David Seaman with the Charity Shield, Premier League Trophy & FA Cup 2002
David Seaman was born in Rotherham in 1963 and has been a lifelong Leeds United Fan. Excelling at sports as a schoolboy he was scouted for several other clubs, including Rotherham, Barnsley, Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday as well as being offered a place at Yorkshire Cricket Club as a fast bowler. However he accepted an offer to join his boyhood dream club of Leeds United in 1979 as an apprentice, eventually playing for the first team in a couple of friendlies by the age of 19, before being devastated by the news that he wasn’t good enough to continue and was being released, by then club manager and Leeds legend Eddie Gray.
After his release from LUFC Seaman joined (then) 4th division Peterborough United for £4000 and played as their number one goalkeeper for the next two seasons, in over 100 matches, before being sold to Birmingham City for £100,000.00.
Seaman joined division 2 (Championship equivalent) Birmingham City in 1984 as the number one goalkeeper and gained promotion to division 1 (the equivalent of the Premier League at the time) in his first season, showing he was capable of top flight football.
QUEENS PARK RANGERS
QPR paid £225,000.00 for Seaman in 1986 where he played as their number one goalkeeper on their plastic pitch. It was here that David formed a lifelong friendship with his coach Bob Wilson and where he won his first England cap. In the 1987-88 season the team conceded only 27 goals, they missed out on European competition due to a ban on English clubs and Seaman left after 4 seasons and 175 matches as the number one!
During the 1989-90 transfer window Arsenal’s manager George Graham tried to buy the goalkeeper but the deal involved Arsenal keeper John Lukic joining either QPR or Birmingham City and when Lukic refused to go the deal fell though. However once the season ended Seaman joined for a then record signing of £1.3million!
At Arsenal Seaman reunited with his coach Bob Wilson and it was here that he experienced the most successful part of his career during which time he won all 9 of his trophies.
Arsenal regained the English League title in Seaman’s first season and he played every match the 38 game season, conceding only 18 goals, it was his first major trophy.
In 1993 Arsenal won both the FA Cup and the League Cup with Seaman playing in both matches. A year later Seaman was in goal when Arsenal won their first European Trophy, the UEFA Cup Winners Cup with a 1-0 victory over Italian holders, Parma.
In 1995 Arsenal again reached the Cup Winners Cup final after Seaman had distinguished himself against Sampdoria saving three penalties in the Italian Clubs Stadio Luigi Ferraris home ground. In the final against Spanish team Real Zaragoza at the Parc De Prince in Paris, the goalkeeper was beaten by a long range, speculative shot by former Spurs player Nayim.
Arsene Wenger took over as manager of Arsenal in August 1996 and kept Seaman as his first choice goalkeeper. In their second season together, 1997-98, Arsenal won a Premier League and FA Cup double. In the next season Arsenal conceded only 17 goals as they finished second, one point behind Manchester United. This season was a personal best for the goalkeeper beating his previous record of 18 goals conceded.
Seaman and Arsenal reached another European final at the end of the 1999-2000 season, but Seaman was unable to repeat his previous penalty heroics as Turkish side Galatasaray won on penalties after a nil-nil draw.
Arsenal continued to be Manchester United’s chief rivals in the Premier League and in 2002 they won another Premier League and FA Cup double.
The following season Seaman helped Arsenal defend the FA Cup and in the semifinal against Sheffield United he produced what former Denmark and Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel called “the best save I’ve ever seen”. Arsenal led 1-0, when with less then 10 minutes to go, Sheffield United striker Paul Peschisolido headed towards an open goal from 6 yards out with Seaman seemingly stranded at the near post. However the goalkeeper leapt sideways and backwards, managing to stretch his right arm behind him and scoop the ball back and away from both his goal and the opposing players. The match was Seaman’s 1000th professional career game.
END OF AN ERA
Seaman took over from injured Patrick Viera as captain for the FA Cup final which took place at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Fittingly Seaman ended his career with another clean sheet as the Gunners beat Southampton 1-0, it was his ninth major trophy with the north London club:-
4 FA Cups
3 League titles
1 League Cup
1 European Cup Winners Cup
and 3 Charity Shields
In June 2008 Seaman placed 7th in the list of top 50 Arsenal Greatest Players.
Following his release, by Arsenal, in the summer of 2003, Seaman signed for Manchester City, who were then managed by his former England manager Kevin Keegan.
His time at the City of Manchester (now Etihad) Stadium ended in January 2004 when, at the age of 40, he announced his retirement with a shoulder injury. His last act after 26 matches at City was to help Keegan select David James as his successor in goal.