Leeds United's top 30 players of all time - Number 17

Leeds United

At 17 in the countdown is arguably Leeds United's greatest ever goalkeeper.

Nigel Martyn may be behind the likes of Gary Sprake, David Harvey and John Lukic when it comes to medals won, but there is arguably no goalkeeper that Leeds United fans would have preferred in their all-time line-up than the man who would remain a stalwart of the side during the days when David O'Leary threatened to take the Whites back to the big time.

The England international moved to Elland Road in 1996, having previously been a part of the Crystal Palace squad that had taken Manchester United to an FA Cup final replay in 1990.

And while his first season in Yorkshire would see United finish outside of the top half, the 1997-98 campaign would see the club begin to establish itself as outside contenders in the Premier League.

Their fifth place finish that season would result in them beginning a five-year spell where they qualified for either the UEFA Cup or Champions League, reaching the semi-final in both competitions along the way.

With O'Leary's squad boasting youth in abundance, it was experience that players like Martyn had that was so crucial to their success during those days. 

And when the outfield players made mistakes, it was often Martyn that was there to clean up the mess. His consistency when Leeds were knocking on the door was such a key part of why United, for a brief period of time, were hinting that they may be able to sustain a challenge against Manchester United and Arsenal's dominance. For example, at the start of the New Millennium, Leeds topped the table. 

However, as the off-field matters began to receive more coverage than Leeds' fortunes on the pitch, Martyn lost his place in the team with Terry Venables giving Paul Robinson a chance. And in 2003, the experienced stopper left for Premier League rivals Everton.

His spell at Goodison Park proved that he could still be considered as one of the best goalkeepers in the country even as he approached 40 years of age, and while no player would have been able to prevent Leeds' fall from grace on their own, having Martyn still at the club would have given United a much better chance of staying up in 2004. 

Countdown so far: Number 30, Number 29, Number 28, Number 27, Number 26, Number 25, Number 24, Number 23, Number 22, Number 21, Number 20, Number 19, Number 18

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