Stretford-End XI: Goalkeeper

Van der Sar
I am pleased to announce we will be hosting a Stretford-End XI for a bit of fun during the holiday season. Each day we will have a poll to determine who you believe the best Manchester United player is for each position, and at the end we will list the Stretford-End XI picked by you the readers. Today we’ll be starting with goalkeepers. Each of our three candidates is highly qualified, all having won a European title with United. Of course those three are Alex Stepney, Peter Schmeichel, and Edwin van der Sar.


Alex Stepney

Alex Stepney was the man in goal when Manchester United lifted their first European Cup in 1968. When Stepney moved to United from Chelsea in 1966 it was for a then-record £55,000. Stepney remained with United until 1978. During his tenure at the club, Stepney’s experiences ranged from European glory in 1968 to relegation in 1974. His last major accomplishment with the club came in 1977 when United won the FA Cup. During his career he amassed 539 appearances, which is the sixth most of any player in the club’s history.

Peter Schmeichel

The Great Dane. Few would argue that Peter Schmeichel was one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time. To this day he still holds the Premier League record for clean sheets-to-games ratio at 42 percent. Schmeichel was an integral part to United’s rise in the 1990s under Sir Alex Ferguson. During his time at Old Trafford from 1991-1999, Schmeichel earned five Premier League titles, three FA Cup titles, and a Champions League title. Schmeichel was of course the man in goal when United won the Treble in 1999, which was his final season with the club.

Edwin van der Sar

The final candidate is none other than our current goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar. The Dutchman joined United from Fulham in 2005 and has been a mainstay in goal ever since. After three seasons without a Premier League title, Van der Sar played a key role in United’s resurgence to claim the title in 2006-07. Van der Sar will most likely be best remembered by United fans for his penalty save to win the 2008 Champions League. During the 2008-09 season, Van der Sar broke the world record for most minutes without conceding a goal. That season he had 21 clean sheets as United claimed their record-tying 18th title. There is still much uncertainty over Van der Sar’s future, though many believe this will be his final season. One thing is certain though, Van der Sar will be missed the day he hangs up his gloves.

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Follow Kyle on Twitter at KDill_MUFC

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7 Responses to “Stretford-End XI: Goalkeeper”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Catur Setio Wahyudi, Yolkie , Bhargav Shingre, Kyle Diller, Manchester United and others. Manchester United said: Stretford-end >> Stretford-End XI: Goalkeeper http://buzztap.com/-7W0cU8 […]

  2. Ian says:

    I suspect that Stepney is losing out because of most visitors never having seen him outside clips. Of the other two it’s got to be Schmeichel. I think van der Sar may be more technically proficient but Schmeichel was immense and his instincts were second to none.

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  3. Yolkie says:

    I agree with you Ian but you know what we’re like! Have to have a fair representation of the players and Stepney fully deserves to be on the shortlist.

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  4. Ian says:

    Oh I agree, I was more lamenting the reason he’ll get no votes than suggesting he oughtn’t have been there in the first place. :)

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  5. Max says:

    I am EdwinVan Der sar on forum so it doesnt take a rocket scientist to find out who i voted for

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  6. Luckbox878 says:

    No doubt in my mind Peter Schmeichel is the best keeper there hsa ever been. He was complete in every way. Anders Lindegaard has alot of similar qualities as The Great Dane has and i’m sure he will progress into a world class goalkeeper aswell, but that’s another topic. :)

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  7. Vazzer says:

    What, no Gary Bailey? He’s the reason I started supporting United, I fell in love with him when I was about 6 years old. And I still have my original Gary Bailey scarf which I wear to every match!

    (OK, I can be objective, I know he wasn’t THAT good, but I still love him and can secretly wish….)

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  8. KDill_MUFC says:

    Yolkie and I both felt Alex Stepney belonged on that list. Though neither of us has seen him play, he did play a major role in our history as the goalkeeper in 1968. We expected that our young readers wouldn’t vote for Stepney, but we certainly never expected this.

    To be fair, Schmeichel is possibly the greatest of all time. I expected him to win easily.

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  9. […] 24 December 00:00 GMT. You may vote for any of the position until then. The previous positions are Goalkeeper, Right Back, Left Back, Centre Backs, Centre Midfielders, and Wingers. If you haven’t voted […]

  10. […] Stretford-End.com recently ran a readers poll to pick United’s best ever XI – in the goalkeepers vote, Schmeichel got 78% of the vote with Edwin van der Sar second on 21%. That he is still held in such high regard (despite a spell at City too!) is a testament to how good he was. During your time working alongside him, did you ever get frustrated to be overlooked, or were you happy to work with him and learn from him?   Kevin : That poll says it all. There you have got two of the best keepers in the world ever. It was frustrating not playing games but also it was an honour just to be in his company. He didn’t do me any favours in the Spurs game though. I was speaking to him last year and he said he shouldn’t have started that game!   Few would realise this but out of all the keepers that rose through the ranks at United, since Gary Walsh, you are the one who has made most appearances for the first team. With all due respect, those 6 outings illustrate the need for a mature, composed experienced head between the sticks at the top level. Again, that’s no slight on yourself – even the old adage “if you’re good enough, you’re old enough” never really applied to goalkeepers back in the mid-90s, it was incredibly rare to see someone under the age of 25 as a first choice back then. Having lived through that time, is that the way you saw it? I presume you would have wanted to stay at United, but did you realise that you would be waiting around for the opportunity or were you frustrated at not breaking through?   Kevin : That’s a nice stat. I think the manager always thought he needed an experienced keeper and that has proved to be right. Apart from Joe Hart there’s no other keeper who hasn’t got the experience at the top. Of course I always wanted to stay at United but I also wanted to play first team football unfortunately that was not going to happen on a regular basis at United so I went elsewhere to get games. I will always be grateful for the opportunities that Sir Alex gave me. Fergie obviously signed Tony Coton and then Raimond van der Gouw as experienced cover for Schmeichel – it was van der Gouw’s signing that really pushed you out, despite a couple of games in 97-98 (including a credible clean sheet at Goodison!). Were you bitter at leaving United?   Kevin : I think the Van Der Gouw signing was the one that made me think I would have to go else where to get first team football. The season before I had been on the bench for most of the season and got player of the year for the reserves so I had every thing I could of to stake my claim. I have never been bitter at leaving united. I was grateful for everything they did for me and honoured to play for them.     As a supporter of the club it is always a sad moment to see someone who had come through the youth system and play for the first team actually leave – especially someone who, regardless of what anyone says, was part of an important and incredible time in the history of United. You will always, unavoidably, be linked to that era of the club. Is it something you look back on with fondness or is it more regret seeing the likes of Giggs and Neville achieve what they went on to do? […]

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