David Andrew Seaman MBE (born 19 September 1963 in Rotherham, South Yorkshire) was a magnificent goalkeeper, a thoroughly decent bloke and an abject TV presenter.
Incomprehensible Yorkshireman Seaman developed at Leeds United before arriving at Arsenal in 1990 via Peterborough United, Birmingham City and the plastic pitch of QPR.
The gentle giant would become a talismanic shot-stopper for Arsenal and England during the next two decades despite having his fair share of troubles.
Unlike Chris Woods, Nigel Martyn and Tim Flowers, Seaman succeeded in stepping out of the huge shadow of Peter Shilton’s 100-year career. After establishing himself as England’s No 1, Seaman became a national hero with his heroic performances during Euro 96.
Seaman was known as a penalty king and would almost always save any spot-kick. This came in handy in Euro 96 as the unflappable northerner denied Scotland’s Gary McAllister in the group stages and Spain’s Miguel Angel Nadal in a quarter-final penalty shoot-out to hand England a place in the semi-finals they ill-deserved after three decent Spanish goals were mysteriously chalked off. However, even Seaman could do nothing against Germany’s ice-cool, half-human penalty-slotters in the semi-final.
Seaman won all sorts with the Gunners, during a brief period when someone other than Manchester United was able to lift a meaningful trophy.
Paul Peschisolido save
In his final season at Arsenal, Seaman made one of the greatest saves ever seen.
In the semi-final of the 2002-03 FA Cup against Sheffield United – Seaman’s 1000th professional game – Canadian chairwoman shagger Peschisolido seemed to have scored when he headed goal-wards from 11 centimeters out, but somehow Seaman stretched at an ungodly angle and clawed the ball out from behind him.
The save was so unlikely that Peschisolido still believed he had scored until the team coach arrived back at Bramall Lane and his teammates gently explained what had happened.
During the 1995 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup Final, Seaman was lobbed by Real Zaragoza’s ex-Tottenham man Nayim, who sighted him off his line and let fly from the halfway line. It was an unrealistic thing to happen and it caused commentator Brian Moore to croak 'Nayim! It's gone in! Amazing! All David Seaman can do is lie in the back of his net.'
Seaman got injured before the third game of Euro 2000 and had to sit the rest of the competition out. Nigel Martyn stepped in and made a nasty mess of it.
At the silly 2002 FIFA World Cup, Seaman was beaten by a long-range cross/shot from toothy Brazilian superstar-turned-portly booze hound Ronaldinho – the goal that knocked England out of the competition.
There was a backlash at home and Seaman admitted ‘a goalkeeper should never be beaten from that distance’ before murmuring incomprehensible about Nayim.
Seaman was known for having a centre parting as rigid as the Berlin Wall. However, in a change more radical than that experienced by Germany in 1989, Seaman grew a greasy ponytail.
The yips started to get the better of Seaman towards the end of his career and the final straw was letting in a goal from West Bromwich Albion budget import Artim Sakiri directly from a corner against Macedonia.
Tired of being unable to rely on a ‘keeper to do simple things reliably, England turned to David James and tired of the pressure of playing for a club with such great expectations, Seaman signed for Kevin Keegan’s Manchester City.
After hanging up his gloves, Seaman unadvisedly began a career in the media, appearing on permanently hoarse Stoke lover Nick Hancock’s show They Think It’s All Over.
Loveable as he is, like John Barnes, Seaman didn’t take naturally to TV work and his foray into presenting was an unmitigated disaster.
A man who had no fear in facing a Stuart Pearce free-kick was horribly wrong-footed when it came to presenting his ‘Jeepers Keepers’ gaffes DVDs.
While providing links for the tacked-together Christmas present from an uncle fodder, Seaman looked like his family had been taken hostage behind the camera. Even after 500 takes he presents several of his links while looking completely the wrong way and even stands with his back to the camera for some.
These days Seaman always seems to be dancing – either on ice or otherwise.
Against all odds, Seaman is left-handed.