All goalkeepers are crazy.
It's a saying that has been bandied around the football world for quite some time, but there is some substance to it. Who would want to be a goalkeeper? You have to sacrifice your body by hurling yourself around a goal-mouth trying to stop a ball, you get little recognition when you do your job but are the centre of attention when you make a mess of it, and even if you are the best goalkeeper in the world you can still lose badly if those in front of you are crap.
Sunday League keepers are the craziest of all, because they do it not for the glory, or the money, but because they like it.
Anyone who has played or even watched Sunday League football will be able to identify with a few of these, so here are the seven types of Sunday League goalkeeper.
Mr.All Gear, No Ability
This chap looks the part. Your initial reaction upon seeing him between the sticks is "He might be decent", as he's just spent €75 on the latest in Reusch's finger-roll technology gloves to go with his padded trousers, neck warmer, and goalkeeper top with #1 on the back. You soon realise, after the first cross is put into his box, that he has absolutely no talent, and merely plays the position because he made a lucky save on the playground when he was eight years old and decided that he was Peter Schmeichel.
If you're not sure if you've seen this keeper before, here:
Now you have.
The No Hoper
This poor lad was just hanging out with one of the guys on your football team and had nothing better to do so he decided he would come down to the park and watch, but unfortunately for him, you only had 10 players show up and need a keeper. Now, jeans and all, he has the responsibility of keeping your side in the game despite the fact that he has never kicked a ball before, and has no idea that everyone on your team will irrationally hate him for the rest of his life. You would have been better off with a traffic cone between the sticks.
The Surprise Package
The exact opposite of 'the no hoper', the surprise package is a lad who shows up in a hoody and tracksuit bottoms, without a pair of gloves, and is often tested with a shot directly from kick-off. Bad news, as this kid must have had big brothers who pelted footballs at him all day, because his reflexes are cat-like and he will pull off a string of amazing saves despite sticking to his line like he thinks he's not allowed to leave it.
The Lad Who Had Trials'
The cream of the crop. The biggest nightmare of Sunday League strikers is the lad who had trials. This guy isn't the same as Mr.All Gear, No Ability, because he is wearing a Blackburn training kit with his initials on it, or some high squad number, having actually spent two weeks with the Lancashire club. The type of player who makes you wonder just how good professional goalkeepers must be as he tips close range headers over the bar, saves a penalty, and claims two assists in a 2-0 win with pinpoint accurate kicks out of hand.
Inspired by Jason Statham's iconic performance in 'Mean Machine', The Monk is an absolute nutter. If an altercation follows a tough challenge near the opposition's corner flag, The Monk is somehow always the first one on the scene. He comes for crosses not to claim the ball, but as an excuse to punch an opponent in the face, and absolutely relishes 1v1s as an opportunity to end someone's Sunday League career. The Monk gets high on danger, constantly taking one more touch before clearing the ball and rushing out to head through balls like a drunk Manuel Neuer. He needs no invitation to come up for a corner if his team are down by a goal... Or even if the scores are level, and who's going to argue with him?
The Last One To Say "Not In"
Easily identifiable by having the same shorts and socks as all of the outfield players, this guy didn't have the quick reactions to to rule him out of the in-enviable task of donning the old Argos "Christmas stocking" goalkeeper gloves found at the bottom of someone's gym bag. He's not as bad as the no hoper, but he's slow off his line and he hates himself a lot more when he makes a mistake.
By far the most annoying of these goalkeepers for the neutral, this blabber-mouth feels the need to shout at the top of his lungs at everything that happens in the match. "Man on!", "Keep it tight!", and "Show for him!" are some of the most commonly bellowed clichés that go ignored by everyone involved in the match, but as you can hear this bloke two pitches over that becomes difficult for everyone else.