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Neil Sullivan (born 24 February 1970 in Suttonmarker, Greater Londonmarker) is an Englishmarker-born Scottishmarker professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper. Sullivan currently plays for Doncaster Rovers after signing on a permanent basis from Leeds United at the end of the 2006–07 season, following two loan moves to Doncaster.

Playing career

Sullivan began his career with local club Wimbledon in 1988, amassing a total of 224 appearances between 1988 and 2000. It was during his tenure at Wimbledon that Sullivan was often acknowledged as one of the best goalkeepers in the league, establishing his name among other world-class goalkeepers in the same league, such as David Seaman, Peter Schmeichel, Mark Bosnich, Nigel Martyn, Neville Southall, Shay Given, and Tim Flowers, to name a few. His remarkable ability even had Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson nominating him as one of the potential successors to replace Schmeichel at United, when he left the club after the 1998–99 season.

He also played one game on loan for Crystal Palace in 1992. In 2000, Sullivan moved to Tottenham from Wimbledon, where he made over 80 appearances. He then moved to Chelsea in the 2003-04 season, playing 8 times for them.

In June 2004, he was signed by Championship team Leeds United. In his first season (2004-05), he was voted as the club's Player of the Year.

Sullivan has also been capped 28 times by Scotland. He was named in the Scottish squad for the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France, but was an unused substitute in all of Scotland's three matches.

He is also famous for being the goalkeeper against whom David Beckham scored a goal from the halfway line, while he was off his line. The goal was later chosen as goal of the decade in 2003.

Throughout his career he has been well known for his crowd interaction, often asking the crowd to shout boom after he has taken goal kicks or free kicks in his own half.

Due to an injury picked up in the pre-season match against Nottingham Forest Sullivan made few appearances in the 2006-07 campaign for Leeds. On 23 November 2006 he moved on loan to Doncaster Rovers. His loan was however cut short and he returned to Leeds on 21 December 2006. Manager Dennis Wise told the press after Leeds' 2-1 victory against Coventry City that Sullivan had put on weight, and his performances were not as good, hence his loan to Doncaster. He re-signed on loan for Doncaster Rovers in February 2007. After the end of his loan at Doncaster Sullivan returned to Leeds but was released at the end of his contract on 15 May 2007, returning to Doncaster shortly afterwards. He has since then been the first team keeper and his consistent performances throughout the 2007/8 season helped Doncaster to promotion. He made an error in the 2-1 loss to Yeovil Town on 21 March 2008, mis-controlling a backpass which led to a Yeovil goal, but the disappointment of this mistake was over-shadowed by a very successful season between the sticks, in which Sullivan kept an impressive 20 clean sheets. .

He overcame this to help Doncaster win promotion to the Championship with a playoff final win over former club Leeds United, leaving them in the First Division of the Football League for at least another year.

Sullivan was also credited with a superb man-of-the-match performance against Aston Villa on 24 January 2009 which gave Doncaster a 0-0 draw that helped keep them in the FA Cup .

References

  1. BBC SPORT | Football | League One | Yeovil 2-1 Doncaster


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