt – reopening in 2007.

Over the past 100 years, the stadium has witnessed some incredible occasions from England’s World Cup success in 1966, Euro 1996 semi-final heartbreak, not to mention a plethora of FA Cup finals.

Many of those famous occasions are chronicled in the book, aptly named “Home of English Football”.

For Bob himself, he has bitter memories of the old stadium, especially as he was in the crowd for both of Preston North End’s FA Cup finals defeats in 1954 and then 10 years later.

Fortunately, New Wembley was more favourable to Bond and he still gets goose bumps when he thinks back to the 4-0 League One play-off final success over Swindon Town in 2015.

“The idea about this book is that it’s nearly 100 years since the first Wembley was built and I have been asked to look at these kind of anniversaries because it’s something the fans like to look back and recognise these things.

“I did one in 2016 because it was 50 years since England won the World Cup.

“There’s a lot happened over those 100 years at Wembley and I have done a lot of cartoons and caricatures.

“It’s mainly made up of FA Cup finals and internationals.

“From a personal point of view, my experienced of Wembley Stadium haven’t always been a happy one.

“I have seen my team North End lose a few times there.

“I went to the cup final in 1954 when we lost 3-2 to West Brom and then 10 years later when we lost by the same scoreline to West Ham.

“It was only recently when we won the play-off final that I have seen North End win there and that was of course the new Wembley.

“So that’s the only time I have come away from there feeling happy.

“I remember the ’54 final, I would have only been a teenager.

“There were feelings of excitement going there, myself and my uncle went down on the train.

“I think I came away in tears because we had lost.

“But it was still an experience going to Wembley. It was an iconic stadium although it needed to come down when it did because it had become a bit rundown.”

Although retired now, Bond enjoyed a 50-year career working predominantly in the newspaper and comic industry as a cartoonist for

Fleetway Comics.

His work mainly saw him attending football games – from non-league to the top flight of English football – sketching the events unfolding in front of him with a witty narrative to

accompany it.

In 2018, he brought out another book called “Both Legs Down One Knicker” which is a lighthearted look at some of the events and experiences he sketched about through the years.

Home of English Football: 100 Years of Wembley Stadium in Cartoons and Caricatures is published by Pitch Publishing and will be released for sale on May 17.

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