Date: 19th September 2017 at 5:54pm
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So how exactly do you become a Club Hero? Is it that one magical moment? Is it years of dedication?

Here at Shoot! we pride ourselves on reviewing them players who are most fondly remembered by football clubs up and down the land. Today our attention stays in North London, following last month’s feature on striker Thierry Henry, although this Club Hero starred at the opposite end of the pitch…

Therefore, happy 54th birthday to former Gunners and England goalkeeper David Seaman!

The ponytailed shot stopper relished the most successful stage of his career at Highbury – Arsenal FC’s ground before the Emirates Stadium, in case you are too young to remember!

Seaman, who was born in Rotherham, Yorkshire, began his career at Leeds United – the football club he grew up supporting.

However, after failing to impress manager Eddie Gray, the ‘keeper was sold to Peterborough United for just £4,000 back in August 1982.

His impressive stint with Posh earned him a £100,000 transfer to Second Division outfit Birmingham City after two years, where he won promotion to the First Division, before being relegated immediately the following season.

After his two-year spell with The Blues, Seaman sealed a £225,000 switch to Queens Park Rangers in August 1986, where he earned his first Three Lions international cap against Saudi Arabia in 1988 under manager Sir Bobby Robson.

But it was Arsenal’s decision in 1990 to spend a then British record £1.3m for a goalkeeper on Seaman’s services that truly sparked his successful career.

In his debut campaign with The Gunners, he conceded just 18 times, having played in every single match of their league-winning campaign.

Under boss George Graham, Arsenal won the FA Cup and League Cup in 1993, before lifting the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup the following year. But he was sacked in 1995, before a certain Frenchman, Arsene Wenger, took over at Highbury in August 1996.

Seaman starred as The Gunners lifted the Premier League title and FA Cup in 1998, before shipping in just 17 league goals the following campaign as Arsenal came within just a point of retaining the top-flight crown.

However, the England No.1 couldn’t single-handedly help Arsenal defeat Galatasaray in the 2000 UEFA Cup final, as after a 0-0 encounter, the Turkish outfit prevailed victorious in the penalty shootout.

Fast forward to 2002, the goalkeeper again achieved the Premier League and FA Cup double, despite an injury-hit term at Highbury.

Those weeks spent on the sidelines the previous term ultimately asked questions about Seaman’s ability between the sticks, but the ponytailed hero answered his critics with a sublime 2002-2003 season – his last with Arsenal.

During the FA Cup semi-final at Old Trafford, the England international somehow spectacularly clawed away Sheffield United striker Paul Peschisolido’s goal bound header from point blank range.

It was a remarkable reaction, scooping the ball away on the goal line to preserve his clean sheet, in what has been deemed as one of the greatest saves of all-time!

Those heroics in his 1,000th professional career game saw Seaman go on to captain Wenger’s men in the 2003 FA Cup final against Southampton at the Millennium Stadium, where he kept another clean sheet to seal a narrow 1-0 victory and end his Arsenal career on a high, lifting his eight major trophy.

Following his release that summer, Seaman opted to head north and joined up with Kevin Keegan at Manchester City.

However his stint with the Citizens last just a few months, as a reoccurring shoulder injury ultimately curtailed his career early, before he announced his retirement from football at the age of 40 in January 2004.

Since hanging up his boots; he won BBC’s Strictly Ice Dancing at Christmas in 2004, had his renowned ponytail cut off live on TV for charity, starred in ITV’s Dancing on Ice, released a couple of goalkeeping gaffe DVDs and featured in many Soccer Aid matches as he continually commits himself to various charity work.

Then, in June 2012, Seaman joined non-league side Wembley as goalkeeping coach for their 2012-13 FA Cup campaign, as part of a television documentary, which also included the likes of Terry Venables, Graeme Le Saux, Ray Parlour and Martin Keown.

But they were thrashed 5-0 by Uxbridge in their Preliminary Round replay. Oh well!

In 2013, Seaman and Frankie Poultney, for whom he partnered during the ninth series of Dancing on Ice, announced their engagement, before tying the knot in February 2015.

And finally, earlier this month, Seaman played for Team Ferdinand in the ‘Game 4 Grenell’ football match at QPR’s Loftus Road to raise money and in memory of those who lost their lives in the Grenfell Tower Fire back in mid-June.

An all-round good guy and Club Hero.


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