The Goalkeeper

Goalkeepers are just different. Considered weird by many outfield players and widely regarded as crazy crazy bastards. Several questions tend to pop into my head when interacting with keepers. How do you become a goalie? Did you always want to be one? Were you last pick at school? Do you enjoy getting balls laced at you from a distance of 2 yards? It’s safe to say I don’t really understand the mind of keepers.

They tend to be unusual characters with a wide spectrum of personality, each goalkeeper more unique than the last. It’s easy with other positions, for example:

 
Defenders: Generally the most mature, consistent and intelligent folk. Often perceived as boring; they are driven, respectful and have their life together.

 
Strikers: Generally possess more maverick type tendencies. Charismatic, erratic and have ego driven personalities. They have low attention spans and are always up to something.

 
Midfielders: Just like their position, their personality falls somewhere in between that of a defender and a striker.

 
Keepers, on the other hand, are more unpredictable; well certainly from my experience. Currently we have Jordan Hart; intelligent, well read and has a unique perspective on a host of issues. Then you have Brett Long who appears to think he’s Pablo Escobar. I’ve played with Rab Douglas, a principled man who demanded high standards – I was petrified of him. Darren Jamieson was more easy going and enjoys filming TikToks. David Hutton, who is a mix of “The Monk” from mean machine and Franco Begbie from Trainspotting, was slightly more erratic. It really isn’t as easy to pigeon hole a keeper.

 

Begbie-Trainspotting
Hutton’s pre match routine

 

Most keepers embrace the cynicism from their outfield colleagues and lean into their uniqueness, forming a clique they like to call “The Goalkeepers Union” (a club in which only keepers can join). In this club keepers will pretty much have each other’s back regardless of the circumstances. Their position is specialised, you need the number 1 to have an off day or a stinker to get the jersey; yet the sub goalkeeper will never criticise the player playing in front of him. Even if said player appears to have replaced his hands with poppadoms. There is something quite mature and gentlemanly about this and should really have me scrutinising my own behaviour. Despite this, after a game where I’ve been on the bench, I phone still my dad to have a wee bitch about the players playing ahead of me.

 
On match day, they go out about 15 minutes earlier than anyone else and return to the dressing room 15 minutes before everyone else does; I have never found out why. Several keepers will spit on their gloves pre game, surely that just makes them slippier; again, I’ve never found out why. They train differently as well. While we are doing a set of lung bursting and thigh burning runs, I will catch a glimpse of the goalkeepers playing a game of head tennis or kicking half volleys at each other. I may be envious of them when this is going on; however, they will then be brought in to train with us for shooting. Revenge is best served by belting a mitre at Brett Long from only a few yards out.

 

mitre
Trust me – you don’t want this weapon belted at you from 2 yards

 

Despite all I’ve said, In all honesty I enjoy a goalkeeper. I have found them the most interesting characters in a lot of the dressing rooms I’ve been in. They arguably have to possess a stronger mentality than any other player and have to develop stubbornness to the opinions around them. The buck ultimately stops with the keeper; they make a mistake it’s a goal. If I make a mistake, the ball goes out for an opposition goal kick or a throw in. It must be a lonely place and you have to be headstrong to thrive. Next time you’re about to slaughter a keeper for fumbling a catch – seek out some footage of when an outfield player is forced to go in goals. Watching an outfield player go in goals is pure entertainment, however the ineptitude shown really drives home how easy a professional goalkeeper makes it look…

 
They are still weirdos though.

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