With constant speculation on the future of goalkeeper David Forde I ask the question, how difficult a task is replacing your goalkeeper? For the past 7 seasons, the Irish shot stopper has become a legend at our club. Joining as an untried player in England, having been at Cardiff as a reserve player, Forde today has made the number one his own for club and country.
This season however, things haven’t quite been the same. Last pre-season we was all buoyed by the news that he had signed a 3-year-deal with the club, showing commitment that as fans we all love to see. At the time, he had been voted our player of the season, and linked with abundance of clubs both in the Championship and the Premier League, but he decided to stay put. Moving on a year, and after a few bad performances in a terrible season for our club we now find ourselves on the verge of losing the player, with it emerging he has a free release clause in his deal if we were to go down. I personally wouldn’t like to see Forde leave, but sometimes in football a player can outstay their welcome. We’ve seen Alan Dunne leave this summer and it feels like everyone can agree a change is needed. Forde also has ambitions to play in the World Cup with Ireland, and in their latest qualifier was on the bench to Shay Given. Perhaps this is a message from Martin O’Neill, with Forde playing in League One he won’t be at the required level to prove he is capable of playing in a World Cup.
Moving onto the now and we have the question to answer.. Who replaces Forde? We are due to sign Jordan Archer on a free transfer, who has thought to have impressed Kevin Pressman during his loan spell. Also a player who Tottenham have kept right through the youth sides, however with no clear path into the first team has moved on in search for first team football. But it is yet to be seen whether he will fill the void that Forde will leave behind. It’s very easy to forget how difficult it is to replace a goalkeeper who has provided sustained service and developed as a player. Before Forde we went through a whole host of shot stoppers, the last sustained keeper was Tony Warner. Between these two we had Graham Stack, Andy Marshall, Colin Doyle, Lenny Pidgeley, Chris Day, Preston Edwards and even Rab Douglas. Easy to forget isn’t it? And this was in a space of 4 years, I worry that we may have the same issue for the next few seasons. Perhaps the difference this time around is that we have Kevin Pressman as a coach, often highly spoken off by all the players he works with, and also offered great service to Sheffield Wednesday as a player.
I believe taking on Archer will be a great addition, but would personally like the club to also take on an experienced player for even a season to provide support to Archer. Steve Mildenhall and Maik Taylor both provided great experience for Forde and challenged him for the position, and as a result brought the best performances from him. Who could do this role today? Well David Martin at MK Dons is a free transfer, as is Paul Robinson, whether some of these would be feasible is another question but an experienced backup is a must!
Would be great to hear what you all think? There is still of course the possibility Forde might stay but right now this looks slim. If you have anything to add please do so with a comment below. I’m also working on some great video content which I want to bring to the site, so if you have any ideas or would like to get involved do contact me!
Thanks for reading.