Goalkeepers Are Different

Everything you've ever wanted to know about
goalkeepers and a little bit more

Politically Speaking

Sport and politics should never mix... Or so the saying goes. But when it comes to goalkeepers, life is never that simple and having bossed around their respective defences for nigh on twenty years, many feel the need to enter the political life in order fill the void of telling people what to do and where to stand. Others, however, became victims due to their outspoken views and political opinions.

Divided Loyalties

Life in Spain during the Civil War was never going to be easy for Ricardo Zamora. The legendary goalkeeper's allegiances with always a matter of great controversy and his playing career gave no indication of which side he was on. As a result, both sides tried to exploit his standing for their own benefit. Despite being awarded the Order of the Republic medal by the president of the Second Spanish Republic in 1934, Zamora was imprisoned by Republican militia during the war after the Nationalists made the most of a rumour that the goalkeeper had been shot and killed in 1936. He managed to avoid being executed due to his willingness to play football with his guards and he was eventually released with a little help from the Argentinian Embassy. He later returned to Spain and muddied the waters further by playing in a benefit game for Nationalist solders before eventually being awarded the Great Cross of the Order of Cisneros by Franco. Which side was he on? You decide!

A Spaceman Came Travelling

Former Coventry City goalkeeper, sports presenter and self-proclaimed saviour of mankind David Icke was a Green Party spokesman before he had a visit from the spirit world, which taught him that earth was secretly ruled by reptilian humanoids from the constellation Draco. Unsurprisingly, they disowned him.

A Cultured Man

After retiring from the professional game, former East German international Jurgen Croy became City Commissioner for Education, Culture and Sports in his hometown of Zwickau, remaining in the post for ten years.

A Cambridge blue

Not content with representing Cambridge University at football, England international John Frederick Peel Rawlinson later went on to become the University's Member of Parliament in 1906 - yes, they used to have their own MPs - and remained in office until 1923.

A Soldier's Tale

General Guillermo Suárez Masón, who was part of Argentina's military junta that ruled the country from 1976 to 1983, once played in goal for Argentinos Juniors' youth side. He was later charged with 430 disappearances and 39 murders following the regime's collapse after the Falklands Conflict.

Officer in Charge

Charles Charsley, the Small Heath goalkeeper who later went on to become Chief Constable of Coventry, also held the position of Deputy Mayor of Weston-Super-Mare from 1939 to 1940.

Active on Two Fronts

When not keeping goal for FK Sarajevo, Bosnian international Muhamed Alaim keeps himself busy by immersing himself in the local political scene and is an active member of the Party of Democratic Action.

Making Enemies

Portuguese goalkeeper Carlos António Gomes ended up in exile after becoming an outspoken critic of Portugal's fascist regime in the 1960s. The former international and first-choice keeper for Sporting Lisbon had enjoyed a successful career before allegations of rape, instigated by the political police of the regime, forced him to flee to Spain.

Keeper on the Right Wing

In September 2008, Italian international Christian Abbiati decided to break his silence about his political beliefs and declared that he was a fascist, stating "I am not ashamed to proclaim my political beliefs. I share [the] ideals of fascism, such as the fatherland and the values of the Catholic religion."

Put on the Spot

Dragan PantelicIn 2001, former Yugoslavian international Dragan Pantelic, who scored over 25 career goals from the penalty spot, became a deputy in the Serbian National Assembly.

Prime Mover

He may have kept goal for the Faroe Islands but that wasn't enough for Kaj Leo Johannesen, who decided he wanted to save the entire country. Having served on the City Council of Tórshavn, he went on to become the country's prime minister, representing the Faroese Unionist Party (Sambandsflokkurin), taking office on 26 September, 2008.

Keeping his Council

After hanging up his gloves, former Burnley goalkeeper Albert Sanderson entered the world of local politics and enjoyed a thirty-year stint as a Labour councillor in Rochdale. First elected in the 1960s, the highlight of his political career came in 1983 when he became Mayor of the borough, holding the position until the following year.

Pyramid Schemer

Ahmed Shobair, who was part of Egypt's 1990 World Cup squad, served a term in the Egyptian Parliament from 2005 until 2010, representing the city of Tanta. He was also a member of the ruling National Democratic Party that was dissolved following the Arab Uprising in 2011 that toppled Egypt's dictator President Hosni Mubarak.

Keeper of the Opposition

In November 2004 Former Iran international Nasser Hejazi, who kept goal against Scotland in the 1978 World Cup Finals, announced his intention to stand for the Iranian presidential election the following year but his nomination was rejected by the Guardian Council of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Iran. Officially, his application was rejected on the grounds that he did not possess the necessary experience to run for office but rumour has it that he was seen as a realistic threat to the ruling party, such was his popularity in the country. Hejazi remained an outspoke supporter of the Iranian government and was banned by Iranian Television Network after speaking out against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, although his continued popularity saw this decision revoked soon after.

Pole Position

Former Poland goalkeeper Jan Tomaszewski, the player who kept England at bay at Wembley in 1973, was elected to the Polish parliament in November 2011, representing the right-wing conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party.

Triple Whammy

Italy's Stefano Tacconi made several ill-fated attempts at running for office after hanging up his gloves. In 1999 the former Juventus and Genoa keeper was on Alleanza Nazionale's lists for the European parliamentary elections, but failed to earn a seat. In 2005 he attempted to run for the president of Lombardy, opting to represent Nuovo MSI - an extreme right-wing party - but failed to secure enough support of validate his candidacy before trying his luck a third time and running for council in the city of Milan the following year. However, three did not prove to be a charm as he only gained 57 votes and failed once again to get elected.

Connect Four

Following a successful 15-year career with Atlético Mineiro, Olavo Leite de Bastos, who was better known by the nickname Kafunga, served as an alderman and deputy for four legislatures in the municipality of Belo Horizonte in Brazil.

Second Choice Goalie

Italian international Giovanni Galli, who played for a string of Serie A clubs including Fiorentina, Milan and Napoli during his career, ran for Mayor in Florence as the centre-right candidate under the patronage of Silvio Berlusconi in March 2009 but was defeated by his centre-left opponent after taking only 40% of the local vote.

Taking a stand

The turmoil and on-going political situation in Ukraine has led to many footballers speaking out in support of the Euromaidan protests. One of the first was Dynamo Kiev goalkeeper Oleksandr Shovkovsky, who used his Facebook page to make his feelings known. The keeper not only attended the protests but also offered support to an injured protestor and, following the impeachment of President Viktor Yanukovych, led the call for deputies of the Ukrainian parliament to lose their immunity to prosecution. He was later elected to Kyiv's City Council.

Degrees of Interest

Liverpool and Belgium goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has a degree in Political Science, specialising in 20th Century Socialism, however the former Sunderland keeper, who completed his studies in 2013, says he has no intention of entering the political arena once his playing career is over.

Another Liverpool keeper to study a degree in Political Science was Danish stopper Jørgen Nielsen, who never actually made an appearance during his time at Anfield. Nielsen, who later played for Frem and Farum BK, put his career on hiatus in 2007 to complete his studies.

I Want to Ride My Bicycle

After retiring from football, former Druids and Wales international goalkeeper Harry Adams became a member of the National Conservative League's Cyclist Corps, an organisation that help organise hustings and polling stations at elections until the 1906 General Election in the United Kingdom.

Career Council-ed...

Dennis Herod, who played over 200 times for Stoke City after the end of World War Two, joined the Conservative party following his retirement and stood for election to his local council. However, he was unsuccessful in his bid to carve a career in politics after he failed to poll enough votes.

School for Thought

Former Blackburn Rovers and Leicester Fosse goalkeeper Charles Saer retained his political leanings after retiring from football. Having serves as the first President of the Professional Footballers Association, he went onto become Mayor of Fleetwood in later life, combing the role with that of a teacher in the local education system. He later had a primary school named after him.

Starting Them Young

North West Counties League club Barnoldswick Town`s goalkeeper Lyle Davy became the youngest Councillor in the UK in 2014 when he won a seat in Pendle for the Conservative party at the tender age of 18. Davy overturned a majority of 365 to win by just 49 votes.

Marching on Together

While Sweden were taking part in the 1978 World Cup in Argentina, goalkeeper Ronnie Hellström, together with teammates Roy Andersson and Roland Andersson, took part in the demonstrations of the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo in front of Casa Rosada to raise awareness for the "disappeared" during the military dictatorship that held power between 1976 and 1983.

Follow that Kamel

Mustafa Kamel Mansour, who kept for Egypt in the 1934 World Cup Finals, became an football administrator following the end of his career, which included a spell with Queen's Park. Having served as Secretary General in the Confederation of African Football from 1958 to 1961, he later became a Cabinet Minister in the Egyptian Government.

Keeping it local

Having enjoyed a career in the Football League with Bristol City after the First World War, goalkeeper Frank Vallis served as chairman of his local parish council in Somerset.

Misplaced Sympathies

Dutch goalkeeper Gejus van der Meulen was one of the most popular sporting figures in the Netherlands before the war, having kept goal in two Olympic tournaments and the 1934 World Cup Finals. He enjoyed a long career with Koninklijke HFC but fell from grace after joining the National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands party, who collaborated with the Nazis throughout Second World War. He later joined the SS, becoming a prominent doctor within the organisation, but was arrested four days after the country was liberated at the end of the war. He was sentenced to eight years in prison but received a pardon in 1949. However, on his release, he found himself ostracised from both the football and medical worlds and was shunned by his former club.

A Conservative Keeper

Celtic goalkeeper Ronnie Simpson, who famously kept goal when the Hoops won the European Cup in 1967, somewhat surprisingly became a Conservative councillor in the Corstorphine ward of Edinburgh after retiring from football, remaing in the post for much of the 1970s.

Temporary Fixture

Peru international goalkeeper George Forsyth became the temporary mayor of the district of La Victoria in Lima in September 2014 while still performing his custodian duties for Peruvian team Alianza Lima at the age of 32.

Viva El Presidente

The 73rd President of Bolivia, Jaime Paz Zamora, financed his studies in the Belgium city of Leuven by keeping goal for the local football team.

Fanfare of the Roscommon Man

Former Athlone Town and Roscommon GAA goalkeeper Shane Curran ran in the 2016 Irish General Election in 2016 in Roscommon-Galway, representing Fianna Fáil. He finished a distant sixth out of a possible twelve candidates.

United We Stand

Australian goalkeeper Scott Higgins, who enjoyed a spell during his career in Scotland with Falkirk, had an unsuccessful stab at a political career Down Under after hanging up his gloves. He stood as a candidate for the Palmer United Party during the 2013 federal election, seeking to represent Queensland in the Australian Senate.

Standing Defiant

Jack Kirby was a goalkeeper of such political conviction that he refused to give the Nazi salute before each game of Derby County's tour of Germany in 1934, despite overwhelming pressure from German authorities and club officials alike. Kirby was the only member of the Rams side not to acquiesce to the Nazis' demand.

Thwarted Ambitions

Andrian Bogdan, who was capped on by Moldova in 2003, stood as a candidate in the 2014 Moldovan parliamentary elections representing the Patria (Homeland) party. However, the party were eventually forced to withdraw from the election after it was discovered their campaign was part-funded by foreign backers.

Shooting at the Deputy

Former Atlético Mineiro and Brazil goalkeeper João Leite is a member of the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the National Congress of Brazil, and the state deputy of Minas Gerais.

Teachers' Pet

Paraguay's José Luis Chilavert refused to take part in the 1999 Copa America tournament that was held in the goalkeeper's home country, in protest over the amount of state funding the competition was due to receive and the alleged incompetence of local officials. Chilavert argued that the money would be better spent on Paraguay's education system rather than football. A strong critic of many of the country's politicians, who he believed were responsible for the poverty suffered by many Paraguayans, Chilavert often threatened to run for President so he could "enforce his own brand of law and order".

Logan's Run

Royal Excel Mouscron goalkeeper Logan Bailly, who can also count Genk, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Celtic among his former clubs, has moved into politics in Belgium, joining the centre-right party Mouvement Reformateur. He is one of the list of candidates standing for election to the Mouscron city council.

Democracy in Action

Democratic Republic of Congo goalkeeper Robert Kidiaba took a political stand with TP Mazembe teammate Jean Kasusula in 2015, repersenting the National Party for Democracy and Development in local elections in Katanga's provincial capital Lubumbashi. In January 2019, Kidiaba was elected Member of Parliament for Upper Katanga in Lubumbashi City.

All-American Keeper

Daniel Needham is not a well-known name in football circles, but prior to World War One he kept goal for Harvard Crimson men's soccer team and was named All-American in 1912. A qualified lawyer, he later entered politics after being appointed Public Safety Office in Massachusetts and in 1950 stood as a Republican candidate for Governor of Massachusetts, where he finished fourth in a six-candidate primary.

Mammy's Boy

UCD goalkeeper Conor Kearns was part of mum Pamela's canvassing team during Dublin's local council elections in May 2019 and helped plaster the constituency of Templeogue-Rathfarnham with posters in suppport of the Labour Party candidate.

Jim Platt

Local Hero

Former Middlesbrough and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Jim Platt was elected onto Middlesbrough's County Council in May 2019, having stood as an independent candidate in the Kader ward of the town. Unsurprisingly, the local press couldn't help but inform local residents that they were now in 'safe hands'.

From Penalty Box to Ballot Box

Ex-Ecuador international José Francisco Cevallos was appointed Minister of Sports for the South American country in May 2011, succeeding Sandra Vela. Cevallos, who was arguably Ecuador's greatest goalkeeper and once voted South American Goalkeeper of the Year by the newspaper El País, was appointed just a week after he hung up his goalkeeper gloves for good.

Poll Axed

Levante goalkeeper Aitor Fernandez's position between the sticks for a match against Athletic Bilbao was thrown into doubt after he was called up to work at a polling station in Spain's general election on the morning of a match in November 2019. Fernandez was named on a reserve list to attend the polling station in his hometown of Mondragon and Levante's initial appeal was rejected by the local electoral commission, throwing doubt on Fernandez's selection for the match.

I'm Stillie Standing...

Former Dunfermline Athletic, Dundee United, Wigan Athletic and Gillingham goalkeeper Derek Stillie was selected as the Scottish Conservative candidate for the Central Ayrshire constituency for the 2019 UK General Election. After hanging up his gloves, Stillie pursued a career in English law before turning his hand to politics.

Party Activist

Matt Baker, who kept goal for Hereford United, Wrexham and MK Dons among others, is an active member of the Conservative party in Yorkshire, having been involved in a number of Tory campaign teams in the region, and stood for election to Leeds Council in 2010 but didn't win.

The Forsyth Saga

George Forsyth, who despite the Anglican name kept goal for Peru seven times and enjoyed a successful career with Alianza Lima, entered the political arena in 2018, two years after hanging up his gloves. He was elected mayor of the La Victoria District in Lima at the first time of asking with nearly 35% of the vote, representing the We Are Peru party.

Best Laid Plans...

Ray Middleton became an active member of his local Labour Party during his time with Chesterfield and Derby County after the Second World War. However, his plans to stand as a candidate in the 1954 Chesterfield borough elections were scuppered when he was released by Derby following relegation and moved on a free transfer to Boston United, where he was offered the job of player/manager.

Second Best

Indian goalkeeper Kalyan Chaubey, who enjoyed spells with East Bengal and Salagaocar, was selected by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as their candidate for the Krishnanagar constituency to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha election but he his political career fail to get off to a winning start as he finished second to his rival from the All India Trinamool Congress party.

Leaving Do

England goalkeeper Peter Shilton nailed his political colours to the mast following the UK referendum on whether or not to leave the EU and became an ardent supporter of Brexit. So much so in fact that one political magazine named in 'Brexiteer of the Week' following a very public spat on social media with his former England roommate and colleague Gary Lineker, who was very much in the Remain camp. Shilton continues to share his political views with his followers on Twitter and has also been vocal in his support of British PM Boris Johnson during the COVID-19 crisis.

Cold Wind in August

Estonian international August Lass, who won 21 caps and appeared in the 1924 Olympics, was arrested by the Soviet authorities in April 1941 and was deported to Siberia for perceived crimes against the State.

Children's Party

Serbian goalkeeper Janko Langura went into politics after his career between the sticks stalled in 2019, becoming a member of the country's Progressive Party, and was later elected in the 2020 parliamentary elections after his party enjoyed a landslide victory as part of the For Our Children coalition.

A Political Strand

Norwegian goalkeeper Morten Strand, who enjoyed spells with Stabæk and Strømsgodset during his career, became mayor of the Asker municipality 1995 and held the position for twelve years, having first been elected to the municipal council in 1983. The former goalkeeper also served as a deputy representative to the Norwegian Parliament from Akershus twice.

Steel City Servant

Harry Walker Chambers was quite an influential figure in the early days of association football in England, having served as secretary of Sheffield Football Club from 1866 to 1876 before becoming the first President of the Sheffield FA in 1867. Something of an all-rounder, his favoured position was in goal and he was between the sticks when Wanderers lost 6-0 at Hampden Park against Queen's Park in 1875. However, in later life he also served on Sheffield City Council for fifteen years, having being elected in 1890.

Adopting an Opinion

Hungarian goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi took to social media at the beginning of 2021 to condemn a law in his native country that effectively bans LGBT couples from adopting children. Using the hashtag #acsaládazcsalád (#familyisfamily), the RB Leipzig custodian posted a picture of himself and his wife on Facebook and commented "Everyone has the right to equality" to declare his support for Hungary's gay community, generating over 50,000 reactions. However, while some voiced their support for the goalkeeper, others expressed their disappointment and urged him to refrain from commenting on political issues.

Three-Fingered Salute

Myanmar goalkeeper Pyae Lyan Aung opted not to return home with his teammates after a match against Japan in June 2021, fearing his life was in danger after he staged a political protest against the military coup that had taken place in the country that ousted the democratically elected government led by civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi. As the national anthems were played prior to kick-off, Pyae Lyan Aung raised three fingers of his right hand with "WE NEED JUSTICE" written on them in English. Footage of the goalkeepers actions went viral on social media, leading to him to seek political asylum in Japan as a result.

Belfast Bhoy

Before the Easter Uprising and a subsequent career in politics, Republican Oscar Traynor was a goalkeeper, enjoying a spell with Belfast Celtic between 1910 to 1912 and going on a European tour with the club. He would later hold the positions of Minister for Justice, Minister for Defence and Minister for Posts and Telegraphs within the Irish government and would serve as President of the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) from 1948 until 1963.

Political Saviour

Edinburgh-born Albert Thomas Alsbury, who kept goal for Vancouver St. Saviours in the Pacific Coast League for over ten years before the Second World War, later became Mayor of the city of Vancouver, holding office for three years before leaving to become a lecturer at the University of British Columbia in 1962.

Ready Brekk

Norwegian politician Lars Peder Brekk, who has held the positions of Minister of Fisheries and Minister of Agriculture and Food in Norway, kept goal for Stabæk between 1979 and 1981.

A Not So Popular Choice

Former Colo-Colo goalkeeper Daniel Morón turned his hand to politics after retiring from football and was hopeful of being elected in Chile's municipal elections in 2016. A popular figure in the community of Frutillar, his candidacy was endorsed by the Partido por la Democracia (PPD), who fully expected the Argentine-born goalkeeper to triumph, but he only polled 31 votes, equalling roughly 0.39% of the turnout.

Jersey Boy

Former United States goalkeeper Albert Cooper entered politics after his sporting career came to an end and after serving as Sheriff of Mercer County in New Jersey, he was stood as a Democrat candidate for the New Jersey General Assembly and was duly elected.

A Right Move

Muhamed Alaim, who was capped for Bosnia & Herzegovina in 2007, became active in politics following his retirement from football and became a member of the centre right Party of Democratic Action (SDA) in his homeland.

Go West

In July 2009, Cuba international keeper Dany Luis Quintero disappeared from a German airport after a friendly match against SC Freiburg, deciding to defect to the West. After spending time in Switzerland and Portugal, he returned to Germany and was granted political refugee status, later resurrecting his career in the lower leagues.

Mr. Bodø

Former FK Bodø/Glimt goalkeeper Oddleif Olavsen entered the political arena on retiring from football. A member of the Norwegian Conservative Party, he served as mayor of Bodø from 1995 to 1999 and was part of the Nordland County Council from 2003 to 2007.

I Have A Dream

Former Dinamo Tbilisi and Georgia goalkeeper Aslan Baladze turned to politics in 2021 after deciding he'd had enough of football management. Baladze, who also played over 250 times for Dinamo Batumi, was elected to the Batumi City Assembly in 2021 and is a member of the Georgian Dream party.

Bound for the Rio Grande

Danrlei de Deus Hinterholz, who was better known as Danrlei during his playing days that included seven appearances in gaol for the Brazil national side in 1995, became Federal deputy for the state of Rio Grande do Sul in his homeland in 2011.

Separate Ways

José Ángel Iribar was heavily involved in the Basque separatist movement both during and after his career, which saw him become Spain's most capped international. In December 1976, he carried the Basque flag onto the pitch with his opposite number Inaxio Kortabarria prior to a game between Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad, an action deemed illegal at time. He later became involved in the politics and was a founding memember of the independentist and political arm of ETA terrorist group coalition Herri Batasuna.

His Country's Number One

Argentina President Javier Milei was a goalkeeper as a teenager with Chacarita Juniors and made the first team squad before giving up a career in football in favour for one in economics then turning his hand to politics.

Dragon's Den

Former White House Deputy Press Secretary and Special Assistant to the President Lindsay Walters was part of her college's football squad and back-up goalkeeper for the delightfully-named Drexel Dragons.