A Safe Pair Of Hands


At the start of every single season I make sure I have the most important feature of my team nailed down. I sign a reliable and quality goalkeeper. Whether that be the same one as the previous season or a new keeper I am bringing in, I make it my number one priority.

There has been the odd occasion when I have found myself in the position of having two very good goalkeepers as part of my squad. This occurrence can have many plus points but also many negatives. Inevitably only one can play and the other one isn’t going to be happy if he isn’t.

So, I’ll make an attempt at what I think are the pros and cons of having two quality goalies in an amateur squad.


  • If one can’t play or gets injured then you have a genuine keeper to replace him
  • You can implement proper goalkeeping coaching at training and work on shooting drills, set pieces etc with the squad
  • It creates healthy competition
  • If your number 1 hits bad form he can be replaced
  • It creates a more professional looking setup
  • Warmups will be structured preventing an outfield sub smashing balls at your goalie


  • Can disrupt morale if one is annoyed at not playing
  • Uses an outfield substitute place in the squad
  • Rotation could result in losing both as they both want to play every game
  • It’s very difficult to keep two keepers happy
  • They end up jealous or resent each other
  • Both may feel under pressure which could lead to mistakes
  • All keepers are bona fide nutcases (I jest)

My experience of goalkeepers tells me that they are a completely different animal altogether when compared to outfield players. I have always found it extremely difficult to have two of them on the books at one time. I have tried various methods with little success. I figured that if I had a number 1 for league games then I would use my other goalie for cup games. Good idea in theory however as we are all aware amateur football and fixture arrangements don’t quite work the way we would like. One season I found myself in the situation of naming a number 1 after per season was over. I promised the number 2 he would play in every cup game regardless of significance. As it turned out we played a load of cup section games at the start of the season as well as early rounds of our domestic league cups. By the time the league games came around my number 1 had received an offer from elsewhere with the promise of being number 1 and he asked to be released leaving me with a slightly inferior goalkeeper to complete the season with.

Another similar occasion saw my team exit all of he cups in the early rounds leaving my number 2 in the knowledge that he probably wouldn’t play again that season. He also asked to move elsewhere.

I’ve also found that it’s a position where the players usually have high opinions of themselves. It doesn’t sit right with their ego to be sat on a bench every week. A goalkeeper will believe he is better than who is playing in front of him and I do like that attitude, I like a bit of arrogance in a player but that is why it’s so difficult to keep them happy. It’s also hard to pinpoint poor form from a keeper unless he has some blatant clangers. If a striker doesn’t score goals he will know why he’s dropped. If a centre half keeps getting beat with a ball over the top he will also know why he’s dropped but keepers have so many get outs. They can blame the defence for leaving them exposed, they can blame the surface, the sun in their eyes, couldn’t see the ball through a wall of bodies. The list goes on, keepers can get away with murder which makes your decision even harder.

I suppose it comes down to man management at the end of the day. Usually with outfield players this is a strong point for me and I am good with getting people the right game time or showing unhappy players why they aren’t playing and helping them improve to rectify this but I can never seem to replicate it with goalies. It might just be the fact that it’s a position that is very rarely changed during a match unless their is an injury meaning it is likely a sub keeper will be an observer only. Then the only opportunity they get to showcase their form is at training and if the number 1 played well on the Saturday then they are only really making the numbers up.

Most of my many seasons have seen me find a reliable robust keeper and then just stick with him for the whole year. If occasions have arisen when he couldn’t play then one of the boys have stepped up to don the gloves. It’s not ideal but it has got us by with some medals along the way. Having two to choose from is a luxury and if they are both happy then even better but for me it’s just never worked out that way. Personally I’d rather the stress of finding a keeper in the unlikely event that mines can’t play in the game. Having two of the nutters to deal with is just too much hassle for me.

Trust in your hands

The Gaffer


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