Sunday, November 15, 2009

Stories of goalkeepers...both fictional and true

Photos (Top to Bottom): "The Penalty King" (Football, London, October 1977) [Click on photo to get readable version.]

Goalkeepers have really been in the news this week.

First, Robert Enke, who had been widely tipped to be Germany’s number 1 for the coming World Cup, apparently committed suicide.

His car was hit by a train at a level crossing.

Enke, 32, was captain and keeper for Bundeslinga side Hannover 96.

He had never quite recovered emotionally from the death of his 2-year-old daughter two years ago.

He had spoken of how he and his wife had kept vigil at their daughter’s bedside at the hospital and how they had eaten Christmas dinner of salmon and potato at the hospital cafeteria.

Enke was a modest individual who never big-noted himself. He had recently recovered from injury but had been depressed. It has been said that he had a fear of failure.

He and his wife, Teresa, lived on a farm and were staunch animal rights campaigners.

Although he drove a Mercedes, Enke travelled by rail to training and mixed freely with thousands of commuters each day.

How different this was to all those modern-day superstars who roll up to training in their expensive limousines and who flaunt their wealth.

Enke started his career with Karl Zeiss Jena and then moved to Barcelona, where he was rarely given a chance but was the eternal understudy to other keepers.

Barcelona off-loaded him to Turkish club Fenerbache, where he played just one game and suffered the ire of fans because it ended in defeat.

He then moved to Tenerife in Spain before transferring to Hannover 96 where he established himself as number one choice and captain.

His death came just as it seemed he had reached his peak in form.

And then came the news of former Chelsea and now Tottenham keeper Carlo Cudicini, who was badly injured in a motorcycle accident in London.

Cudicini, who was the understudy to Petr Cech at Chelsea before moving to Spurs, collided with a car on his BMW motorcycle and broke both wrists and suffered pelvic damage.

The police report describes his injuries as possibly ‘life changing’. That’s newspeak if ever I’ve heard it.

No-one at Tottenham knew Cudicini even owned a motorbike, let alone rode one, so it will be interesting to see what the insurance situation is as far as his playing career is concerned.

New Zealand have their keeper, Mark Paston, to thank for getting to the World Cup after he saved a second-half penalty against Bahrein in Wellington yesterday.

A 45th-minute header by Rory Fallon gave New Zealand a 1-0 win and a ticket to South Africa.

It will be New Zealand’s second appearance at the World Cup. They were involved in Spain in 1982,w here they were in the same group as Brazil and Scotland.

It’s wonderful for our region of the world that both the Socceroos and the All Whites will at last compete in a World Cup together.

Mark Schwarzer was also in excellent form for the Socceroos, who beat Oman 2-1 away with ten men to go to the top of their group in the Asian Cup qualifiers.

Luke Wilkshire and Brett Emerton got the goals, while Rhys Williams conceded a penalty and was sent off after just 17 minutes.

Since we are on the theme of goalkeepers, I’d like to share with you a short story I had published in the English magazine “Football” back in 1977.

This is only a work of fiction. Real life is often much stranger. The story, as published, is reproduced above.


R U Serious Ref said...

Hi Walter.
It was great to see New Zealnd qualify for the World Cup. It was a bit strange supporting them in this game though. Just seemed a bit "Un-Australian". haha.
It is a real shame though that reading through the Mercury today it hardly gets a mention. As you pointed out it's great for the region. Lets hope the Mercury gets on board the game and gives the sport the coverage it deserves/people want.
I am very surprised though that the Australian game gets a colour picture. I was in shock.

I saw in interview with a Rugby leage boofhead in relation to the new Sydney AFL team that is heading out West into Rugby leage teritory. He said they were not worried as the two sports will compliment each other and the community will support both. They would both have a share of members as kids will either play NRL or AFL. No mention of the soccer or the new A-League side that will also be out there. AFL & NRL really don't rate Football (soccer) and it's time that FFA & A-League clubs really started to work together and Market the hell out of the brand. Now that we look like making the Asian Cup (already qualified for the World Cup) and New Zealand have just made the World Cup, now is the best time to do this as long as they don't expect the media to help out to much. Well the Mercury & Sydney papers. FFT should be doing the same thing down here (also a big referee push) but I doubt that will happen. Wishful thinking I know.

jerrie kruijver said...

bad luck for cudducini.he os a great keeper