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Premier League icon: David Seaman

With less than a month to go until the Premier League season begins, Total Football’s Simon Wright will be looking back at the players, teams and goals that have lit up the 20 years of what is widely regarded as the world's greatest league.

The next player featured was often known as ‘Safe Hands.’ He was part of the legendary Arsenal back four/five and enjoyed plenty of success as a player.

David Seaman has gone down as one of the most successful and iconic goalkeepers of his generation.

Name: David Seaman

Clubs he played for in the Premier League: Arsenal (1992-2003), Manchester City (2003-2004)

Honours: FA Premier League championship winner in 1998 & 2002, FA Cup winner in 1993, 1998, 2002 & 2003, League Cup winner in 1993, European Cup Winners Cup winner in 1994, an MBE award in 1997 for services to sport.

PL Appearances: 344

Clean Sheets: 141

David Seaman had many career highs in his time as a professional goalkeeper and also, some career crushing lows.

He was a reliable goalkeeper, one who had the complete trust of the legendary Arsenal back four/five (counting Martin Keown in case he’s reading!) and earnt the nickname ‘Safe Hands.’

Seaman is Arsenal’s record holder for clean sheets as a keeper and held the all-time Premier League record too until April 2007, when he was surpassed by David James.

He was England no.1 goalie for the best part of a decade and won plenty of silverware, both domestic and continental honours in his time in North London.

Early disappointment

The club Seaman supported as a boy was Leeds United. He started his career at Elland Road but one of his playing heroes, Eddie Gray told him he wasn’t good enough and got rid of him.

Bouncing back from this early disappointment, he started to make a name for himself at Peterborough United, Birmingham City and QPR.

Whilst at QPR, Seaman began a lengthy partnership with former Arsenal goalkeeper and ITV Sport presenter Bob Wilson. It was a pairing that lasted for the majority of the rest of his playing career.

In 1990, George Graham paid a new British goalkeeping record at the time, of £1.3m to bring David to Highbury and a lengthy and successful chapter was about to begin.

His debut season was the stunning 1990-91 campaign, which saw the club lose just one league match all season and concede a mere 18 league goals. Unsurprisingly, they won the first division title.

Seaman became part of the famous Arsenal backline alongside Lee Dixon, Steve Bould, Tony Adams and Nigel Winterburn.

League success would elude the Gunners for another seven years but there was further success for Seaman, when he won the FA Cup and League Cup double in 1993, followed by European Cup Winners Cup glory over Parma the following year.

David was forging a real reputation as a remarkable penalty stopper and a calming influence on any backline, especially the formidable one he was part of.

Amazing

In the final of the 1995 Cup Winners Cup, Arsenal were level at 1-1 with Real Zaragoza and just seconds away from a penalty shootout, when David Seaman experienced the most heartbreaking moment of his career.

Former Tottenham player Nayim, spotted him off his line from approximately 45 yards out and lobbed him successfully, leaving ITV commentator Brian Moore stunned and saying; ‘And it’s gone in, A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!’

Seaman recovered from this devastating setback to be an ever-present in Bruce Ricoh’s only season in charge in the Highbury hotseat and remained a hit under Arsene Wenger’s management.

He played a pivotal role in Arsenal’s double winning success of 1997-98 and only let in 17 league goals the following season.

By this stage of his career, injuries meant he didn’t play ever single minute of each season but he was still the no.1 choice when the North Londoners won their second league and cup double in 2001-02.

A final flourish to win the FA Cup in 2003 was Seaman’s ninth major honour he won with Arsenal but only promised no.2 status for the following season, decided emotionally to leave the club in May 2003.

He won 75 caps for England and was awarded an MBE for his services to sport in 1997.

Was there going to be one final successful story at a new club?

Recurring injury forces retirement

Sadly not, as recurring shoulder injuries got in the way of Seaman’s brief spell at Manchester City.

He wasn’t as commanding as he was at Arsenal and made a few mistakes along the way.

His final match was a 4-2 defeat to Portsmouth on 10 January 2004. Three days later, he announced his retirement from football, aged 40.

His last job at Eastlands was to select a natural successor for Kevin Keegan, which was James, who had displaced him permanently from the England squad a year earlier.

Since retirement, David has done various roles, including working on goalkeeping badges and being a team captain on the former sports panel show, They Think It’s All Over.

In 2006, he appeared in the inaugural series of ITV’s skating show Dancing on Ice, finishing fourth with Scottish professional, Pam O’Connor. He has also presented two themed goalkeeper DVD’s, called David Seaman’s Goalkeeping Nightmares and Jeepers Keepers.

People will probably remember David Seaman the most for the goals he conceded to Nayim in 1995 and Ronaldinho at the 2002 World Cup.

However, he was a terrific goalkeeper and Arsenal have really struggled to find a natural replacement for him ever since.

NEXT TIME ON PREMIER LEAGUE ICONS: From one Arsenal legend to another. The greatest Gunner goalscorer of all-time, Thierry Henry

By Simon Wright – Follow me on Twitter @Siwri88

Follow Total Football on Twitter: @TotalFootball12

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