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David Andrew Seaman MBE (born 19 September 1963 in Rotherhammarker, South Yorkshiremarker) is a former Englishmarker football goalkeeper who played for several clubs, most notably Arsenal and most recently with Manchester City. 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.

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 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.

Seaman is left-handed, but throws the football with his right arm and kicks with his right foot.

Football career

Early career

Seaman was brought up in Rotherham where he attended Kimberworth Comprehensive School. 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, just one month after the birth of his second son Thomas Andrew Seaman, David Seaman moved to Q.P.R. 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) being the agreed fee. Lukic, who was highly popular amongst Arsenal fans, left to rejoin Leeds.

Before making his Arsenal début, Seaman was selected by Bobby Robson 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'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 in.

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 following Taylor's failure to qualify for the World Cup. 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.

Seaman soon put the Nayim mistake behind him, with his heroics as part of Venables's Euro 96 England team. 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".

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. His performance earned him a place in Glenn Hoddle's England team for the 1998 FIFA World Cup in Francemarker. England went out on penalties, losing against Argentina.

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 semis 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. He was part of Kevin Keegan's Euro 2000 squad, but sustained an injury in his warm-up exercises for the third game (against Romania). Nigel Martyn stepped in and performed badly, 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.

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. 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 out by Ronaldinho's curling free kick, as England lost 2-1; he blamed himself for the error.

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

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". 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 Stadiummarker 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.

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 Stadiummarker 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 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.

Career statistics

  • 75 full caps
1982-83 Peterborough United Fourth Division 38 0
1983-84 45 0
1984-85 8 0
1984-85 Birmingham City Second Division 33 0
1985-86 First Division 42 0
1986-87 Queens Park Rangers First Division 41 0
1987-88 32 0
1988-89 35 0
1989-90 33 0
1990-91 Arsenal First Division 38 0
1991-92 42 0
1992-93 Premier League 39 0
1993-94 39 0
1994-95 31 0
1995-96 38 0
1996-97 22 0
1997-98 31 0
1998-99 32 0
1999-00 24 0
2000-01 24 0
2001-02 17 0
2002-03 28 0
2003-04 Manchester City Premier League 19 0
  • 6 caps for England B
  • 10 caps for England Under-21



( * As top tier of English football )


  • UEFA Euro 96 Team of the Tournament
  • PFA Team of the Year: 1997
  • Member in The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (1997)

Media Career

Seaman's 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 Strictly Ice Dancing, a one-off 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. On March 12 2005 he was revealed as the new face of Max Factor, but this campaign was short-lived as he did not desire the hassle of wearing make-up on a day-to-day basis, so 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.


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