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So Good They Named A Beer After Him: Our Interview With Mart Poom

That Pareiko is a lucky guy being coached by the legend that is The Poominator!
That Pareiko is a lucky guy being coached by the legend that is The Poominator!

Remember what I said about getting hold of the very best interviews out there for your viewing pleasure? Well, as I'm sure you are already aware thanks to the title of this article, we've only gone and got a proper Sunderland legend for you this time in the shape of Estonian stopper, Mr Mart Poom.

The modern football fan that can say that they have seen their goalkeeper score is slim in number. Most of us will remember when Jimmy Glass scored for Carlisle in 1999 to keep them in the league, but I'm guessing that if you are reading this, you don't support Carlisle. Other goals that spring to mind are Paul Robinson scoring with a free kick which travelled the full length of the field and cleared Ben Foster's head, and I'm pretty sure that Manchester United fans would tell me that Peter Schmeichel scored at some point.

The thing that sets up apart as Sunderland fans however is that we saw our 'keeper score an absolute blinder. As the seconds ticked by towards the end of a 0-0 draw away at his former employers Derby County, Sunderland fell behind, but rather than heads go down, we won a corner and up ran Poom. The rest, as they say, is history. His powerful header nearly broke the net, and he would forever be a legend in the eyes of the Sunderland faithful. For more on that day, Poom in general, and a video of that magnificent header, click here to open David Boyle's Cult Heroes feature.

But enough from me. I'm sure you would all rather hear from the man himself. Folks, here's Roker Report meets Mart Poom.

What is your favourite memory of playing for Sunderland?

Mart: It must b the goal that I scored for Sunderland against my old club Derby County, and receiving a standing ovation from both sets of fans after the final whistle.

Just how did it feel to score in the Premier League? (Do your research Dan, it wasn't in the Prem')

Mart: I scored in the Championship, not in the Premier League, but it felt fantastic and unbelievable. And of course I am very proud that one Sunderland brewery made a special edition beer – Poominator Ale – and named it after me.

Was it bittersweet that the goal came against Derby County?

Mart: Well, as it happened on my first visit back to Pride Park since I had left the club, then you could say it was an unusual way to say goodbye to the club and the fans that I loved.

How did it feel to hear the stadium shouting Poooooooom?

Mart: It was a great feeling and it gave me confidence. It showed that I had won the fans over after a difficult start at Sunderland. Sometimes the away fans would wonder why the home fans would boo their goalkeeper after a successful catch.

Who was the toughest player to face in training?

Mart: It must have been Kevin Phillips, his finishing was different class.

Who are your goalkeeping heroes?

Mart: My idol was Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel.

You are now the Sports Director at FC Flora. What does that job entail?

Mart: Mainly I am responsible for the first team. I have to look at how the squad is put together, I am discussing possible transfers with the manager and coaches and together with the club president we conduct the contract negotiations etc. Also, when the FC Flora goalkeeper coach is away with Estonia U19s or U21s, then I coach the 1st team goalkeepers.

You also have a coaching role with the Estonia national team. Is that something you enjoy?

Mart: Yes, I do, because it keeps me involved with international and top level football.

What do you hope to do in the future? More coaching or are you looking at management?

Mart: I want to develop my football school (FC Nõmme United) on and off the pitch, and definitely carry on coaching. At the moment I haven't got ambitions to become a manager, but who knows in the future?

Does you goalkeeping coaching involve headers?

Mart: No.

And with that he was gone. Poom was quite probably one of my favourite players of all time, and I would like to offer all of the thanks possible to him for making time to speak to us, as well as wishing him all the best in the future.

Enjoy that? I certainly did. Keep an eye on Roker Report for more sterling interviews with ex-heroes in the coming days, weeks and months.

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