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Author Topic: This one's a keeper  (Read 1534 times)

Online dave.woodhall

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This one's a keeper
« on: January 17, 2021, 06:10:15 PM »
Jimmy Rimmer, Nigel Spink and Mark Bosnich: the three best goalkeepers Iíve seen in my 45 years of attending games at Villa Park.

If weíre being picky, each probably had their weaknesses, though Iíve got to be honest, I donít remember one for Jimmy. Spinksy wasnít always to be relied upon coming for crosses, though of course he certainly was on that day of his standout performance, just his second game, too, the European Cup final. Bozzie couldnít kick for toffee. He knew how to save a penalty though and oozed self-confidence. Maybe thatís the common denominator for all three of these fine Villa custodians: confidence - not just in themselves but in what they transmitted to their defences and indeed, to the whole team.

If that is the mark of a great goalkeeper then we might just have found another one in Emiliano Martinez. His performances have certainly suggested so and he has rightly been lauded, for the way in which he has galvanised a defence that shipped goals alarmingly last season, even with two good and experienced goalkeepers in their midst: Tom Heaton for the first part of the season and Pepe Reina for its culmination. I like Heaton and thought he was showing more than enough to be the one to finally emerge as a successor to the Holy Trinity of Villa goalkeepers listed above Ė weíd waited long enough, as it was back in 1999 when Bozzie left us for an ill-fated return to Old Trafford.

In recent years, particularly, we seem to have had more keepers than the Albion have had managers. Jed Steer deserves special mention and he deserved to be the goalkeeper who took us back to the Premier League, if for nothing else than his walk towards the Smethwick End, alongside Mason Holgate, ahead of that penalty shootout against the Albion. Jedís not had a lot of luck with injuries but itíd be great to see him stay around the club for a whole lot longer and he would guarantee that whoever had the Number 1 shirt was continually challenged.

Sam Johnstone didnít enjoy the same success as Steer in a Championship play-off final but he looked the part of a long-term Villa goalkeeper, enjoying eighteen fine months in claret and blue before a true sliding doors moment - timing and a lack of money at the club, thankfully short-lived Ė led to him choosing a future at the Hawthorns. A future that meant he got to see Tammy Abraham score our penalty shootout winner at close quarters and to experience a second full house for a Villa Park semi-final. Tammy scored past him that day too, after, not to forget, one of my all-time favourite Villa Park goals, Conor Hourihaneís thunderous strike at the Holte End, after a slide rule pass from Captain Jack.

Weíve had some star names recruited to be our first-choice goalkeeper since Bozzie left. Experienced internationals like Peter Schmeichel, Thomas Sorensen, Brad Friedel, David James and Shay Given. Whilst theyíve all been reasonable, with Friedel better than that and probably the pick of the bunch, none of them quite had the longevity or ability of those top three of Rimmer, Spink and Bosnich, who between them made nearly a thousand appearances for the club.

Since our deserved relegation in 2016, we honestly canít ever have seen new goalkeepers come through the Trinity Road entrance doors at such a frequency but frankly, itís often been difficult to see why they were recruited. Were they any better than who we already had, in Jed Steer? Despite being internationals themselves, Pierluigi Gollini, Orjan Nyland and Lovre Kalinic (I had high hopes of him) all looked a little lost in English football, right from their first appearances.

For overcoming this poor recruitment and getting us to where we are now, credit must go to a man who made just one appearance in goal for the club, as a substitute: Neil Cutler. As goalkeeping coach, heís encouraged performances from Steer, through the promotion run; from Heaton, for an increasingly tough baptism back in the Premier League and from Reina, for the relegation run in. Now heís got some real quality in depth to work with in Martinez, backed up by Heaton and Steer.

After too many false dawns, it looks like we finally have a Number 1 (well, number 26 actually) with all the necessary attributes - a physical presence, good shot-stopping ability, a command of his penalty area and a dominant manner with his defence and, as an added bonus, he seems a really positive character within the squad. Compared to those imports in our post-relegation seasons, Martinez is a goalkeeper with previous experience in England, having served an apprenticeship on loan at Oxford United, Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham United, Wolves, Reading and finally, for a season at his parent club, Arsenal. I think itís only now that heís gone that theyíre realising just how good he was.

I hope by the time I can count 50 years of going to Villa Park (of course, the chance would be a fine thing given current restrictions), that Iím talking about having seen four great goalkeepers in that period. Emi Martinez: the stage is all set for you to be the outstanding, reliable, ever-present performer that Jimmy, Spinksy and Bozzie all were and become another goalkeeper who weíll all talk about down the Villa for years to come.

Robin Wilkes



Offline Morleys left boot

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Re: This one's a keeper
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2021, 06:54:27 PM »
A great read this mate
My favourite was Jimmy but this guy I'm sure he's  going to around for a long time

Offline tomd2103

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Re: This one's a keeper
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2021, 09:32:21 PM »
Think Brad Friedel was a very reliable keeper and that one error in the FA Cup Final aside, David James also did well for us. 

Offline clash city rocker

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Re: This one's a keeper
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2021, 11:19:45 PM »
For me Martinez is the best since Rimmer.

Offline Tokyo Sexwhale

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Re: This one's a keeper
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2021, 02:20:29 AM »
Friedel is definitely in the same class (quality-wise)as Bosnich and Spink, and he was in his late 30s when he joined us, so we probably didn't even have him at his best.


Offline Exeter 77

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Re: This one's a keeper
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2021, 09:39:06 AM »
Very interesting discussion article. I think we saw the best of both Rimmer and Bosnich at Villa based on their performances at other clubs. Spink's longevity counts for a lot but I have never thought about his ability in quite the same terms of the other two despite him seeing off Mervyn Day and Kevin Poole when they displaced him temporarily. In Martinez we may have found a keeper to rival our best of the last 50 years.

Offline teamvillage

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Re: This one's a keeper
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2021, 04:06:38 PM »
As both a cynic and a former keeper, the one feeling I can't shake is the fear about how good Scott Carson was until That England Game. I never fully trust a goalkeeper until they have had an absolute howler (and a costly howler at that) and bounce back as if nothing's happened.

Online dave.woodhall

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Re: This one's a keeper
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2021, 05:27:46 PM »
As both a cynic and a former keeper, the one feeling I can't shake is the fear about how good Scott Carson was until That England Game. I never fully trust a goalkeeper until they have had an absolute howler (and a costly howler at that) and bounce back as if nothing's happened.

All keepers go through a bad patch. They either come out of it the better for their experience (Rimmer) or where is Scott Carson these days?*


*Yes, I know he's at Manchester City. You know what I mean.



Online dcdavecollett

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Re: This one's a keeper
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2021, 07:50:04 PM »
Good article.

Spinky, like my first Villa 'keeper, Colin Withers, wasn't quite as good off his line as he should have been, which is why neither of them will join the list of greats, IMO.

Online Ian.

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Re: This one's a keeper
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2021, 08:33:02 PM »
Most of my real heroes are from when I was young and growing up, so for me itís always been Spink and Bosnich who have been my favourite keepers.

Good read that, thanks.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2021, 11:19:33 AM by Ian J »

Offline ktvillan

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Re: This one's a keeper
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2021, 09:51:32 AM »
Good article - Schmeichel was an all-time great but was well past his best when with us.  Strangely I was never that taken with Friedel. 

I really don't remember a time when I rated Carson even before his England howler.  Seemed to dive in slow motion.  The England thing didn't really come as a surprise to me, nor did his subsequent career around the Championship and as backup.  Liverpool knew what they were doing when they sold him to us.

Offline LeeB

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Re: This one's a keeper
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2021, 10:22:03 AM »
Good article - Schmeichel was an all-time great but was well past his best when with us.  Strangely I was never that taken with Friedel. 

I really don't remember a time when I rated Carson even before his England howler.  Seemed to dive in slow motion.  The England thing didn't really come as a surprise to me, nor did his subsequent career around the Championship and as backup.  Liverpool knew what they were doing when they sold him to us.

Shots just seemed to go through Carson, like he was a bloody hologram. I too was never that taken with Friedel, although he was solid.

It's a weird thing with keepers, being able to radiate a calm air is almost as important as agility, and I've found that even playing Sunday league football.

Offline robbo1874

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Re: This one's a keeper
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2021, 02:43:34 AM »
Good read and also agree with most of the comments above. Rimmer was the first Villa keeper I saw play for the club. I was never a goal keeper, but when youíre kids having a kick about you always had to do a stint in goal and whenever it was my turn Iíd pretend to be Jimmy Rimmer. The medals that Jimmy and Spinksy won-aside, itís a big shout, but I reckon Bozzie was the best out of the 3 of them. We have had some top class keepers down the years. Martinez is continuing that tradition. Him with Heaton as back up is very very solid for our expected progress.

Online dave.woodhall

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Re: This one's a keeper
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2021, 01:07:57 PM »
Very interesting discussion article. I think we saw the best of both Rimmer and Bosnich at Villa based on their performances at other clubs. Spink's longevity counts for a lot but I have never thought about his ability in quite the same terms of the other two despite him seeing off Mervyn Day and Kevin Poole when they displaced him temporarily. In Martinez we may have found a keeper to rival our best of the last 50 years.

Day and Poole were really never anything other than back-ups. Rimmer was unlucky in that he had one bad game, Tony Barton dropped him and there was a ready-made replacement in Spink, who went through his bad periods and is a lot more highly-regarded now than he was then.

Offline four fornicholl

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Re: This one's a keeper
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2021, 08:50:21 AM »
A quick shout out to John Burridge, loved him.

 


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