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Albion 8: Gentlemen, bring your gloves

1 December 2015

Glovemen who you probably forgot about

TUESDAY means Albion 8 - your weekly menu of Albion-related nonsense, trivia and barstool chit chat.

This week we're slipping on our gloves and talking goalkeepers - but not just any old No1s. Oh no. We're talking goalkeepers you won't necessarily remember. All of these guys played fewer than 12 League games for the club. Some didn't play at all. They came, barely appeared and, in one or two cases, they merely popped by or simply got away. And, while we're at it, let's raise a glass to our former gloveman Ryan Allsop, who made his Premier League debut (for Bournemouth) on Saturday.

Anyway, back to our guys: so, in no particular order...

Ivan Katalinic (1979)
Freedom of contract was an annoying concept from Albion's point of view. Not only did we lose Len Cantello to Bolton through the newly-installed rule allowing footballers to walk away in the late 1970s, but we also had a slight issue over goalkeeper Tony Godden who was struggling to agree a new deal with Albion. Rest easy. Ron Atkinson invited over Ivan Katalinic for a trial. The 28-year-old had already been capped 13 times but had his spell with Hadjuk Split cut short by national service. Katalinic played for Albion in the Centenary game against Ajax...but Albion opted out. Godden? Oh, he signed his contract pretty sharpish.

Simon Miotto (2004-05)
Albion's first-ever, and only, Italian-Tasmanian was brought in by Gary Megson during his promotion push of 2004 as a back up for Russell Hoult, Joe Murphy and later Tomasz Kuszczak. Intelligent and witty, Miotto - no more than a journeyman footballer who played for Blackpool, Scunthorpe, Raith and St Johnstone -  never kicked a ball in first-team anger for Albion but appreciated his place in the squad: a back-up, who was brought in to help the other keepers raise their game and bring bonhomie to the dressing room. "I will never forget what he (Megson) did for me...I was a schoolteacher from Tasmania who took up goakkeeping. A million and one people had better careers but not all are as satisfied with their career as I was with mine." Amen.

Michal Danek (2008)
That bloke you don't quite recognise on the 2008 promotion-winning photos...yes, him. In fact Danek was the stand-in goalkeeper during our brilliant title-winning campaign under Tony Mowbray. Understudy to Dean Kiely, the Czech goalkeeper was never needed. Joining on loan from Viktoria Plzen, in essence, being sat on the bench was the nearest he ever got to first team football. 

Chris Adamson (1997-2003)
Generally No2 to Alan Miller, Brian Jensen and, later, Russell Hoult, Adamson's big chance came during the late 1990s. Making his debut in a 2-1 defeat against Stockport in 1998, he went onto make 11 more League appearances for the Club but he never really convinced his managers. The final hurrah in the League was a 3-0 home defeat to Birmingham City - coming just two weeks after a 6-0 reversal at Sheffield United. In his dozen League outings, Albion won just once.

Joe Murphy (2002-2005)
If you're going to make a debut, then best do so by making an impression. Which is exactly what Murphy did when he replaced a red-carded Russell Hoult at Anfield in 2002 and facing a Michael Owen penalty. He saved it. Sadly, Albion were to lose 2-0. In total he made six League appearances for us, three as a substitute: surely, some sort of record...? Spells at Walsall, Sunderland, Scunthorpe and Huddersfield followed.

David Stewart  (1978-1979)
Stewart must have thought he'd arrived when he was brought to the Hawthorns following a six-year spell at an ailing Leeds United, mainly as deputy to David Harvey. Not quite. The Scotland international failed to dislodge Tony Godden and, other than a pained expression on that year's team photo, got nowhere near making any imprint on the Albion cribsheet. A move to Swansea swiftly followed. Ps. It's not the guy from the Eurythmics.

Luke Daniels (2004-2015)
Eleven seasons, 11 minutes of first-team football for Daniels. The ultimate sacrifice in being a No3 goalkeeper for a football club. Daniels spent more than a decade at The Hawthorns after leaving Manchester United but Albion's extended status in the top flight meant more experienced keepers generally kept him pegged down. His big chance came with an impressive cameo for Ben Foster towards the end of the 0-0 draw at Everton at the start of the 2013/14 season. It was his only outing for the Club and ended the longest wait of any Albion player for his first-team League debut.

Bruce Grobbelaar (1979)
Yes, the very same Bruce Grobbelaar. The Vancouver Whitecaps goalkeeper - who served with the Rhodesian army and was apparently on first-name terms with Bob Marley - was visiting friends and family when Ron Atkinson asked him to pop along for a trial with Albion in 1979. Big Ron was very keen on bringing Grobbelaar to the Hawthorns only for work permit issues to ruin the deal. Somehow, Crewe Alexandra had no such problems with red-tape. He was to play 20-odd times for the Alex' before being spotted by Liverpool and becoming an eventual replacement for Ray Clemence in 1981. He spent 13 years playing for Liverpool, winning pots and pans both domestically and overseas. As for Albion during that 1981-94 period...ok, point taken.

See you next week.

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