Manchester United's Top 10 Goalkeepers of All-Time
Given the goalkeeping troubles that Manchester United have had after the retirement of Peter Schmeichel and the arrival of Edwin van der Sar, it's no wonder that United have always sought quality goalkeepers.
The panic caused by van der Sar's retirement caused Sir Alex Ferguson to shell out quite a pretty penny for the Atletico Madrid's shot-stopper, David de Gea.
However, United have had their fair share of great goal-keeping talent throughout the years.
Here are the top 10 Goalkeepers for Manchester United.
10. Fabian Barthez
Let us start off with perhaps the most controversial selection: Fabian Barthez.
After having caught the eyes of all of Europe's top clubs after a phenomenal World Cup in 1998 and an equally impressive Euro, Fabian Barthez was signed by Sir Alex Ferguson for £7.8 million in 2000.
Despite his ridiculous antics that cost United many a game, his eccentric behavior coupled with his dribbles, step-overs and taunts to the opposition players made him quite a United favorite during the first season.
His first season was actually quite brilliant and it was him that made the critical saves that kept United in the title race, which United eventually did win.
And it is for this reason, he is included in the list; that and the famous Barthez–Blanc head-kissing ritual.
9. Anders Lindegaard
Manchester United currently have a goalkeeping dilemma.
At one end you have—until recently unheard goalkeeping talent—Anders Lindegaard, who was signed by Manchester United for a paltry sum of around £3.5 million pounds, and at the other end of the spectrum you have an £18 million-pound signing in David De Gea.
The latter was signed from Atletico Madrid to replace the great Edwin van der Sar, but due to constant goalkeeping mistakes hasn't been able to emulate the form that made him so highly sought after during his stint with Atletico Madrid.
And this is when Lindegaard stepped up his game.
Although he has not been quite proven, we can be rest assured that he will establish himself as a premier goalkeeper.
He also certainly looks more comfortable in controlling the back line and dealing with crosses than his Spanish counterpart.
8. Reg Allen
Wildly considered one of the best goalkeepers in the world, Reg Allen transferred to Manchester United on 6 June 1950 for £11,000, a then world-record fee, from Queens Park Rangers.
He was widely heralded as one of the best goalkeepers of his era.
However, he is a bit lower in the ranking, as he only played in the side for two years and his role was usurped by Jack Crompton and eventually Ray Wood.
7. Gary Bailey
Gary Bailey was another great goalkeeper for Manchester United who established himself as one of the game's finest till the mid-80s.
Alex Stepney had established himself to be Manchester United's first choice for many a seasons, so when he retired, there was a huge challenge to any goalkeeper brought in to fill the void.
Enter Gary Bailey.
He was a phenomenal talent who quickly took command of the United back line and provided them with a great level of success.
He won the FA cup with United in 1983 and 1985, but in one of the crucial games, the 1979 FA Cup Final, he completely missed a cross, thereby allowing Alan Sunderland to score the winning goal for Arsenal with moments remaining.
6. Harry Moger
In May 1903, Harry Moger was persuaded to join Manchester United, a team then playing in the second division.
However, people widely believed that Moger suffered from nerves and would never make it in the big stages.
Yet, he established himself as a quality player and saw that Manchester United got promoted to the first division.
He would stay with United until 1912.
During his Manchester United career, he made 264 appearances, and helped United to the Football League titles in 1907-08 and 1910-11, and the FA Cup in 1909.
5. Harry Gregg
From one Harry to another.
Harry Gregg, often called the "Hero of Munich" because he pulled some of his teammates from the burning plane during the Munich air disaster including Bobby Charlton, Jackie Blanchflower, Dennis Violett and also Sir Matt Busby, was also a prodigious goalkeeping talent.
He was voted the best goalkeeper at the 1958 World Cup, and outshone his closest competitor Lev Yashin by 478 votes to 122 votes.
Although he did not have any medals to his name whilst playing for Manchester United, as a serious shoulder injury kept him out of the 1963 FA Cup victory and a series of injuries meant he played fewer games than required to earn a medal during United's league victory in 1964-65 and 1966-67, he is widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers ever to have donned the United jersey.
4. Alex Stepney
Alex Stepney joined Manchester United from Chelsea for a then record fee of £55,000, having made just one appearance for the Chelsea outfit.
He went on to make more appearances in goal for United than any other keeper with 539 appearances.
Mancheser United won the League in 1967, thereby allowing them to enter the European Cup the following season.
With Stepney in goal, Manchester United won the European Cup against Benfica. A memorable incident form the game is when Benfica striker Eusebio drew out an astonishing save from Stepney during the dying moments of the game, which caused Eusebio to stand and applaud the Englishman.
3. Jimmy Rimmer
Alex Stepney was a solid keeper, but many believe that his under-study, Jimmy Rimmer was an even better keeper.
He spent 11 years at Old Trafford, deputizing for Stepney.
However, he left for Arsenal where he was the undisputed keeper for three years and then transferred to Aston Villa.
At Aston Villa, he was the premier goal keeper for six years.
The highlight at Villa was when he he guided them to a UEFA Champions League victory in 1982 over Bayern Munich.
2. Peter Schmeichel
He would have been No. 1 only if he hadn't made the cardinal sin of joining Manchester City.
Schmeichel deserves plaudits for overseeing perhaps the most successful era of Manchester United.
An ever intimidating presence in the United goal, at 6 ft 4 in, Peter Schmeichel was the keystone that allowed Manchester United to top the league again in the 1990s.
In the 1999 FA-Cup final, he also saved Dennis Bergkamp's penalty kick in the dying moments to send the game into extra time.
Furthermore, in Roy Keane's absence, he captained the side to a memorable victory in the 1999 Champions League final over Bayern Munich, thereby completing a historic treble.
He also holds the record number of clean sheets, with 42 percent of his games having been clean sheets.
1. Edwin Van Der Sar
Manchester United went through a whole lot of trouble trying to find a suitable replacement for the "Great Dane," Peter Schmeichel.
Manchester United experimented with a lot of high profile goal keepers including Mark Bosnich, Massimo Taibi, Fabien Barthez, Tim Howard and Roy Carroll, before finally landing the Dutchman.
Van der Sar joined United on 10 June 2005 for a paltry sum of £2 million, which is astonishing considering how much they forked out for David de Gea.
Perhaps his most memorable moment is the penalty save against Nicholas Anelka to give Manchester United the Champions League; his nickname was aptly changed to "Van der Save."
On 27 January 2009, he also set the record for the number of consecutive clean sheets at 11 games and also broke the record for going the longest without conceding a goal at 1,311 minutes.
Stats aside, the Dutchman exuded class through and through, and he deserved to be No.1 in the list of greatest goalkeepers of Manchester United.
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