If I said “goalkeepers are crazy”, you’ll be able to tell the age of the respondent by their answer. Born in the 21st Century, you’re talking Higuita, possibly Neuer when he first burst onto the scene. The trouble with German goalkeepers in this category is that like Harald Schumacher, actions were calculated. Except for Jens and he was just a psychopath. But he was our psychopath.
Older fans may remember Ramon Quiroga from the 1978 World Cup. The video is worth watching for Denis Law’s manaiacal laughter as co-commentator:
The first thing which springs to my mind with the phrase is Bob Wilson’s bare hands diving at the feet of the onrushing forward. This is the late 60s and 70s when goalkeepers were a different breed. Bravery was taken as read with those between the sticks the lunatics of the team, the characters.
A decade before, Bert Trautmann broke his neck in the FA Cup final and played on. Forget the Titanic band playing on, this is real heroism; Manchester City won the game.
Gordon Banks tried to play on after a car crash despite losing the sight in his right eye in 1972. These days a well-aimed boot kicked at a media darling’s head is a national tragedy but the stiff upper lip still prevailed back then.
Mind you, Peter Shilton’s car crash moment didn’t unduly hurt his career. More than a decade of chants of “Tina! Tina!” and “Does your missus know you’re here?”. Highbury was, I believe, the last bastion of those serenades.
Petr Cech never suffered such ignominy; he’s too much of a bloody nice bloke. Like Bob, Pat and Dave before him, a gentleman by all accounts. A great help to Ryan Mason which was unprompted by anything other than human decency.
Wherever I Lay My Skull Cap, That’s My Home
Hanging up his boots now is no surprise. Relegated to second-choice in the XI is repeating his history at Chelsea and not a welcome memory; a retrograde step he didn’t wish to take.
Is it surprising that at 36 he is hanging up his boots? Not at all. He’s seen the likes of David Seaman move onto other clubs to prolong his career and it not working out; time waits for no man nor the goalkeeper’s reflexes.
Along with David Ospina, his contract expires this summer. It’s an example of the previous regime’s mismanagement of contracts. Ozil and Sanchez’s deals expired in the same summer; it’s almost as if someone wanted to make the manager’s life difficult. For the contracts to become a catalyst for change…
It leaves our summer budget stretched further. If I look at the younger goalkeepers at the club, going into a season with Leno backed up by Martinez and Iliev doesn’t inspire; inexperience is a hefty price to pay if relied upon for half of a Premier League season. I know young players have a career path to follow but throwing them in at the deep end is a huge risk for the club.
If we are going to pursue that route, significant investment in the defensive side of the playing staff is absolutely essential. To put a young goalkeeper behind Mustafi is the sort of cruelty which the RSPCA successfully prosecutes.
Every time Unai Emery looks at the squad, he must wonder how we’ve got to this position. It’s taken a number of years and the answer remains “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”.
It’s That Time of the Post…
The same is true of Mesut Ozil. It’s set for him to return to the team on Saturday and produce a blinding Man of the Match performance. Whether he does play to that level is another matter.
David Seaman observed between casts yesterday that “there’s something really weird going on and I don’t think we’re getting the full story.” Safe hands, safe quote.
He’s more concerned about the impact on the squad fo the situation:
That can cause a lot of problems, especially with the amount of money he’s getting. It’s almost double what everybody else is doing, if not more in some cases.
It can cause problems because the guy who is getting the most money is supposed to be the guy who is setting the example.
He’s the best player at the club and you want to see that.
But when you see that he’s not doing it, and he’s not doing regularly it breeds a little bit of discontent.
The players get the hump with you.
When Arsene was in charge, there was no chance of anyone getting the hump. The players were all too nice, too amiable and willing to get on. Now there is some edge to the sqiuad, a rebellious streak is surfacing? I don’t think so somehow.
He’s not wrong in believe that a parting of the ways is on the cards but like the goalkeeper situation, it won’t be sorted out until the summer.
Busy days ahead.