Leeds were rocked by the news of Gary Sprake’s passing this week.
Following the sad news that former Leeds United goalkeeper Gary Sprake has died at the age of 71, here is a look at the six greatest goalkeepers in the club’s history.
6. Paul Robinson
There is no doubt that had Leeds remained in the top flight beyond 2004, Paul Robinson would have found himself much higher up the list. Unfortunately, much of the future England stopper’s time in the Whites first-team was spent amongst a side that was in turmoil and heading for the second division. His subsequent spells at Tottenham and Blackburn would highlight what Leeds had lost.
5. Mervyn Day
Day arrived during Leeds’ bleak period where they found themselves stuck in the second tier. The former West Ham man went on to make well over 200 league appearances for the Peacocks before his departure in 1993. And while he spent his final years at Elland Road as an understudy, he was a key man during their promotion-winning campaign of 1989/90. He also was a part of the team that reached the FA Cup semi-final under club legend Billy Bremner.
4. John Lukic
With well over 400 league appearances under his belt across two spells, no goalkeeper on this list has made more appearances for Leeds than Lukic. While his first spell came at a time when United were continuing their fall from grace, his second spell was much more notable. Having won the league title with Arsenal in 1989, it must have seemed like a brilliant piece of business when Howard Wilkinson brought him back to Elland Road around a year later. He would win his second title medal in 1992 as Leeds were crowned champions for the third time in their history.
3. David Harvey
Harvey spent much of his first spell with Leeds as a more than capable understudy who would have made it into most great teams at that time. He became Don Revie’s number one from the 1972/73 season onwards – though he did start the 1972 FA Cup final victory – and remained a stalwart for the next few years, helping them win the league title again in 1974 and reach the European Cup final in 1975, though injury would prevent him playing. His consistency and reliability left many fans to suggest that he deserved to be the number one a lot sooner.
2. Gary Sprake
Though he was guilty of some high-profile mistakes during his time at Elland Road, and he somewhat damaged his reputation amongst Leeds supporters following his career, there is no doubt that on his day, Sprake could be world-class. The Welshman was a key part of Leeds’ golden period which saw them battle at the summit of both the domestic and European games.
1. Nigel Martyn
Though Martyn never won a major honour with Leeds, he surely deserves to be considered as the greatest goalkeeper the club has ever had. His shot-stopping was sensational, and his consistency was unparalleled in the Premier League era. His experience was a key reason that David O’Leary’s young side nearly scaled the mountain both at home and in the Champions League around the turn of the Millennium.
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