Gordon glad to get back on Wearside
CRAIG GORDON returns to his former stomping ground this afternoon as Celtic head to Sunderland for their final friendly of the summer.
The Hoops stopper was signed by Sunderland from Hearts for a then record fee of £9m in 2007 – the highest fee any British club had paid for a goalkeeper – and although his time at the club was marred by serious injury, there were highlights too.
Roy Keane describes in his autobiography how Gordon was applauded off the training ground after his inaugural session with his new colleagues while it was during his time at Sunderland that Gordon won the English Premiership’s best save in its then 20-year history.
“Those one-off occasions are happy memories,” recalled Gordon. “Overall, it was blighted by my injury record at that time.
“The best save was against Bolton. We actually won that game 1-0 that night, so it was important in terms of points and staying in the league. From that point of view, it was really important. It gives added significance to a save when you go on and win the game. I would be hard pushed to make a better one in the remainder of my career. I don’t really quite know how I managed to do it. It was just a reaction. I managed to get my left hand to it. It was just the way I connected with the ball. I managed to spin it up and over the bar from right underneath the crossbar.
“I have a trophy. It was to mark 20 years of the Premier League. They had a vote on some of the best saves. It was that one that won it.
“The list of guys who were nominated for it and some of the saves were just brilliant. To come out on top of that was amazing. The names were world-renowned. It is a really good achievement and one I will hang onto for a wee while. There have been some good saves since then so if they try to have another vote there will be a bit more competition. It was really special at the time.”
Keane was a difficult boss for Gordon to work under, with the Irishman offering a conciliatory tone in his book when he recalled stopping a training session to take the gloves off Gordon.
And the Celtic keeper expects that it won’t be too long before Keane is back in the dug-out in his own right.
“He has got a lot of good attributes to be a manager,” said Gordon. “He is working under Martin O’Neill just now, but maybe as time goes on he will come back into management in his own right again. He has a lot of good ideas. His organisation is very good. Yeah, he could be fiery at times, but he is not going to change his personality. I have talked to some of the Irish lads and they say he is mellowing with age a little bit. It might be time for him to come back into it.”