As his playing days wound down at Arsenal, many a Gunners fan fully expected David Seaman to take over from his long time mentor Bob Wilson as the club’s goalkeeping coach. After 13 years minding the Arsenal net under the watchful eye of 1971 Double winning ‘keeper Wilson, it seemed natural that ‘Safe Hands’ would make the transition from goalkeeping legend to goalkeeper coach.
In an exclusive interview with Arseblog News, Seaman admits that he did get the phone call from Arsenal shortly after the 2003 FA Cup Final. The Yorkshireman captained the Gunners to FA Cup glory in Cardiff in his final game for the club, making a memorable stoppage time save from Brett Ormerod to preserve the slender 1-0 advantage.
Seaman takes up the story, “I did get the offer after my last game, the 2003 FA Cup Final. I went on holiday to Portugal and I got a phone call from Arsene. I was offered number 3 goalkeeper and a coaching position. But it would have been a 75% wage drop, so I didn’t take it. Arsene knew that I felt I could play for another year too, I had clubs that were after me.
“I told Arsene, ‘you know what I want to do, I want to play’ and Arsene said that he totally respected whatever decision I made. So that was the closest I came to doing it. I did go back to do a bit of mentoring when Tony Roberts was there with the youth team goalkeepers, but it was a bit embarrassing when the first team goalkeepers came over and I thought, “nope, I’m going home!”
Seaman finished his Arsenal career in style, hoisting the FA Cup aloft at the Millennium Stadium. Club captain Patrick Vieira was injured for the game and David recalls that he had his work cut out convincing the Frenchman to lift the trophy with him. “I told him, ‘we’re lifting it together!’ and he wasn’t having it,” he remembers with his irreverent chuckle.
“But I said to him ‘if you don’t come and lift it with me, I ain’t lifting it either!’ and that convinced him in the end, so we lifted the cup together. It was a great day and a wonderful way to finish off my time at Arsenal.”
David spoke to Arseblog News ahead of the Arsenal Legends match against their Real Madrid counterparts at the Emirates on 8 September.
All proceeds from September’s match will help The Arsenal Foundation and Save The Children provide specially-devised coaching programmes to help build the physical and mental resilience of vulnerable children in the slum communities of Indonesia and Syrian refugee children in Jordan.
Tickets for the Legends showdown are still available and available from £20. It’s a great day out, particularly if you’re looking to introduce kids of your own to football. Book tickets here.