Craig Gordon

Craig Gordon
Craig Gordon
Craig S Gordon.jpg
Personal information
Full name Craig Sinclair Gordon
Date of birth 31 December 1982 (1982-12-31) (age 28)
Place of birth Edinburgh, Scotland
Height 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in) [1]
Playing position Goalkeeper
Club information
Current club Sunderland
Number 1
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2000–2007 Heart of Midlothian 139 (0)
2001–2002 Cowdenbeath (loan) 12 (0)
2007– Sunderland 87 (0)
National team
2003–2005 Scotland B 2 (0)
2004– Scotland 40 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 13 February 2011.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 18 November 2010

Craig Sinclair Gordon (born 31 December 1982 in Edinburgh) is a Scottish footballer, currently playing as a goalkeeper for both Sunderland and the Scotland national team. He was a nominee for STV's Scotland's Greatest Ever Football Team in 2010.

Gordon started his career with Scottish Premier League side Hearts, where he won the 2006 Scottish Cup. He spent the 2001-02 seasonon loan to Scottish Second Division side Cowdenbeath. In 2007 English Premier League club Sunderland bought him for £9 million, the highest fee a British club had ever paid for a goalkeeper until the transfer of David de Gea to Manchester Utd in 2011.


Club career

Gordon attended Balerno Community High School from 1994 until 1999, a well known Hearts supporter since his time there. He is a graduate of Hearts' youth development programme, which in recent years has also produced fellow Scottish internationals Gary Naysmith, Allan Johnston, Paul Ritchie and Robbie Neilson.

Cowdenbeath (loan)

Craig went on loan to lower league side Cowdenbeath where he played a handful of games before being recalled to the Hearts team. His first professional game was at Forthbank in a match versus Stirling Albion.


He made his debut for Hearts in a 1–1 draw with Livingston on 6 October 2002, and within 12 months had replaced Tepi Moilanen as the regular custodian of the Hearts goal.[2] His performances during the 2003–04 season resulted in him being short-listed for the Scottish PFA Young Player of the Year award, which was won by then Celtic midfielder, Stephen Pearson.

Gordon celebrating with fellow Hearts teammates following his performance in Hearts' 2006 Scottish Cup victory

Gordon had become a Scotland regular by 2005 and his consistent displays during the 2005–06 season helped Hearts to a second place finish in the Scottish Premier League and victory in the Scottish Cup. The trophy was won in a penalty shootout against Gretna following a 1–1 draw, with Gordon saving opponent Gavin Skelton's penalty. That season he was voted Scottish Football Writers' Association Player of the Year, becoming the first Hearts player to win the award since Sandy Jardine in 1986 and also the first goalkeeper since Rangers' Andy Goram in 1993.[3]

For much of the 2006–07 season rumours linked Gordon with a move away from Tynecastle, particularly following his involvement in the issuing of a statement against club owner Vladimir Romanov. Gordon and Paul Hartley flanked captain Steven Pressley as he read out a statement claiming there was "significant unrest" in the Hearts dressing room.[4] The venue for this statement, Hearts' Riccarton training ground, led to the media dubbing the players the "Riccarton Three".[5] Rangers, Aston Villa, Arsenal and Manchester United were all credited with an interest in the player in late 2006. Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger observed Gordon in action in Scotland's 1–0 victory against France in a Euro 2008 qualifying match.[6] He touted Gordon as having "presence and good handling and [he] looks a very good goalkeeper to me." Gordon confirmed his rising stock with a spectacular cross-goal save in the October 2006 Edinburgh derby[6] and the following month he was named as Hearts' new captain, replacing the departed Pressley.

Despite Hearts' claims that he was ill, he was "dropped" to the bench for the game against Dundee United in December 2006 for what many believed to be a disciplinary measure by the club following his involvement in the "Riccarton Three" statement.[7] He was reinstated, however, for the Edinburgh derby match against Hibernian three days later. He was not listed in the squad to face Rangers on 27 January 2007, just four days before the closure of the transfer window, and it was confirmed by the club that they were negotiating his transfer.[8] Gordon, however, remained a Hearts player when the window closed.

In March 2007, Gordon expressed his interest in playing for Arsenal, after reports had cited that he was linked as a candidate to succeed the veteran Jens Lehmann as Arsenal's first-choice goalkeeper, stating "Arsenal is one of the top teams in Britain, in Europe, if not the world, so it is something that would definitely interest any player".[9] Hearts failure to qualify for European competition at the season's end further increased speculation that Gordon would be sold, with Sunderland and Aston Villa rumoured suitors in July 2007.[10] His appearance in Hearts 3–2 friendly defeat by FC Barcelona on 28 July proved to be his last for the club.

On 8 November, Gordon was inducted into the Hearts Hall of Fame. Still only 24, he was the youngest player ever to have that honour bestowed upon him.


It was announced on 7 August 2007 that Gordon had agreed a five year contract with Sunderland, with confirmation of the move coming the following day.[11]The £9m fee was the highest a British club had ever paid for a goalkeeper, until Manchester United payed around £18 million for David de Gea, from Athletico Madrid; the rivals of Real Madrid respectively.[12]

Gordon made his debut for Sunderland in the Premier League opening game against Tottenham Hotspur, keeping a clean sheet as the side won 1–0. In this match his rival goalkeeper, Paul Robinson, was the England first choice. It was the first time a Scotland first choice goalkeeper and an England first choice goalkeeper had faced each other in a club match since 2001, when Arsenal's David Seaman faced Tottenham's Neil Sullivan.

Even though £9 million was spent on Gordon, Sunderland manager Roy Keane dropped him to the bench, after Sunderland's 7–1 loss to Everton in December, Welsh goalkeeper Darren Ward took his place. He regained his place as first choice goalkeeper three games later.[citation needed]

In the middle of the 2008–09 season, Gordon was out for several months with a knee injury and found himself as backup to Márton Fülöp.

However at the start of the 2009–10 season, Gordon regained his place in the starting 11. On 7 November away at Tottenham Hotspur, he broke his arm in a collison with Jermain Defoe[13] and was on sidelines for nearly three months.[14] He returned on 23 January in a game against Portsmouth.[citation needed].

During the summer, Gordon had surgery on his broken arm, where they removed the metal plate. He returned to training days after. However, during a training session, he fractured the arm again. It was confirmed he would miss the start of the 2010–11 Premier League campaign, with Sunderland's new goalkeeper Simon Mignolet deputising. When Gordon returned from his injury, he was kept out of the starting line up. On 9 November 2010, Gordon made his first appearance of the season away at Tottenham Hotspur. The game ended in a 1–1 draw. Gordon also starred in Sunderland's 3–0 win over Chelsea. Then on 18 December 2010 Gordon made a stunning reflex save to deny Zat Knight in Sunderland's 1-0 win over Bolton Wanderers. However, injury woes would strike again for Gordon, as he suffered a tendon injury in his knee, resulting in him being replaced by Mignolet.[15] Luckily for Gordon, the knee tendon problem still ables him to be the sub goalkeeper, despite not being fully fit. On 19 April 2011, it was revealed that Gordon had undergone knee surgery to repair his knee tendon and the Anterior cruciate ligament injury he had suffered. As a result he was ruled out for up to 8 months.[16]

The summer recruitment of Coventry City's goalkeeper Kieren Westwood added further doubt to the Scotsman's future. He was linked to Arsenal and Celtic amongst many clubs in August 2011. [17]

International career

Gordon made his Scotland debut in a 4–1 victory over Trinidad and Tobago at Easter Road Stadium on 30 May 2004[18] during Berti Vogts' reign, before establishing himself as the first choice under Walter Smith. BBC pundit and former player Allan Preston saw him as a potential Scottish great, describing him as "one of the best goalkeepers in Europe".[19] After a 1–1 draw with Italy he drew praise from his hero Gianluigi Buffon who said he could be one of the best goalkeepers in the world.[20]

Career statistics


Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Scotland League Scottish Cup League Cup Europe Total
2000–01 Hearts Premier League - - - - -
2001–02 - - - - -
2001–02 Cowdenbeath (Loan) Second Division 12 0 - 1 0 - 13 0
2002–03 Hearts Premier League 1 0 1 0 - - 2 0
2003–04 30 0 2 0 2 0 2 0 36 0
2004–05 38 0 6 0 3 0 6 0 53 0
2005–06 36 0 5 0 2 0 - 43 0
2006–07 34 0 1 0 1 0 6 0 42 0
Hearts Total 139 0 15 0 8 0 14 0 176 0
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
2007–08 Sunderland Premier League 34 0 1 0 - - 35 0
2008–09 12 0 1 0 1 0 - 14 0
2009–10 26 0 1 0 3 0 - 30 0
2010–11 15 0 0 0 - - 15 0
2011–12 0 0 0 0 - - 0 0
Sunderland Total 87 0 3 0 4 0 0 0 94 0
Career total 236 0 18 0 13 0 14 0 275 0

Stats accurate as of 13 February 2011




  1. ^ "Premier League Player Profile". Premier League.,,12306~22729,00.html. Retrieved 21 March 2011. 
  2. ^ "Hearts Hall of Fame". 2010-02-02. 
  3. ^ "Gordon voted player of the year". BBC Sport. 2006-04-16. 
  4. ^ "Romanov issues player ultimatum". BBC Sport. 2006-10-27. 
  5. ^ "Romanov brands Riccarton Three "traitors" in latest rant". Edinburgh Evening News. 2007-02-23. 
  6. ^ a b "Gordon backed as best in Britain". BBC Sport. 2006-10-10. 
  7. ^ "Craig Gordon dropped to Hearts' bench". BBC Sport. 2006-12-23. 
  8. ^ "Hearts may sell Gordon & Hartley". BBC Sport. 2007-01-28. 
  9. ^ Wilson, Jeremy (2007-03-20). "Puzzled Reyes dismisses Madrid rumours of a return to Sevilla". London: The Guardian.,,2038158,00.html. Retrieved 2007-03-20. 
  10. ^ "McLeish tells Gordon to grab 'chance of a lifetime". The Scotsman. 2007-08-07. 
  11. ^ "Black Cats Sign Craig Gordon". Sky Sports. 2007-08-08.,19528,11661_2647682,00.html. Retrieved 2007-08-08. 
  12. ^ "Sunderland's Craig Gordon sidelined by fractured arm". BBC Sport. 16 July 2010. Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  13. ^ "Gordon blames Defoe for injury". Morning Star. 13 November 2009. 
  14. ^ "Devastated Craig Gordon was close to peak form, insists Steve Bruce". The Scotsman. 20 November 2009. 
  15. ^ "Gordon on injury prognosis". 
  16. ^ Sky Sports.,19528,11695_6884587,00.html. 
  17. ^ "Gordon attracts Celtic interest". BBC News. 15 August 2011. 
  18. ^ "Scotland 4–1 Trinidad". BBC News. 2004-05-30. 
  19. ^ "Gordon is the best keeper in Europe, claims Preston". Edinburgh Evening News. 2007-08-06. 
  20. ^ "Buffon backs "great" Gordon". Sky Sports. 2007-11-16.,19528,11063_2885890,00.html. 
  21. ^ "Craig Gordon Career Stats". Soccerbase. 19 December 2010. Retrieved 19 December 2010. 

External links

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