The goalkeeper is the only man on a football pitch who is effectively in isolation. He is part of a team that is a unit of one. He has no fallback or accomplice to help keep his record intact. This is probably why a lot of them are considered odd.
Beyond character much is made of height. There is no doubt that this plays a part in the success of a keeper, but we are sure that it is not the only component. Daryl Flahavan has been ridiculed by some of the fans, and even Nobby Solano made a comment, for being a mere 5ft 11in, a height considered short for a goalkeeper.
So, we decided to check out the height of every other keeper in League One and see how important it really is. The list has ordered by height rather than league position to give a better representation of the issue. Top of the table is Charlton keeper Ben Hamer at 6ft 4in, who at the time of writing were top of the league. But, sitting alongside him is Lenny Pidgeley, same height, different end of the table. Bottom of the table Orient have a 6ft keeper in Ben Alnwick, but so do play-off hopefuls Brentford in Richard Lee. Check the list for more comparisons.
CHARLTON ATHLETIC | Ben Hamer | 6ft 4in
EXETER | Lenny Pidgeley | 6ft 4in
PRESTON NORTH END | Iain Turner | 6ft 4in
HARTLEPOOL | Scott Flinders | 6ft 4in
CARLISLE | Adam Collin | 6ft 4in
TRANMERE | Owain Fon Williams | 6ft 4in
OLDHAM | Alex Cisak | 6ft 4in
ROCHDALE | Jake Kean | 6ft 4in
SHEFFIELD WED | Nicky Weaver | 6ft 3in
SHEFFIELD UTD | Steve Simonsen | 6ft 2in
STEVENAGE | Alan Julian | 6ft 2in
MK DONS | David Martin | 6ft 2in
YEOVIL | Jed Steer | 6ft 2in
CHESTERFIELD | Tommy Lee | 6ft 2in
WYCOMBE | Nikki Bull | 6ft 2in
NOTTS COUNTY | Stuart Nelson | 6ft 1in
ORIENT | Ben Alnwick | 6ft 0in
BRENTFORD | Richard Lee | 6ft 0in
HUDDERSFIELD | Ian Bennett | 6ft 0in
COLCHESTER | Ben Williams | 6ft 0in
BURY | Trevor Carson | 6ft 0in
AFC BOURNEMOUTH | Daryl Flahavan | 5ft 11in
WALSALL | Jimmy Walker | 5ft 11in
SCUNTHORPE | Sam Johnstone | Unknown
So, what does this prove? Very little in truth, but the height of a goalkeeper is only one very small, sorry for the pun, factor in the make up of a professional shot-stopper. Positioning, kicking, reaction times, self-belief and a big mouth are all as important if not more important than the mere physical presence of the man between the sticks.