Dis­ap­pear­ing act

Where are the colour­ful keep­ers?

Late Tackle Football Magazine - - CONTENTS -

GOAL­KEEP­ERS are of­ten said to be ‘crazy’. In the past, they also used to have a big per­son­al­ity. Be­ing a No.1 isn’t for every­one. Ev­ery child gets asked when they start to play foot­ball what po­si­tion they wish to play. Gen­er­ally, goal­keeper is quite far down the list.

This no­tion was still the case when I was a young­ster back in the mid-90s. How­ever, with me it was a dif­fer­ent story - the larger-than-life pres­ence of those be­tween the sticks in­trigued me more.

Back in the 90s, goalies had their own aura, in part helped by the colour­ful and well-padded jer­seys they wore.Was it a co­in­ci­dence that those colour­ful tops were filled by colour­ful char­ac­ters?

There are four goalies from this era who in­spired me – an as­pir­ing goal­keeper dur­ing park kick-arounds un­til I re­alised the growth spurt was not hap­pen­ing. I will go into greater de­tail on them shortly…

As well as opt­ing to go in goal in park matches, my fa­ther would take me to var­i­ous parks to take shots at me.

Wear­ing var­i­ous goalie jer­seys, I would pre­tend to be cer­tain keep­ers. Maybe it was just an il­lu­sion, but this seemed to im­prove my shot­stop­ping abil­i­ties.

In the nineties, I would pre­tend to be the likes of Mark Bos­nich, Rene Hi­gu­ita, Peter Sch­me­ichel and An­dreas Kopke. The next four, how­ever, are the ones that I would im­i­tate the most and for that de­serve a brief pro­file:

BERNARD LAMA:

With 44 caps for France, I was over­come with his per­for­mances at Euro 96 and his brief 12 ap­pear­ances for West Ham in 1998. His broad physique yet amaz­ing agility was easy on the eye. It was very rare you saw Lama wear­ing shorts be­tween the sticks. He was more recog­nised with track­suit bot­toms, some­thing else which has van­ished from the mod­ern game. Apart from that brief spell with the Ham­mers, the rest of his ca­reer was spent in France with spells at Lille, Metz and PSG (two spells). He man­aged two goals in his pro ca­reer and was crowned French Player of the Year in 1994. Since re­tir­ing, he has taken up coach­ing du­ties, even coach­ing the Kenyan na­tional team.

DMITRI KHARINE:

What an ob­scure yet en­dear­ing pres­ence this man had. If you watch a reel of some of the bet­ter goals from the 90s, quite a few flew past the Rus­sian. He would of­ten not even at­tempt to dive for ef­forts he knew were be­yond him – see

Jur­gen Klins­mann's goal against him at Euro 96.

His ca­reer started in 1982 with Tor­pedo Moscow and he then had a stint with Dy­namo Moscow.

He en­joyed a sea­son at Rus­sian gi­ants CSKA Moscow be­fore be­ing snapped up by Chelsea, where he would spend seven years, amass­ing 118 league ap­pear­ances. He had three years at Celtic, mak­ing only eight league starts, be­fore turn­ing out for Non-League Hornchurch.

At in­ter­na­tional level, he played for the USSR (six caps), CIS – Com­mon­wealth of In­de­pen­dent States (nine caps) and Rus­sia (23 caps).

He is cur­rently the goal­keep­ing coach at Hemel Hemp­stead Town.

BRUCE GROBBELAAR:

His rub­ber-legged penalty hero­ics helped Liver­pool win the Euro­pean Cup in 1984.

One of the first sweeper-keep­ers, some­times you could be mis­taken for be­liev­ing he was an out­field player.

His tro­phy-laden 13-year ca­reer at Liver­pool is what de­fined him, al­though he was later dogged by match-fix­ing claims (he was even­tu­ally cleared in court).

Al­ways en­ter­tain­ing, he was spot­ted while on loan at Crewe from Van­cou­ver White­caps.

After the Reds, he went on to Southamp­ton and Ply­mouth be­fore do­ing the rounds late on in his ca­reer.

A Zim­babwe in­ter­na­tional and a goal­keeper drip­ping with per­son­al­ity and charisma.

HANS SEGERS:

An­other keeper I was ridiculed for ad­mir­ing, mainly be­cause of the same match-fix­ing al­le­ga­tions that Grobbelaar faced (Segers was also cleared), but also for his eight-year af­fil­i­a­tion with the 'ugly but lov­able' Crazy Gang of Wim­ble­don. Started his ca­reer at PSV Eind­hoven, one of Hol­land’s most pres­ti­gious clubs, be­fore join­ing Not­ting­ham For­est. After Wim­ble­don, he would make spo­radic ap­pear­ances for both Wolves and Spurs be­fore con­cen­trat­ing on coach­ing. Ended up as a goal­keep­ing coach at both Tot­ten­ham and Ful­ham. I feel keep­ers used to com­mand a cer­tain re­spect, they had some­thing special. In the Premier League era, the best keep­ers, for me, were the ones from the 90s. Keep­ers now don’t have what they had. Sadly, a num­ber of things are dis­ap­pear­ing. Goal­keeper jer­seys are now just long-sleeved shirts with no pad­ding, most keep­ers have to fit the six foot-plus ath­lete physique and the days of a scruffy Neville Southall be­tween the sticks have died. In ad­di­tion, track­suit bot­toms have van­ished from the keeper’s out­fit and so too have the caps to keep the sun from their eyes. I’m try­ing to do my bit to keep old tra­di­tions alive. Play­ing in goal at five-a-sides on Mon­day nights, I wear the trackie bot­toms and still hope to one day pull out a Hi­gu­ita scor­pion kick. I live in hope.

Bernard Lama

Bruce Grobbelaar Hans Segers Dmitri Kharine

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