PLAY ON: The Goalkeeper
US great, Hope Solo, said she couldn’t have been “a great goalkeeper without power, agility and quickness” – all of which she had in spades.
At his peak, Steven Gerrard declared that you shouldn’t just be out to beat a goalkeeper but to “destroy” him.
Zinedine Zidane said of Andrés Iniesta that he was such a complete player who could play anywhere that he “could even player as a goalkeeper. He’s magical.”
Iker Casillas said he wanted to be remembered not as a good goalkeeper but as “a great person”.
While Maradona told …….. in the ultimate put-down: “You were only a goalkeeper.”
The (perhaps more) thoughtful Brad Friedel said:
“Being a goalkeeper gives you quite a unique perspective on things. You are part of a team yet somehow separate; there are no grey areas, with success or failure being measured in real time; and you have a physical job which you can only do well by paying attention to your mental well-being. A great goalkeeper has to have the keys to a great mindset.
"To be able to work well in the box, I believe you have to be able to think outside the box.”
The June edition of PLAY ON doesn’t cover any of those players (although Casilas rates a mention!) but it nonetheless does contain some varied tales about goalkeepers and their importance.
Australia, for one reason or another, has long produced outstanding goalkeepers. But for every Mark Bosnich, Mark Schwarzer, John Filan, Zeljko Kalac, Mat Ryan, Danny Vukovic and Lydia Williams who have made it to high level leagues overseas, there are those who are plying away at their trade in some incredible circumstances. John Davidson’s Have Gloves, Will Travel profiles some of them.
Jack George looks at the technicalities and mentality of goalkeepers, while some household names and not-so-well-known ‘keepers are profiled: Emi Martinez with his stand-out season for Aston Villa (by Chris King), the Schmeichel’s (by Michael Renouf), Willie McNally (by Ashley Morrison) and Matt Stoningham (by Clement Tito).
In his usual idiosyncratic style, Stuart Thomas looks at these ‘most unusual of sportspeople’ and Jorge Knijnik presents the great and quirky René Higuita, known as El Loco, as not just a Colombian hero but a genuine game-changer.
All-in-all, some top reads.
Interestingly, one of the books we have being released in a few months’ time is also about a man who started his football career as a goalkeeper, Steve Darby. His book The Itinerant Coach by Antony Sutton takes us on a journey from where he grew up near Anfield, to Tasmania (not Tanzania, as he thought!), around Australia, much of south-east Asia and return home to Liverpool. Watch for it soon.
Until next time, enjoy your football. We hope you enjoy the latest edition of PLAY ON also.