Fergie’s ‘keepers: good, bad and ugly
David de Gea completed a medical in Manchester today ahead of a €20 million transfer but Sir Alex Ferguson has not always been successful when it comes to recruiting goalkeepers. From calamitous Jim Leighton, to ‘Two’ Andy Gorams, via Peter Schmeichel and Edwin van der Sar, Rant reviews ten of the best and worst Fergie ‘keepers.
Jim Leighton 1988-1991
Scotsman Leighton joined from Ferguson’s old haunt at Aberdeen but failed to live up to the big reputation. The international was ignominiously dropped by Ferguson following a calamitous display during the 3-3 draw with Crystal Palace in the 1990 FA Cup Final.
Mark Bosnich 1989–1992, 1999–2001
Cocaine loving Australian Bosnich spent two periods at Old Trafford, neither successful. First joining as a trainee in the late 1980s before leaving for Aston Villa, Bosnich then re-joined United at Chairman Martin Edward’s behest in 1999.
Les Sealey 1990–1991, 1993–1994
Sealey came to prominence during the 1990 FA Cup Final replay, going on to ‘keep for the club during United’s successful Cup Winners’ Cup campaign the following season. Returned as an understudy to Schmeichel in 1993. Died in 2001
Peter Schmeichel 1992-1999
Surely the best goalkeeper to have ever played for the club. Schmeichel played eight glorious seasons at Old Trafford, lifting the Champions League before semi-retiring to Portugal in summer 1999.
Massimo Taibi 1999–2000
Italian Taibi joined United for £4.5 million following Schmeichel’s departure but played just five games for the club following a calamitous error against Southampton. The ‘keeper allowed a Matt Le Tissier shot through his legs and with that went his United career.
Fabien Barthez 2000–2004
The French international joined a great expense and offered brilliance and errors in almost equal measure. Played nearly 150 games for the club before Ferguson lost patience and loaned the ‘keeper to Marseille.
Roy Carroll 2001-2005
Ulsterman Carroll joined United as a promising youngster but failed to fulfil the potential during four inconsistent years at Old Trafford. Now playing in Denmark.
Andy Goram 2001
Schizophrenic pie-eating Scotsman Goram inspired one of the finest terrace chant ever, arriving on an emergency loan in 2001, playing just two games for United.
Tim Howard 2003-2007
Tourets Tim enjoyed a fine début season at Old Trafford, being voted into the PFA Team of the Year. But inconsistency and a loss of confidence damaged his promising start before being transferred to Everton in 2007.
Edwin van der Sar 2005-2011
Arguably the second finest ‘keeper in United’s history. The Dutchman arrived at Old Trafford during a dark time for United’s ‘keeping department but has offered a calm authority in six years at Old Trafford. Should have joined in 1999.
David de Gea 2011-
With the world at his feet, talented de Gea faces a critical first season at Old Trafford. Already one of the finest ‘keepers in the world but will face a unique pressure during his début campaign for the club.