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The goalkeepers of Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.

Updated on February 6, 2013

David De Gea on the brink of being off loaded.

With a lot of doubt hanging over David De Gea's inability to deal with high balls into the box has Sir Alex Ferguson lost patience with him and decided to dip into the transfer market for a new keeper?

In my view David De Gea is a fantastic keeper and after watching highlights of the recent draw against Tottenham I still think that, he has some weakness in the air and can sometimes push the ball back into the box instead of holding it or pushing it wide but he has brilliant reactions and like Edwin Van der Sar before him he can pull off fantastic saves from nothing.

There is also talk that he is homesick with his pop star wife staying in Madrid while he lives in Manchester.

So here I look at some of the goal keepers both good and bad in Sir Alex Fergusons time with Manchester united.

Schmeichel making sure it goes out.
Schmeichel making sure it goes out.

Peter Schmeichel

"The Great Dane"

Started his playing career with united in the 1991-1992 season and was an instant success, winning the premier league in only his 2nd season.

His dominating style were he was constantly barking orders at his defenders coupled along with being one of the best all round goalkeepers ever have to make him arguably one of Sir Alex Ferguson's best buys.

In his last season with United (1998-199) they went on to win the famous treble, while losing 1-0 to Bayern Munich in the champions league final, Schmeichel came out of his net and made his way into the opposiotion's box for a corner, some people say that the sight of Schmeichel standing beside them put the Bayern team on edge and thus leading to the 2 goals in the dying minutes from corners.

An undeniable talent who also has the privilege of winning the best goalkeeper in world by UEFA in 1992, 1993, 1997 and 1998.

Left on a high after winning the champions league final in 1999.

Bosnich using his legs to save.
Bosnich using his legs to save.

Mark Bosnich

An Australian keeper bought from Aston Villa in the summer of 1999, seen as an ideal replacement to Peter Schmeichel but inevitably those gloves proved far to big to fill.

Although initially he was signed by United as a youngster in 1988 he only lasted until 1991 before going back to his native Australia, it wasn't until 1999 when he was with Aston Villa that United went for him again.

Although United did win both the Premier league and Intercontinental cup with Bosnich in goals, Ferguson didn't have much faith in him and neither did the defenders. Were it was said Schmeichel would be shouting at the defenders in front of him, Bosnich was too quiet and that unnerved both the defenders and Ferguson.

if all can be said he did have one good season with Untied in 1999-2000 but that was to be the highlight, it all went downhill after that.

Fabien Barthez

It was initially his heroics in the 1998 FIFA world cup that put Barthez on the radar of top clubs but it was until after he again won another medal for France in the 2000 European championships that United decided to go for him.

A very strong character that would famously wobble his legs when faced with a penalty, he would try anything to put off the opposing player, going as far as kicking his studs off the goalposts for several minutes to hold up proceedings before finally being ordered into the goal mouth by the referee.

Undoubtedly a real talent and after Bosnich and Van Der Gouw it looked like Ferguson had finally got a successor to Schmeichel, a tale that wasn't too last.

In my view his time at United was a success if not a bit short, more assured than Bosnich and a far better keeper than Van Der Guow, Barthez came to the team will real pedigree that almost guaranteed success. Also an assured outfield player, who always tortured sir Alex to get a run out of nets who's wish was granted on a few friendly games.

As we all know Fergie doesn't like the "eccentric" ones and it was in 2004 that Barthez moved on.

Tim Howard

Howard arrived an unknown when United signed him in 2003 from MLS team Metrostars.

A very good goalkeeper and one who commanded his box. Tim had a fantastic season again even drawing comparisons to Peter Schmeichel but a loss of form and the arrival of Edwin Van Der Sar see him leave United for greener grass in 2007.

There was no doubting his ability but Sir Alex's ruthlessness of cutting the keeper after a few bad spells meant he was never going to get the same chances he had on his first full season.

Howard went to Everton and 5 years down is still their no.1 first choice, he has proved if not to Fergie to himself that he is a fantastic keeper and when he goes will be remembered as one of the best to grace the premiership.

Edwin pulling off a fantastic save.
Edwin pulling off a fantastic save.

Edwin Van Der Sar

After a lot of chasing by Fergie when he eventually signed Edwin in the summer of 2005 for a reported fee of £2 million from Fulham. It was said that Fergie had been trying to sign him for the past two seasons without any luck.

Quoted by Ferguson as being the best goalkeeper to play for the club since Peter Schmeichel.

An oustanding goalkeeper who many have considered to be the best in the world which is a great accolade if you think of other keepers who have played in the same era - Buffon, Valdes, Cech, Casillas to mention but a few.

When he eventually retired from football in 2011 he had accomplished ton's with United, 4 premier league medals, 2 league cups, FIFA club world cu, European Champions in 2008 and 3 community shield medals.

Truely one of the best goalkeepers of the modern age.

Cat like reaction save from Foster.
Cat like reaction save from Foster.

Ben Foster

Ben Foster was seen as the next best English goalkeeper when United snapped him up from Stoke for £1million, even described by Fergie as being England's next No.1.

Alass it was not to be, at least not at United. No doubt a good goalkepper but was prone to injuries in his time at United and never really got a proper run at the no.1 spot.

Although he has been in and out of the England side and has always played good when he is playing, there was no doubt that Ferguson wants a ready made replacement when it comes to his no.1 and Foster wasn't quitte ready. After a disappointing run of form and injury he was loaned out and then eventually moved to Birmingham in 2010.

The back ups that hoped to be no.1

This is a list of back-up keepers that Fergie had, although I am sure some of them hoped they could be no.1 there was never any doubt in Fergies head they would always be no.12 on the team sheet.

All good keepers in their own right but never no.1 material.

Raimond Van Der Guow.

Roy Carroll.

Thomas Kuszczak.

And of course a special mention has to be given to MassimoTaibi who had probably one of the shortest spells in United history after playing four games.


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    • Anthony Binks profile imageAUTHOR

      Anthony Binks 

      5 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Cech, Hart and Cesar especially of late have to be the best.

      Word is Cesar is going to Madrid.

      There are also the would be's, good keepers who should have been at big clubs. The likes of Schwarzer, Jaskelainen and Sorsenson are all top quality.

      It looks like SAF is backing De Gea from what has been said at the weekend.

    • tazzmania89 profile image


      5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      I would add reina but he's been poor this season.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Valdes is a poor choice, especially with manu's backline, oddly enough i think manu missed the boat on Julio cesar from inter. I cant comprehend why SAF wouldnt want such a pure professional who has been at a top club for years with his international experience.. I comprehend de gea is young but the three best goalkeepers in the epl are cech, hart, and then julio cesar

    • tazzmania89 profile image


      5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      I think we should stick with De Gea, no one has the reflexes that he does. Fergie said he bought De Gea because he missed out on Joe Hart before he signed with Man City and thats why he took the risk on a young goalkeeper and honestly De Gea can be much better Joe Hart.

      But, supposedly Man U is looking at Valdes ever since he said he wasn't going to resign with Barca.

    • profile image


      5 years ago


    • Anthony Binks profile imageAUTHOR

      Anthony Binks 

      5 years ago from Northern Ireland

      richard-murray I think your right, Fergie needs to give him a bit of time, he isn't the biggest keeper so maybe bulking up a bit will help him in the air.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      good review, De Gea may be offloaded, but ManU dont have any consistent keeper and oddly, may lose more points if they bench De Gea who shows signs of very good class


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