Every-week on www.arsenalaction.com forum we will focus on an Arsenal legend
[ David Seaman ]
And maybe the greatest save of all time
Years Club App
1982–1984 Peterborough United 
1984–1986 Birmingham City 
1986–1990 Queens Park Rangers 
1990–2003 Arsenal 
2003–2004 Manchester City 
In 1990, long before the current transfer window system had come to English football, there was still a transfer deadline a few weeks before the end of the season. Arsenal, who had won the league in 1989, wanted to sign Seaman, but the deal involved Arsenal’s keeper John Lukic heading the opposite way on loan. Lukic did not want to do this, and the deal broke down and remained unresolved when the deadline passed. As soon as the season ended and clubs were allowed to buy players again, Arsenal manager George Graham came back for Seaman, with £1.3 million (at the time a British record for a goalkeeper) being the agreed fee. Lukic, who was highly popular amongst Arsenal fans, left to rejoin Leeds.
Before making his Arsenal début, Seaman was selected by Bobby Robson as England’s third-choice goalkeeper behind Peter Shilton and Chris Woods at the 1990 FIFA World Cup, but after arriving in Italy he had to pull out of the squad due to injury and was replaced by Dave Beasant.
Seaman’s time at Arsenal coincided with one of the most successful periods in the club’s history. The 1990-91 season saw Seaman concede only 18 goals when playing in every match of the 38-game season as Arsenal regained the league title in . However, in 1992, Seaman was rejected by Graham Taylor for the Euro 92 England squad, in favour of Chris Woods and Nigel Martyn.
Arsenal won both the FA Cup and the League Cup in 1993 and supplemented this a year later with the European Cup Winners’ Cup. Shortly before the European success, Terry Venables was appointed as England manager following Taylor’s failure to qualify for the World Cup. Venables saw Seaman as his first-choice goalkeeper and Seaman would remain a permanent member of the England team until 2002.
In 1995, George Graham was sacked, and Arsenal came close to becoming the first club to retain the Cup Winners’ Cup, with Seaman earning a reputation as a penalty-saving specialist after saving Attilio Lombardo’s shot in Arsenal’s semi-final shoot-out against U.C. Sampdoria. However, in the final Arsenal lost in extra time to Real Zaragoza, with a spectacular last-minute goal from Nayim from 45 yards out catching Seaman off his line, it was noted that there were only seconds left of extra time when Seaman conceded.
Seaman soon put the Nayim mistake behind him, with his heroics as part of Venables’s Euro 96 England team. Seaman saved two spot-kicks in the tournament; the first a penalty in normal play from Scotland’s Gary McAllister in a group match, while England were 1-0 up (Paul Gascoigne scored soon after to make it 2-0). Then, after England’s quarter-final against Spain ended scoreless, Seaman saved Miguel Angel Nadal’s kick in the shootout to knock Spain out of the tournament. England eventually were eliminated in the semi-finals of the competition; Seaman was named alongside Golden Boot winner Alan Shearer and winger Steve McManaman in the UEFA “Team of the Tournament”. Euro 96 sponsor Philips named him “Player of the Tournament”.
In August 1996, Arsène Wenger became the new manager of Arsenal. Wenger rated Seaman highly and in 1998, Seaman backstopped the team to the Premier League and FA Cup double. His performance earned him a place in Glenn Hoddle’s England team for the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France. England went out on penalties losing against Argentina.
In 1998–99, Seaman played all 38 league matches, conceded only 17 league goals as Arsenal came agonisingly close to retaining the Premier League and lost in the FA Cup semis to Manchester United. The following season Seaman managed to reach the 2000 UEFA Cup Final, which Arsenal drew 0-0 with Galatasaray, but lost on penalties. He was part of Kevin Keegan’s Euro 2000 squad, but sustained an injury in his warm-up exercises for the third game (against Romania). Nigel Martyn stepped in and performed badly, and Phil Neville’s clumsy foul late in the game gave Romania a penalty which Martyn could not stop. England lost the match and went out in the first round.
In 2002, Seaman won the Premier League and the FA Cup again to complete his second career double, although Arsenal’s other goalkeepers Stuart Taylor and Richard Wright also won championship medals, due mainly to Seaman’s absence through injuries. Seaman was part of Sven-Göran Eriksson’s 2002 FIFA World Cup squad, and played every game as England reached the quarter-finals, turning back a second half offensive to shut out arch-rivals Argentina 1-0 in the group stage after English captain David Beckham scored the penalty spot kick. However, in England’s quarter-final against Brazil Seaman was caught out by Ronaldinho’s curling free kick, as England lost 2-1; he blamed himself for the error.
The result led to a debate about whether Seaman should remain England’s number one. He remained England’s first choice goalkeeper until a Euro 2004 qualifier in October 2002 against Macedonia. In this match, he let in a goal directly from a corner kick by Artim Sakiri in a 2-2 draw and brought further press criticism. This was Seaman’s last appearance for the England national team, as Eriksson dropped him in favour of David James.
Despite his international career ending so flatly and accusations his mobility had faded with age, the 2002–03 season—Seaman’s last at Arsenal—ended on a high note. In the FA Cup, he made a spectacular save against Sheffield United’s Paul Peschisolido in the semi-finals, in what former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, a pundit for the BBC on the day, dubbed “the best save I’ve ever seen”. Arsenal were defending a 1-0 lead, when with less than ten minutes to go, Peschisolido had a header towards an apparently open goal from six yards out with Seaman seemingly stranded at the near post. However, the goalkeeper leaped sideways and backwards, somehow managing to stretch his right arm behind him and scoop the ball back and away from both his goal and the opposing players ready to pounce on a rebound. The match was all the more remarkable in that it was Seaman’s 1,000th professional career game. Seaman went on to captain the team during the finals in the absence of injured Patrick Vieira and keep another clean sheet at the Millennium Stadium as they defeated Southampton 1-0. His final act with Arsenal was to lift the FA Cup, which was his eighth major trophy with his team. Seaman played in goal for Arsenal more times than anyone else, and is second after Ray Parlour in the all-time Premiership appearances chart for Arsenal, with 325 to his name.In June 2008 he was voted seventh in the 50 Gunners Greatest Players.
Released by Arsenal, Seaman joined up with Kevin Keegan at Manchester City in the summer of 2003, but Seaman’s career at the City of Manchester Stadium did not last long. Whilst out of action due to injury, Seaman announced his immediate retirement in January 2004 at the age of 40.
Join our forum for more
- ‘A quality signing’, ‘Impressive performance’, some Arsenal fans praise attacker’s display vs Fulham
- Mikel Arteta confirms Rob Holding will stay put at Arsenal
- Predicted Arsenal lineup (3-4-3) vs Fulham, Saliba and Ceballos start
- Arsenal duo David Luiz and Sokratis unavailable for curtain-raiser at Fulham
- Arsenal boss hints at imminent new contract for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
- Arsenal’s start to the 2020/21 Premier League season analysed
- Arsenal transfer roundup: Gabriel Magalhaes deal, Houssem Aouar interest
- Arsenal’s transfer plans and expectations for the 2020/21 campaign
- Arsenal betting odds for November 2019 games
- What does the future hold for Arsenal after Sheffield United defeat?