Leeds United’s Greatest Goalkeepers - Who gets your vote?
10 May 2020 02:39 pm, by YorkshireSquare
The regular contributors to our message boards are spending lockdown debating the best Leeds United players for each position, starting with goalkeepers. So, who is the greatest? Is it the stalwarts of the Revie years; Gary Sprake and David Harvey. Does John Lukic make the top of the pile for the Championship victory or what about Mervyn Day for promotion back to the first division. Paul Robinson and Nigel Martyn, both England internationals, are in with a shout too. Honourable mentions must go to David Stewart, Kasper Schmeichel and Neil Sullivan too. Here is the top five as voted by our contributors.
5) Paul Robinson (1997-2004)
Country: England | DOB: 15/10/1979 | Apps: 119
Robbo signed for Leeds from the academy in 1997 but didn't get a chance to show off his skills until a run of great games in 2000-2001, including some dazzling Champions League displays after Nigel Martyn picked up an injury. In 2002-2003 he was given his first real chance, when he was made first choice keeper by Terry Venables. He remained first choice, only missing one game in the 2003-2004 season when he was replaced by Scott Carson for the Manchester United game after getting sent off against Middlesbrough, until he signed for Spurs in 2004 before the final game of the season against Chelsea. He made 95 appearances for Leeds, including 2 as sub and has become a regular in the England set up. Famously scored with a header v Swindon.
4) John Lukic (1990-1996)
Country: England | DOB: 11/12/1960 | Apps: 430
He signed for Leeds in 1978 where he succeeded David Harvey despite opposition from future internationals David Seaman and Henry Smith. He made his debut in 1979 and made a club record 146 consecutive appearances. After gaining England Youth and under 23 honours his run was broken when he asked for a transfer and he was signed by Arsenal in 1983 for £125,000.He never gained full international status but won a League Cup Winners and runners up medal together with a League Championship medal before returning to LUFC for £1m in 1990. He had a brilliant season as United took the championship in 1992. He played 430 games before returning to Arsenal in 1996.
3) Gary Sprake (1962-1973)
Country: Wales | DOB: 03/04/1945 | Apps: 506
Remembered more for two errors than for his wonderful 11 years (and over 200 clean sheets) of helping Leeds win cups and top league placings. The gum chewing, 37 times capped for Wales keeper still remains our goalkeeper with the most appearances. His totally unsighted, instinctive save in Hungary denied the greatly superior Ferencvaros, to give Leeds the honour of being the 1st English club to win the Fairs Cup Final. But alas, history will remember Gary differently. He moved to Birmingham in 1973, for £100,000 - after an alleged estrangement from Don Revie.
2) David Harvey (1965-1985)
Country: Scotland | DOB: 07/02/1948 | Apps: 446
Born Leeds in 1948, he joined United in 1965 and such was the brilliance of Gary Sprake that he had to make about 200 Central league appearances before establishing himself as a first team regular and gaining a FA Cup winners medal in 1972. His career took off and he was capped 16 times for Scotland, his father was Scottish, and he was rated the best goalkeeper in the 1974 World Cup. A bad car accident in early 1975 saw him temporarily lose his place to David Stewart, who took his place in the Scottish team and in the European Cup Final. He regain his place, but he joined Vancouver Whitecaps in 1980. He returned to Leeds in 1983 before finally leaving in 1985. His 445 appearances are all the more remarkable when considering his many games for the Reserves.
1) Nigel Martyn (1996-2003)
Country: England | DOB: 11/08/1966 | Apps: 273
Martyn became the country's first £1 million goalkeeper when joining Crystal Palace from Bristol Rovers in 1989, having made over 100 appearances for the West Country club. Leeds paid £2.25 million for him in the summer of 1996, then a record for a goalkeeper. He had a superb first season for the Whites as part of George Graham's Leeds revolution. His form continued to be a model of consistency and he was an ever-present between 1999 and 2002. He helped United to third place in the Premiership, a place in the Champions League and the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup. Replaced by Paul Robinson as first team keeper in 2002, he joined Everton in 2003 for a nominal fee. Played 273 games and was Leeds Player of the Year in 1997.
Who would you have as Leeds United’s greatest ever goalkeeper? Join the debate on our message boards.