Peter Anderson ⚽ Something I have noticed over the last decade or two about football in these isles is the marked drop in standard of goalkeepers.

When I got into football Gordon Banks had just retired and England had Peter Shilton and Ray Clemence between the sticks, while Northern Ireland had the one and only Pat Jennings. Not only was he a top goalkeeper but he was also a dab hand at selling sausages.

My first Northern Ireland away game was at Wembley against England in '85 and we needed a draw to qualify for Mexico '86. Facing a goalkeeping crisis Jennings came out of retirement for the game and pulled off a series of world class saves to deny the English and earn the 0-0 draw. Jennings like Shilton, Clemence and Banks was world class.

The English league in the 70s seemed well stacked with decent keepers. Into the 80s and 90s and Scotland had Jim Leighton while Wales had Neville Southall. The Republic had Bonner and then Shay Given, neither world class but still pretty decent, while England had Chris Woods then David Seaman with Nigel Martyn as back up, all good keepers.

At the end of the 90s I read an article in one of the daily papers' sport sections lauding the next generation of England keepers. They named the young future stars of English football as Paul Robinson, David James, Scott Carson, Richard Wright, Rob Green, Chris Kirkland and Nicky Weaver. Not one of them made it to the top. Sure, some of them had pretty decent club careers and most won a few caps for England but none of them became world class. Since then we have seen Joe Hart and Jack Butland come and go without making a significant impact on world football. The current crop of Jordan Pickford and Nick Pope look mediocre at best with Pickford looking capable of a howler at any minute. The Republic, Wales and Northern Ireland are currently reduced to using practically unknowns, while Scotland are using the keepers from Hearts and Derby County. The "home" nations are still producing quality in all the other departments but none of them has a world class keeper or any depth in the keeping department. 

How did it come to this? I guess it must come down to coaching and first team opportunities. The best two teams in England at the moment have two Brazilians wearing the number 1 jersey, Edison at City and Alisson at Liverpool. The only team in the top 10 to have a local keeper is Everton with Pickford and I wouldn't bet on him staying at number 1 next season. 

Clearly the trajectory in goalkeeping standards since the 70s is firmly downward, surely alarm bells are going off somewhere. If something isn't done soon the "home" nations are going to lag even further behind.

Peter Anderson is a Unionist with a keen interest in sports.

Between The Sticks

Peter Anderson ⚽ Something I have noticed over the last decade or two about football in these isles is the marked drop in standard of goalkeepers.

When I got into football Gordon Banks had just retired and England had Peter Shilton and Ray Clemence between the sticks, while Northern Ireland had the one and only Pat Jennings. Not only was he a top goalkeeper but he was also a dab hand at selling sausages.

My first Northern Ireland away game was at Wembley against England in '85 and we needed a draw to qualify for Mexico '86. Facing a goalkeeping crisis Jennings came out of retirement for the game and pulled off a series of world class saves to deny the English and earn the 0-0 draw. Jennings like Shilton, Clemence and Banks was world class.

The English league in the 70s seemed well stacked with decent keepers. Into the 80s and 90s and Scotland had Jim Leighton while Wales had Neville Southall. The Republic had Bonner and then Shay Given, neither world class but still pretty decent, while England had Chris Woods then David Seaman with Nigel Martyn as back up, all good keepers.

At the end of the 90s I read an article in one of the daily papers' sport sections lauding the next generation of England keepers. They named the young future stars of English football as Paul Robinson, David James, Scott Carson, Richard Wright, Rob Green, Chris Kirkland and Nicky Weaver. Not one of them made it to the top. Sure, some of them had pretty decent club careers and most won a few caps for England but none of them became world class. Since then we have seen Joe Hart and Jack Butland come and go without making a significant impact on world football. The current crop of Jordan Pickford and Nick Pope look mediocre at best with Pickford looking capable of a howler at any minute. The Republic, Wales and Northern Ireland are currently reduced to using practically unknowns, while Scotland are using the keepers from Hearts and Derby County. The "home" nations are still producing quality in all the other departments but none of them has a world class keeper or any depth in the keeping department. 

How did it come to this? I guess it must come down to coaching and first team opportunities. The best two teams in England at the moment have two Brazilians wearing the number 1 jersey, Edison at City and Alisson at Liverpool. The only team in the top 10 to have a local keeper is Everton with Pickford and I wouldn't bet on him staying at number 1 next season. 

Clearly the trajectory in goalkeeping standards since the 70s is firmly downward, surely alarm bells are going off somewhere. If something isn't done soon the "home" nations are going to lag even further behind.

Peter Anderson is a Unionist with a keen interest in sports.

14 comments:

  1. it is funny that the two best keepers in the EPL are from a country where it was at one time notoriously difficult to get people to keep goal. Most wanted the outfield flair. Of all the Brazilian teams I can recall I don't remember the name of one single keeper.

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  2. Leo was their keeper in the late seventies! Easy name to remember. No English boss has won the lge since 1992 ; a total disgrace - Discuss . 😁

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  3. Keepers tend to have one or two good seasons, then go downhill pronto ; Dudek and Kirkland at Pool, De Gea at M U , several keepers at Chelsea and Arsenal.
    Time for the Reds to slip into fifth gear and cruise into a 🆑 final 🆚 City or Bayern. 👍

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  4. Peter, on the subject of goalkeepers, which player scored at Wembley against the same goalkeeper, in the same season for three different sides?

    KM

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  5. KM

    I can't remember, though I have heard that one before. What about his trivia question,
    Fill the blank:

    1979 Sunderland
    1980 ?
    1981 Villa

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    Replies
    1. Peter, nice one. I was at the 79 final as a Man Utd fan and referrence Alan Sunderland robbing us. 1982 Spurs v City Ricky Villa scored. 1980 I believe was Trevor Brooking for West Ham,all three securing winning goals for their team. KM

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  6. Taffarel at Italia 90 was good. Although it's hard to remember any others

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  7. 1980: Brooking.
    Forget the L'Pool prediction.

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    Replies
    1. this is a very poor side. I listened to the pre match commentary on RTE and wondered why these guys get paid. If they were weather forecasters they would be predicting snow in August. They thought Liverpool were going to win. Real Madrid is not Arsenal. It swept Liverpool aside.

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  8. What's the answer to the three times in one season question?

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    Replies
    1. Just above, Ronan said Trevor Brooking

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  9. Is Trevor Brooking not the answer to this question?
    Fill the blank:
    1979 Sunderland
    1980 ?
    1981 Villa

    But what about this question?
    "which player scored at Wembley against the same goalkeeper, in the same season for three different sides?"

    I’ve been climbing the walls trying to figure out the scorer, the keeper and the three sides. Could someone put me out of my misery?

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    Replies
    1. you are right
      I'll ask KM to answer it - he posed the question

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