We are of course in an unprecedented and extremely serious times as a society, in the midst of a global pandemic. The COVID-19 crisis has both put football in perspective but also provided the realisation of how much our lives revolve around it.
Sparta will be pushing out more frequent content for your football fix, starting with a series of ‘Year in Goalkeepers’, looking back at times where we were certain of the next set of fixtures or major international tournament.
A pillar of much debate is whether or not Liverpool should be awarded their inaugural Premier League title, regardless of whether the 2019/20 season is determined void by the powers that be.
One time where Liverpool would not have worried so much was their period of dominance in English football, where league titles where not once in a blue moon so much as a formality to pick up at the end of the season.
Their last top flight triumph was 1990 and to stay as relevant as possible to the current events or lack of, in world football right now, we will explore the year of 1990 in goalkeepers.
Close your eyes. You’re out of isolation, you’re celebrating the release of Nelson Mandela after 27-years in jail and most of all you have the World Cup of a lifetime to look forward to. You’re back in 1990...
Ireland - World Cup ‘90
Ireland enjoyed a historic Italia ’90, reaching the Quarter Finals of their first ever World Cup competition.
Remarkably Jack Charlton’s men made it out of the group stages with three draws from three (including a 1-1 draw against England) and their incredible run to the last eight was no small part down to their ‘keeper Patrick Bonner.
The yellow Adidas number with the black folding collar and iconic three stripes was a thing of beauty. Its understated chevron pattern gives an uncompromising look into shirts of the late 80’s and mid 90’s before the more garish designs of the mid part of the decade took hold.
The orange, white and green circular emblem with the simple shamrock in the centre adds to the beautiful simplicity of the kit.
Fan issue shirts at the time, like with most Ireland replica shirts to this day, donned their main sponsor (Opel, which actually looked pretty good on the classic shirts), but we much prefer the classic worn by the Celtic legend Patrick Bonner.
David Seaman - QPR to Arsenal
In 1990 Peter Shilton had been England’s custodian in goal for two decades and his long-term successor was making a big move of his own.
David Seaman would feature as England’s first choice from the disastrous World Cup ’94 qualification campaign and would continue in that role post 2002 World Cup.
By 1990 Seaman had a handful of international caps to his name and had impressed under Trevor Francis at QPR
After four successful seasons with QPR, Seaman’s former coach and Arsenal double-winner, Bob Wilson, persuaded him to join Arsenal that summer.
In one of the most significant transfers of the year, Seaman would play every game for George Graham’s Arsenal as the Gunner’s regained the First Division title, with the pre-ponytailed Lancashire lad conceding just 18 goals over the season.
Seaman would remain at Highbury until the 2002/03 season, winning three league titles and four FA Cups in an immensely successful time at the club, and cementing himself as one of the greatest English goalkeepers of all time.
Sergio Goycochea V Brazil – World Cup 1990 Round of 16
Defending champions Argentina were of course heavily reliant on one Diego Maradona during their most successful spell from 1978-1990, and although El Diez did play a part in Argentina’s victory over Brazil in the last-sixteen of Italia ’90, it was defensive exploits on show at the now demolished Stadio delle Alpi in Turin.
Sergio Goycochea, who in fact started the tournament on the bench before Nery Pumpido broke his leg in a group game with the Soviet Union, was an unlikely hero throughout the tournament (named as the star goalkeeper of Italia ’90) and particularly in the Argies 1-0 victory over their old industry.
Maradona and co were incredibly quiet for the first 80 minutes in Turin, with a focus on Argentina’s backline, who would go onto concede just once on the road to the final against Germany.
The likes of Dunga, Careca and Valdo were left joyless as they peppered Goycochea’s goal to no avail with a mixture of some fantastic saves and the woodwork saving Argentine blushes. Sebastião Lazaroni’s men were punished on the counter in the 85th minute after a mazing run by Maradona, who squared to Claudio Caniggia to round the ‘keeper and slot into an empty net. Argentina were 1-0 victors
Goyocochea was hailed for keeping out a Brazilian side who won all three of the group games, including a stupendous save which tipped over an effort by Muller which was heading for the top corner (no pun intended).
Not only this but Goyocochea would be the hero with penalty shoot-out heroics against Yugoslavia and Italy to send Argentina to the final, where they lost 1-0 to West Germany.