Derek Quinn column - The value of a good goalkeeper

editorial image
Share this article

The performance of Barry Roche on Saturday proved one thing to me – you must spend as much time and money as possible to get the best goalkeeper you can if you are to be successful.

I was brought up in the era of Peter Shilton and Ray Clemence who were widely regarded as the best in the world and who just happened to play for the country’s two biggest and most successful clubs in European competitions.

I always remember Brian Clough saying Shilton earned his side as many points as his goalscorers and for me, that is a quote that should be on the first page of “Football Management for Dummies’’ if one ever comes out.

If you need any evidence to back this up, just look at Arsenal.

Arsene Wenger has spent years and years producing some of the best footballing sides in the country – but since David Seaman left has won nothing.

For me the answer is clear, he has brought in a procession of goalkeepers who have made big mistakes – and made them far too often.

Even Sir Alex Ferguson is not known to be the best judge of a goalkeeper at Manchester United, but he is honest and ruthless enough to admit when he has made a mistake and got rid of them without ceremony.

If he had stuck with Massimo Taibi, would United have won the league? Not a chance.

If Arsenal had bought someone like Shay Given or Brad Friedel I am convinced their trophy cabinet would at least be a little fuller than it is at the moment.

Roche has actually come in for a bit of stick this year and I think he would be the first to admit his performance against Fleetwood at the Globe Arena this season fell well short of his normal standards, but can I think of any other bad games? Not really.

Just look at what he is worth.

He produced a world class save in the Capital One Cup win at Blackpool and earned the Shrimps a replay, and a possible bigger pay day, with another string of saves against Rochdale on Saturday.

He is worth his weight in gold and Saturday was a reminder of that fact.