David Seaman

David Seaman
David Seaman
Personal information
Full name David Andrew Seaman
Date of birth 19 September 1963 (1963-09-19) (age 48)
Place of birth Rotherham, England
Height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Youth career
1981–1982 Leeds United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
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.
† Appearances (Goals).

David Andrew Seaman MBE (born 19 September 1963 in Rotherham, South Yorkshire) is a former English football goalkeeper who played for several clubs, most notably Arsenal. He retired from the game on 13 January 2004, following a recurring shoulder injury. He was awarded the MBE in 1997 for services to the sport.

The peak of his career was during his period as Arsenal and England goalkeeper in the 1990s and early 2000s; during his time at Arsenal he won many medals including 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 in the 1998 and 2002 World Cups, and Euro 96 and Euro 2000, and is England's second-most capped goalkeeper with 75 caps, after Peter Shilton.[1]

Seaman's career highs came in his successful performance in UEFA Euro 96 and in Arsenal's UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, Premier League and FA Cup (including a superb save from Paul Peschisolido for Sheffield United in the FA Cup 2002–03) campaigns in the mid-90s and early-2000s. 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 throws the football with his right arm[8] and kicks with his right foot.


Club career

Early career

Seaman was brought up in Rotherham where 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 Q.P.R., 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. Shortly before the European success, Terry Venables was appointed as England manager. Venables saw Seaman as his first-choice goalkeeper and Seaman would remain a permanent member of the England team until 2002.

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 Attilio Lombardo's shot in Arsenal's semi-final shoot-out against U.C. Sampdoria. However, in the final Arsenal lost in extra time to Real Zaragoza, with a spectacular last-minute goal from Nayim from 45 yards out catching Seaman off his line, it was noted that there were only seconds left of extra time when Seaman conceded.

In August 1996, Arsène Wenger became the new manager of Arsenal. Wenger rated Seaman highly and in 1998, Seaman backstopped the team to the Premier League and FA Cup double. In 1998–99, Seaman played all 38 league matches, conceded only 17 league goals as Arsenal came agonisingly close to 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 and Richard Wright also won championship medals, due mainly to Seaman's absence through injuries.

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. In the FA Cup, he made a spectacular save against Sheffield United's Paul Peschisolido in the semi-finals, in what former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, a pundit for the BBC on the day, dubbed "the best save I've ever seen".[11] 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 leaped sideways and backwards, somehow 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 all the more remarkable in that it was Seaman's 1,000th professional career game. Seaman went on to captain the team during the finals 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 Premiership appearances chart for Arsenal, with 325 to his name. In June 2008 he was voted seventh in the list of 50 Gunners' Greatest Players.[12]

Manchester City

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-ex-Wales goalkeeper Neville Southall and Chris Woods to perform in an FA Cup game at Merthyr Tydfil as their two first choice goalkeepers, 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.[13]

International career

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

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 but only cemented his place as undisputed number one with the arrival of Terry Venables 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-finals of the competition; 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 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. Nigel Martyn stepped in, and Phil Neville's clumsy foul late in the game gave Romania a penalty which Martyn could not stop. 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 the penalty spot kick. However, in England's 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.[14]

The result led to a debate about whether Seaman should remain England's number one.[15] 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.[16] This was Seaman's last appearance for the England national team, as Eriksson dropped him in favour of David James.

Career statistics

Club Season Division League FA Cup League Cup Europe Other[17] Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
1982–83 Peterborough United Fourth Division 38 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1983–84 45 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1984–85 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1984–85 Birmingham City Second Division 33 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1985–86 First Division 42 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1986–87 Queens Park Rangers First Division 41 0 0 0 0 0 0
1987–88 32 0 0 0 0 0 0
1988–89 35 0 0 0 0 0 0
1989–90 33 0 0 0 0 0 0
1990–91 Arsenal First Division 38 0 0 0 0 0 0
1991–92 42 0 0 0 0 0 0
1992–93 Premier League 39 0 0 0 0 0 0
1993–94 39 0 0 0 0 0 0
1994–95 31 0 0 0 0 0 0
1995–96 38 0 0 0 0 0 0
1996–97 22 0 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 26 0
1997–98 31 0 4 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 38 0
1998–99 32 0 5 0 0 0 6 0 1 0 44 0
1999-00 24 0 2 0 1 0 9 0 0 0 36 0
2000–01 24 0 5 0 0 0 10 0 0 0 39 0
2001–02 17 0 1 0 0 0 7 0 0 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 0 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


  • 75 full caps
  • 6 caps for England B
  • 10 caps for England Under-21

[18] [19]

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



With Arsenal

First Division Championship/FA Premier League:

  • Winner: 1990-91, 1997-98, 2001-02
  • Runner-up: 1998-99, 1999-2000, 2000-01, 2002-03

FA Cup:

League Cup:

FA Community Shield:

  • Winner: 1991 (shared), 1998, 1999, 2002
  • Runner-up: 1993

UEFA Cup Winners' Cup:

  • Winner: 1994
  • Runner-up: 1995


UEFA Super Cup

  • Runner-up: 1994

With England

FIFA World Cup

  • Appearances: 1998, 2002
  • Unused Squad member: 1990 (Withdrew injured)

UEFA European Championship

  • Euro 96 Quarterfinal Winner
  • Appearances: 1996, 2000

Tournoi de France

  • Winner: 1997


UEFA Euro 96 Team of the Tournament

PFA Team of the Year: 1997

Member in The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (1997)

Premier League 10 Seasons Awards (1992–2002):

  • Domestic Team of the Decade
  • Goalkeeper with most clean sheets (130)

Later career

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.[20] 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 team-mate Ian Wright.

In December 2004, following his retirement from professional football, he became one of the celebrities to take part in Dancing on Ice, 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 played in all three Soccer Aid matches for England.[21][22][23]


  1. ^ "England's Goalkeepers in Most Appearance Order". England Football Online. http://www.englandfootballonline.com/TeamGkprs/GkprsMstApps.html. 
  2. ^ Wallace, Sam (2004-01-13). "Seaman calls time on career". London: Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/2371241/Seaman-calls-time-on-career.html. Retrieved 2009-05-20. 
  3. ^ "BBC SPORT | Football | Photo Galleries | David Seaman's career in photos". BBC News. 2004-01-13. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/photo_galleries/3394471.stm. Retrieved 2009-05-20. 
  4. ^ Burt, Jason (2004-01-14). "Seaman's career meets unsatisfying conclusion – Premier League, Football". London: The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/seamans-career-meets-unsatisfying-conclusion-573082.html. Retrieved 2009-05-20. 
  5. ^ 5 mins 15 seconds. "Gunners' Greatest Players – 7. David Seaman | News Archive | News". Arsenal.com. http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/gunners-greatest-players-7.-david-seaman. Retrieved 2009-05-20. 
  6. ^ "Seaman's career of heartache and heroics ends". www.smh.com.au. 2004-01-15. http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/01/14/1073877906448.html?from=storyrhs. Retrieved 2009-05-20. 
  7. ^ "Wembley 2000". Fanclub-family.com. 2000-10-07. http://www.fanclub-family.com/on_tour/2000-01/2000-01wembley.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-20. 
  8. ^ http://www.soccermemo.com/ebay/DavidSeamann.jpg
  9. ^ Independent Online, 22 June 2002. Retrieved 2 December 2007.
  10. ^ Rich, Tim (2003-05-03). "Seaman's standing unfairly undermined by rare mistakes". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/seamans-standing-unfairly-undermined-by-rare-mistakes-590470.html. Retrieved 2010-09-29. 
  11. ^ "Schmeichel leads Seaman praise". BBC Sport. 2004-04-13. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/fa_cup/2944701.stm. Retrieved 2010-01-02. 
  12. ^ "Gunners' Greatest Players – 7. David Seaman". Arsenal.com. http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/gunners-greatest-players-7.-david-seaman. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 
  13. ^ "Seaman bid falls flat". The Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/2367636/Seaman-bid-falls-flat.html. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  14. ^ "Seaman says sorry". BBC Sport. 2002-06-21. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport3/worldcup2002/hi/matches_wallchart/england_v_brazil/newsid_2057000/2057696.stm. Retrieved 2010-01-02. 
  15. ^ "Time for Seaman to go?". BBC Sport. 2002-08-24. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/sports_talk/2214193.stm. Retrieved 2010-01-02. 
  16. ^ Williams, Richard (2002-10-17). "Sorry Seaman must step down". The Guardian (London). http://football.guardian.co.uk/england/story/0,,813390,00.html. 
  17. ^ Includes other competitive competitions, including the FA Community Shield, UEFA Super Cup, Intercontinental Cup, FIFA Club World Cup
  18. ^ :: National Football Teams ::.. Player – David Seaman
  19. ^ David Andrew Seaman – International Appearances
  20. ^ Liew, Jonathan (26 February 2011). "Arsenal v Birmingham: David Seaman sits quietly on the fence in Carling Cup Final". telegraph.co.uk. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/arsenal/8348242/Arsenal-v-Birmingham-David-Seaman-sits-quietly-on-the-fence-in-Carling-Cup-Final.html. Retrieved 26 February 2011. 
  21. ^ 'Soccer Aid' (TV mini-series 2006) – IMDb
  22. ^ Soccer Aid 2008: A Real Problem For Football | Bleacher Report
  23. ^ Soccer Aid 2010: minute by minute report -UNICEF UK News-News item-07 June 2010 00:00

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