David Seaman

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David Seaman
David Seaman.jpg
Seaman in 2012
Personal information
Full name David Andrew Seaman
Date of birth (1963-09-19) 19 September 1963 (age 56)
Place of birth Rotherham, England
Height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Club information
Current team
Wembley (goalkeeping coach)
Youth career
1981–1982 Leeds United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1981–1982 Leeds United 0 (0)
1982–1984 Peterborough United 91 (0)
1984–1986 Birmingham City 75 (0)
1986–1990 Queens Park Rangers 141 (0)
1990–2003 Arsenal 405 (0)
2003–2004 Manchester City 19 (0)
Total 731 (0)
National team
1984–1986 England U21 10 (0)
1987–1992 England B 6 (0)
1988–2002 England 75 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

David Andrew Seaman, MBE (born 19 September 1963) is an English former footballer who played as a goalkeeper. In a career lasting from 1981 to 2004, he is best known for his time playing for Arsenal. He won 75 caps for the England national football team, and is the country's second-most capped goalkeeper, after Peter Shilton.[1] In 1997 was awarded the MBE for services to football.

The peak of Seaman's career was during his period as Arsenal and England goalkeeper in the 1990s and early 2000s. During his time at Arsenal he won three league championships (1991, 1998, 2002), four FA Cups (1993, 1998, 2002, 2003), the League Cup in 1993 and the European Cup Winners Cup in 1994. During this time he also played for England in the 1998 and 2002 FIFA World Cups, and Euro 96 and Euro 2000. As well as Arsenal, he also played in the Premier League for Manchester City, as well as making appearances in the Football League for Peterborough United, Birmingham City and Queens Park Rangers.

His save from Paul Peschisolido of Sheffield United in the 2002–03 FA Cup was described as one of the best ever. Notable lows came with two costly errors, both from long-range efforts—conceding a last-minute goal in the 1995 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Final to Nayim and conceding to a Ronaldinho free-kick in the 2002 FIFA World Cup quarter-final.[2][3][4][5][6] Seaman is left-handed,[7] but threw the ball with his right arm[8] and kicked with his right foot. He retired in 2004 due to a recurring shoulder injury. In June 2012, he was appointed goalkeeping coach of Combined Counties League club Wembley.

Club career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Seaman was born in Rotherham, West Riding of Yorkshire. He attended Kimberworth Comprehensive School.[9] He began his career at Leeds United, the club he supported as a boy. However (much to his disappointment), he was not wanted by then-manager Eddie Gray, who had been his favourite player. Seaman went to Division 4 club Peterborough United for a £4,000 fee in August 1982, where he began to make a name for himself.

Just over two years later, in October 1984, Second Division Birmingham City paid £100,000 for Seaman's services. They ended up winning promotion at the end of that season, but were relegated again at the end of the following season. Seaman was not to follow them back to Division Two, however.

In August 1986, Seaman moved to Queens Park Rangers for £225,000. Playing in a higher profile club on a plastic pitch, he earned his first England cap, which came under Bobby Robson in a friendly against Saudi Arabia in November 1988. Whilst at QPR, Seaman was coached by Arsenal double-winner (of 1971) Bob Wilson, who was to work with him for more than a decade.


In 1990, long before the current transfer window system had come to English football, there was still a transfer deadline a few weeks before the end of the season. Arsenal, who had won the league in 1989, wanted to sign Seaman, but the deal involved Arsenal's keeper John Lukic heading the opposite way on loan. Lukic did not want to do this, and the deal broke down and remained unresolved when the deadline passed. As soon as the season ended and clubs were allowed to buy players again, Arsenal manager George Graham came back for Seaman, with £1.3 million (at the time a British record for a goalkeeper)[10] being the agreed fee. Lukic, who was highly popular amongst Arsenal fans, left to rejoin Leeds.

Seaman's time at Arsenal coincided with one of the most successful periods in the club's history. The 1990–91 season saw Seaman concede only 18 goals when playing in every match of the 38-game season as Arsenal regained the league title.

Arsenal won both the FA Cup and the League Cup in 1993 and supplemented this a year later with the European Cup Winners' Cup. Arsenal began their victorious League Cup campaign against Millwall and after two legs the game went to a penalty shootout. Seaman saved three of the four Millwall penalties from Malcolm Allen, Jon Goodman and Colin Cooper to help his side progress.[11]

In 1995, George Graham was sacked, and Arsenal came close to becoming the first club to retain the Cup Winners' Cup, with Seaman earning a reputation as a penalty-saving specialist after saving from Siniša Mihajlović, Vladimir Jugović and Attilio Lombardo in Arsenal's semi-final shoot-out against U.C. Sampdoria, all the while playing with two cracked ribs.[12] However, Arsenal lost in the final to Real Zaragoza, when Nayim scored a goal in the final minute of extra time with a 40-yard lob over Seaman.

In August 1996, Arsène Wenger became the new manager of Arsenal. Wenger rated Seaman highly and in 1998, Seaman helped the team to the Premier League and FA Cup double. In 1998–99, Seaman played all 38 league matches, conceding only 17 league goals as Arsenal came within one point of retaining the Premier League and lost in the FA Cup semi-finals to Manchester United. The following season Seaman managed to reach the 2000 UEFA Cup Final, which Arsenal drew 0–0 with Galatasaray, but lost on penalties.

In 2002, Seaman won the Premier League and the FA Cup again to complete his second career double, although Arsenal's other goalkeepers Stuart Taylor (10 appearances) and Richard Wright (12 appearances) also won championship medals, due mainly to Seaman's absence through injuries. A highlight of this season was when Seaman dramatically saved a Gareth Barry penalty as Arsenal won 2–1 at Aston Villa.[13]

Despite his international career ending so flatly and accusations his mobility had faded with age, the 2002–03 season—Seaman's last at Arsenal—ended on a high note. He began the season with saving a Freddie Kanoute penalty in a draw at Upton Park.[14] In the FA Cup, he made a save against Sheffield United's Paul Peschisolido in the semi-finals, which former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, a pundit for the BBC on the day, dubbed "the best save I've ever seen".[15] Arsenal were defending a 1–0 lead, when with less than ten minutes to go, Peschisolido had a header towards an apparently open goal from six 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 ready to pounce on a rebound. The match was Seaman's 1,000th professional career game. Seaman went on to captain the team during the 2003 FA Cup Final in the absence of injured Patrick Vieira and keep another clean sheet at the Millennium Stadium as they defeated Southampton 1–0. His final act with Arsenal was to lift the FA Cup, which was his eighth major trophy with his team. Seaman played in goal for Arsenal more times than anyone else, and is second after Ray Parlour in the all-time Premier League appearances chart for Arsenal, with 325 to his name. In June 2008 he was voted seventh in the list of 50 Gunners' Greatest Players.[16]

Manchester City[edit]

Released by Arsenal, Seaman joined up with Kevin Keegan at Manchester City in the summer of 2003, but Seaman's career at the City of Manchester Stadium did not last long. Whilst out of action due to injury, Seaman announced his immediate retirement in January 2004 at the age of 40. His last act at City was to help Keegan select his successor in goal, David James — the man who had ousted him as England's first choice goalkeeper a little over a year earlier.

In November 2005, Paul Merson and Walsall approached Seaman, and later ex-Wales goalkeeper Neville Southall and Chris Woods, to play in an FA Cup game at Merthyr Tydfil as their two first-choice keepers, Joe Murphy and Andy Oakes, were unavailable. However, Seaman was forced to turn this offer down, as it would have constituted a breach in the terms of his retirement insurance pay-out for his recurring shoulder injury.[17]

International career[edit]

Seaman made his England debut in 1988 and appeared for the side in fifteen consecutive years, a national record, since equalled by Rio Ferdinand.

He earned his first England cap under Bobby Robson in a friendly against Saudi Arabia in November 1988. Robson selected him as England's third-choice goalkeeper behind Peter Shilton and Chris Woods at the 1990 FIFA World Cup, but after arriving in Italy he had to pull out of the squad due to injury and was replaced by Dave Beasant.

Seaman remained a member of the England squad under new manager Graham Taylor, although he was not selected for Euro 92. During qualification for the 1994 World Cup, Seaman played in the crucial game against the Netherlands, which England lost 2–0;[18] he also played in the final match against San Marino, in which Davide Gualtieri scored after 8.3 seconds before England recovered to win 7–1. England ultimately failed to qualify for the tournament.

Seaman cemented his place as the undisputed number-one keeper with the arrival of Terry Venables as manager, and played every minute of every match during Euro 96. Seaman saved two spot-kicks in the tournament; the first a penalty in normal play from Scotland's Gary McAllister in a group match, while England were 1–0 up (Paul Gascoigne scored soon after to make it 2–0). Then, after England's quarter-final against Spain ended scoreless, Seaman saved Miguel Angel Nadal's kick in the shootout to knock Spain out of the tournament. England eventually were eliminated in the semi-final by Germany on penalties,after Andreas Köpke saved the penalty taken by Gareth Southgate.[19] Seaman was named alongside Golden Boot winner Alan Shearer and winger Steve McManaman in the UEFA "Team of the Tournament". Euro 96 sponsor Philips named him "Player of the Tournament".

Seaman remained first choice under the management of Glenn Hoddle for the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France. England went out on penalties, losing against Argentina. Kevin Keegan selected him for UEFA Euro 2000, where he started against both Portugal and Germany but sustained an injury in his warm-up exercises for the third game against Romania and was replaced by Nigel Martyn. England lost the match and went out in the first round.

Seaman was part of Sven-Göran Eriksson's 2002 FIFA World Cup squad, and played every game as England reached the quarter-finals, turning back a second-half offensive to shut out arch-rivals Argentina 1–0 in the group stage after English captain David Beckham scored a penalty. However, in the quarter-final against Brazil, Seaman was caught off his line by Ronaldinho's long-range free kick, as England lost 2–1; he blamed himself for the error.[20]

The result led to a debate about whether Seaman should remain England's number one.[21] He remained England's first-choice goalkeeper until a Euro 2004 qualifier in October 2002 against Macedonia. In this match, he let in a goal directly from a corner kick by Artim Sakiri in a 2–2 draw and brought further press criticism.[22] This was Seaman's last appearance for the England national team, as Eriksson dropped him in favour of David James.

Later career[edit]

Seaman began working on his coaching badge with a view to coaching goalkeepers but decided to pause after learning that he would first need a badge in outfield coaching in which he had no interest.[23] His on-screen presence made him a popular choice for chat shows and televised appearances during his sporting career, and he can occasionally be spotted on British television. Whilst still a player, he acted in a cameo role in a BBC film based around the events of England's successful Euro 96 tournament, starring Rachel Weisz and Neil Morrissey, entitled My Summer with Des. He also became the spokesman for Yorkshire Tea during the early 1990s. He briefly replaced Gary Lineker as team captain on the television quiz They Think It's All Over before producers decided to drop him in favour of former Arsenal teammate Ian Wright.

In December 2004, following his retirement from professional football, he became one of the celebrities to take part in Strictly Ice Dancing, an ice dance version of Strictly Come Dancing, in which celebrities are paired with professional dancers. He joined the show at late notice, replacing Paul Gascoigne. With just eight days to prepare for the show, broadcast on BBC One on 26 December, Seaman and his professional partner Zoia Birmingham managed to win the competition. The other competitors spent a month in training for the show.

In late 2005 he had his trademark ponytail cut off on live television for charity, which ended negotiatory talks with such companies as L'Oreal who wanted to sponsor his hair as they had with David Ginola. He returned to the ice for another ice-dancing series, Dancing on Ice, broadcast on ITV. The series started on 14 January 2006, and Seaman ended in fourth place. He has also appeared on All Star Family Fortunes.

Seaman also hosts a "Safe Hands" charity golf event annually, and has released two football-themed DVDs entitled David Seaman's Goalkeeping Nightmares in 2003 and Jeepers Keepers in 2004. Seaman has also played in all six Soccer Aid matches for England.[24][25][26]

In 2008 The Lobbing of David Seaman, a poem in ballad form by Murray Lachlan Young about Nayim's 1995 goal, was included in the radio programme The Loneliness of the Goalkeeper.[27] It began with these lines:

Ah, come all ye teenage goalkeepers
And listen unto me,
I'll tell you of a goalie
Who went out to gay Paree;
The Gunners called him 'Safe Hands',
David Seaman was his name,
But that lonely night in Paris
Was his world consumed in flames....

In June 2012, Seaman joined Combined Counties League club Wembley as goalkeeping coach for their 2012–13 FA Cup campaign, as part of a television documentary following the club's attempt to play at Wembley Stadium. Former international players Graeme Le Saux, Ray Parlour, Martin Keown, Claudio Caniggia and Brian McBride joined the playing squad, with former England manager Terry Venables as technical advisor.[28]

Personal life[edit]

On 7 February 2015, Seaman married Dancing On Ice's Frankie Poultney. Seaman announced their engagement in December 2013. It was his third marriage.

Career statistics[edit]


Club Season Division League FA Cup League Cup Europe Other[29] Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
1982–83 Peterborough United Fourth Division 38 0 2 0 4 0 0 0 44 0
1983–84 45 0 2 0 4 0 0 0 51 0
1984–85 8 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 11 0
1984–85 Birmingham City Second Division 33 0 2 0 2 0 0 0 37 0
1985–86 First Division 42 0 3 0 2 0 0 0 47 0
1986–87 Queens Park Rangers First Division 41 0 6 0 4 0 1 0 52 0
1987–88 32 0 4 0 3 0 1 0 40 0
1988–89 35 0 4 0 3 0 1 0 43 0
1989–90 33 0 3 0 3 0 1 0 40 0
1990–91 Arsenal First Division 38 0 8 0 4 0 50 0
1991–92 42 0 1 0 3 0 4 0 1 0 51 0
1992–93 Premier League 39 0 8 0 9 0 56 0
1993–94 39 0 3 0 5 0 9 0 1 0 57 0
1994–95 31 0 2 0 6 0 9 0 2 0 50 0
1995–96 38 0 2 0 7 0 0 0 47 0
1996–97 22 0 2 0 2 0 0 0 26 0
1997–98 31 0 4 0 1 0 2 0 38 0
1998–99 32 0 5 0 0 0 6 0 1 0 44 0
1999–2000 24 0 2 0 1 0 9 0 0 0 36 0
2000–01 24 0 5 0 0 0 10 0 39 0
2001–02 17 0 1 0 0 0 7 0 25 0
2002–03 28 0 5 0 0 0 9 0 1 0 43 0
2003–04 Manchester City Premier League 19 0 1 0 1 0 5 0 26 0
Total England 731 0 82 0 60 0 0 0 957 0
Career total 731 0 82 0 60 0 0 0 957 0



England national team
Year Apps Goals
1988 1 0
1989 1 0
1990 1 0
1991 4 0
1992 2 0
1993 3 0
1994 4 0
1995 5 0
1996 11 0
1997 6 0
1998 9 0
1999 8 0
2000 7 0
2001 5 0
2002 8 0
Total 75 0





  1. ^ "England's Goalkeepers in Most Appearance Order". England Football Online.
  2. ^ Wallace, Sam (13 January 2004). "Seaman calls time on career". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 20 May 2009.
  3. ^ "BBC SPORT | Football | Photo Galleries | David Seaman's career in photos". BBC News. 13 January 2004. Retrieved 20 May 2009.
  4. ^ Burt, Jason (14 January 2004). "Seaman's career meets unsatisfying conclusion – Premier League, Football". London: The Independent. Retrieved 20 May 2009.
  5. ^ "Gunners' Greatest Players – 7. David Seaman". Arsenal.com. Archived from the original on 10 December 2008. Retrieved 20 May 2009.
  6. ^ "Seaman's career of heartache and heroics ends". www.smh.com.au. 15 January 2004. Retrieved 20 May 2009.
  7. ^ "Wembley 2000". Fanclub-family.com. 7 October 2000. Retrieved 20 May 2009.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 December 2008. Retrieved 15 December 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ Rich, Tim (13 May 2003). "Seaman's standing unfairly undermined by rare mistakes". The Independent. London. Retrieved 29 September 2010.
  11. ^ Haylett, Trevor (8 October 1992). "Football / Coca-Cola Cup: Seaman shines in shoot-out to deny Millwall: Winterburn hurt by coin thrower". The Independent. Retrieved 20 September 2016.
  12. ^ Moore, Glenn (21 April 1995). "Seaman secures Arsenal triumph". The Independent. Retrieved 20 September 2016.
  13. ^ "Arsenal see off Villa". BBC. 17 March 2002. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
  14. ^ "Hammers hold Arsenal". BBC. 24 August 2002. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  15. ^ "Schmeichel leads Seaman praise". BBC Sport. 13 April 2004. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
  16. ^ "Gunners' Greatest Players – 7. David Seaman". Arsenal.com. Archived from the original on 10 December 2008. Retrieved 21 April 2009.
  17. ^ Ley, John (3 November 2005). "Seaman bid falls flat". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  18. ^ Lovejoy, Joe (14 October 1993). "Football: Koeman leaves England in tatters: Referee condemned as Ronald Koeman escapes red card to break brave resistance with deft free-kick". The Independent. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  19. ^ "England's painful Euro 96 semi-final penalty shoot-out defeat to Germany 20 years ago today". The Sun. 26 June 2016. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  20. ^ McNulty, Phil (21 June 2002). "Seaman says sorry". BBC Sport. Retrieved 11 February 2007.
  21. ^ "Time for Seaman to go?". BBC Sport. 24 August 2002. Retrieved 11 February 2007.
  22. ^ Williams, Richard (17 October 2002). "Sorry Seaman must step down". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 11 February 2007.
  23. ^ Liew, Jonathan (26 February 2011). "Arsenal v Birmingham: David Seaman sits quietly on the fence in Carling Cup Final". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 February 2011.
  24. ^ "'Soccer Aid' (TV mini-series 2006)". =IMDb.com. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  25. ^ Andrew McNair (8 September 2008). "Soccer Aid 2008: A Real Problem For Football". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  26. ^ [2][dead link]
  27. ^ BBC Radio 4, broadcast 25 October 2008
  28. ^ "Terry Venables' Wembley FC recruit former stars for FA Cup". BBC Sport. 21 June 2012. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
  29. ^ Includes other competitive competitions, including the FA Community Shield, Full Members Cup, Football League Trophy
  30. ^ "David Seaman". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmerman.
  31. ^ "David Andrew Seaman - International Appearances". Rsssf.com. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  32. ^ a b "David Seaman: Overview". Premier League. Retrieved 18 April 2018.

External links[edit]