Support English Goalkeepers

It only seems like yesterday as a 7 year old goalkeeper, I would watch match of the day with my father and listen to the English commentators brag about the English Goalkeepers being the ‘Best in the World!’

As a young aspiring goalkeeper, this made me so proud!

I would sit and watch the TV in awe watching England Legends Peter Shilton, Peter Bonetti, Ray Clemence and Gordon Banks perform.

It was only a few short years ago that an England manager could have picked with confidence a string of English keepers, knowing that any one of them would do the business in between the sticks for our country.

Now several years on, what has happened?

It was only a couple of seasons back that the English media and the majority of English fans were in a state of panic wondering where the next generation of decent English Goalkeepers are going to come from.

At the time of writing, thankfully we do have some good goalkeepers coming through. Joe Hart is England’s number 1, and the current England manager also has Robert Green and Ben Foster.

But we NEED more English Goalkeepers coming through!!!

Something needs to be done to fix this problem … and FAST !

So, who I am to make such a claim?

Before I tell you what I believe the problem is and how I believe it can be resolved, please let me tell you a bit about myself.
My Name is Ray Newland, and I am one of a tiny percentage of people who were lucky enough to have become a professional Goalkeeper. I achieved my dream and was very fortunate to have rubbed shoulders with some of the legend goalkeepers pictured on our home page.

Peter Shilton actually signed me as a goalkeeper for Plymouth Argyle when he was manager and Ray Clemence wanted to sign me when he was manager of Barnet. I was also lucky enough to be coached by other England legends, Peter Bonetti, Joe Corrigan and the man himself Gordon Banks!

Unfortunately for me, just ten years into my playing career aged 28 years old, a freak training ground injury prematurely ended my career.

However this was to be a blessing in disguise as I started Just4keepers, which has now become the largest goalkeeping academy internationally. (Please check out www.just4keepers.co.uk)

At the time of writing, I have been running Just4keepers for nearly twelve years and we have had some amazing success stories. In fact we have helped over 250 young goalkeepers get to professional clubs over this time period. NO similar organisation or professional football club globally even comes close to matching our success rate.

I am now forty years old, and I have lived, slept and eaten goalkeeping for over 30 years now, it’s safe to say I am a goalkeeping anorak! I have rubbed shoulders with some of the England goalkeeping greats while I was a professional goalkeeper myself and I now run the biggest goalkeeper schools in the world.

So I hope you are confident that you will see that I am an expert on the goalkeeping situation in our country and that I know what I am talking about. And if my campaign is taken on board at professional clubs, give it five years, England will once again be able to boast that we have ‘The best Goalkeepers in the world!’

I get really frustrated and annoyed when I hear people at professional clubs state ‘There are not many good young goalkeepers at grassroots level’ .

This is complete nonsense!

There are plenty of talented young English goalkeepers playing at grassroots level!

The amount of foreign goalkeepers now in the English leagues is overwhelming and sadly AND wrongly they are pushing English goalkeepers down the pecking order.

What is sad, sorry annoying, is the majority of foreign keepers hitting our shores and playing in the professional leagues, are NO better than our own home grown talent!!!

Most people do not know this but the majority of foreign premiership clubs have either academies overseas or run coaching schools overseas, and then they are bringing any talent they see back to their clubs.

So foreign players coming to our shores are getting younger and younger. Now I can understand if a club finds a young Messi, a Van der Sar or a Torres but come on at a young age there is hardly any difference in 95% of the talent!

Give it 2-5 years, I believe we will still have BEST league in the world but sadly will have an average National team that will struggle to stay in the top 10, in terms of the best National sides in the world.

It’s sadly not just our premiership clubs where English keepers are getting pushed to one side now. Foreign keepers are now playing in our lower leagues. This is just ridiculous…

‘These leagues should be a breeding ground for our own goalkeeping talent!’

Why do our lower league clubs want a foreign goalkeeper, when there is SO much talent in our conference leagues, and even lower?

Is it because it’s sexier for a club to have a keeper from Valencia, rather than from Leatherhead! (No offence to Leatherhead)

So why are foreign goalkeepers getting in ahead of the English talent?

To be honest, I do not know but I wish I had an answer, as I have been left scratching my head many times watching some of these foreign keepers play in our leagues.

I have heard and or read this excuse from football managers a few times…

‘We cannot buy an English player because they are too expensive and the player wants too much money’

What a load of rubbish this quote is: OK you might have Joe hart, Robert Green worth a few million but you cannot tell me that a professional club cannot go into the lower leagues and pick up a goalkeeper for a very modest fee?

Because alot of these foreign goalkeepers sign for BIG money and are on BIG wages!

I tell you this: If someone from these professional clubs just bothered to look in the Lower leagues, there would be goalkeepers who would do just as good a job as our foreign imports, they could be bought for a fraction of the cost and would be happy to take a fraction of the wage.

So why do foreign keepers still get the nod ahead of an English keeper?

To repeat above, I am totally baffled but I think it should stop… and FAST!

It’s time to act and act now!!!!

Before it become disastrous for English Keepers and our National game.

Am I saying ban foreign keepers?

Definitely not, and without contradicting myself I believe foreign keepers are good for our game.

However, I do only mean the keepers who can bring something to the English game. When you look at the likes of Neville Southall (Wales) Peter Schmeichel (Denmark) Pepe Reina (Spain) and Peter Cech (Czech) for example, you cannot argue that these keepers are world class and that they have brought something special to English football.

There are also other foreign keepers who are steady and also do a great job, but my point is this…  the majority of foreign goalkeepers are NO better than the English goalkeepers playing in our lower leagues.

Then there other foreign goalkeepers who are mediocre and it’s just mind boggling how these guys get to sign a professional contract?

So what is my campaign?

Now whether the FA have got the power over the leagues (especially the premiership) they once had, I honestly do not know as this is the side of the game I have lost touch with  since coming out of professional football…But I believe that the FA should bring out a rule…

‘That ANY professional team must have at least one ENGLISH Pro Goalkeeper on their books!’

Now the FA may say they are tackling the goalkeeping problem in England at the grassroots level by producing more goalkeeper coaches by running Goalkeeper coaching courses that anyone can take at their local county FA. (Which is a BIG help by the way!)

However in my opinion the problem does not lie at the grass root level, so I believe trying to tackle this by having more goalkeeper coaches is not going to solve anything because we already have some of the best goalkeeper coaches in the world..

The problem is at professional level because our own goalkeepers are simply not getting a chance at some professional clubs.

So I am hoping to persuade the FA with YOUR help, to bring in a ruling that will see a rule that each club must have ONE English Goalkeeper.

Why am I doing this?

I personally see young goalkeepers who come to my coaching schools with the dream in their eyes of become a professional goalkeeper. These kids do not hang around on street corners causing trouble. No, they work vigorously, sacrificing years of their time to become a better keeper in the hope that one day they will become a professional goalkeeper.

And it really does ANGER me when I see these youngsters put all this effort in for YEARS, then not even getting a fair fighting chance because the clubs they approach have a full quota of goalkeepers. Many of which are foreign.

These keepers turn to me for help and I am left frustrated and sickened when these goalkeepers who I have known since they were children look at me totally dejected when their dreams are shattered.

My students know it’s hard to become a professional goalkeeper, NOT ONE OF THEM ask for an easy ride… all they want is a fair crack of the whip.

But they do not get it most of the time?

In many cases, jokingly, but half heartedly being serious, I have advised my students to learn to speak German, Spanish, Italian, Swedish etc and become average as this may give them a better chance!

It should not be like this!

So I am doing this, not just out of loyalty for my students who attend Just4keepers, but for EVERY starry eyed youngster who lives, eats and breathes goalkeeping… And who dreams of becoming a professional goalkeeper one day.

I have been fortunate enough to have lived my dreams, and I want our English keepers to feel what I felt becoming a professional. Because it’s the best feeling in the world!

I can remember when I was their age, and I remember like it was yesterday that ‘Excited knot’ feeling in my stomach every day, just aching to become a professional goalkeeper. And when my students approach me on a daily basis, I can actually feel their desire to succeed, so I feel compelled to do something to help them.

And if something is not changed at the Professional level, URGENTLY, this problem is going to get worse.

Please Remember I am not saying get rid of foreign keepers out of our leagues, far from it. They are great for our game, they bring a different style that we can all learn from and I think the English game is stronger for their participation.

But if England is going to be ranked as having the best goalkeepers in the world again, something has to be done, and done now before it’s too late!

So I am urging you to sign our petition!.

I like to finish on a positive note: Please go to: www.just4keepers.co.uk/success_stories.htm and see the success rate Just4keepers has had with English keepers so it proves England really does have talent. Here are some of our success stories.

Matty Edwards (Leeds United also made is professional debut for Rochdale)

Adam Davies (Everton AND England U17… we have got one at least heh. LOL)


Nathan Dean (Manchester City now in USA on a 4 year scholarship)

These guys came through the Just4Keepers development program. And even though I am SO proud and honoured to help these young men achieve their dream, it’s simply not enough!

Whether the next generation of Professional English keepers come from Just4Keepers, professional football clubs academy scheme or even another goalkeeper schools competing with Just4Keepers… I DO NOT CARE!

I just want to see more English keepers getting a FAIR crack of the whip!

I am hoping parents, fellow keepers; especially the English Media and the more importantly the FA support me in this campaign to once again having our English keepers being known for…

‘Being the best in the world!’

In fact I strongly believe if this rule is brought out, give it 5 years England will once again be the envy of the world for our goalkeepers!

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For goalkeeper coaching and your first session FREE contact  Jay Gibbs: 07979195485

Jay Gibbs   P.G.C.E, BSc (hons) P.E & Sports Science F.A Licensed G.K Coach Education

 

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