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Sunderland’s Greatest Goalkeeper (Quarter Finals): Ned Doig v Tony Norman - VOTE NOW!

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In the next quarter final of our ‘Sunderland’s Greatest Goalkeeper Of All-Time’ contest are two candidates with an enormous amount of caps between them. It’s Ned Doig v Tony Norman - who wins? YOU decide!

Sunderland AFC

Ned Doig - “Prince of Goalkeepers”

APPS: 456

YEARS AT SUNDERLAND: 1890-1904

HONOURS: 4 League titles & a Champions of the World winner

Ned Doig was initially a right winger as a youngster. As his career developed and his position changed, he was alleged to have made his debut in goal for Arbroath when he went to watch a game with his brother. Upon arriving to the ground, no goalkeeper was available for Arbroath; subsequently, a member of the crowd was said to have shouted, “Let Ned Doig play!” The rest, they say, is history. He received two Scotland caps at Arbroath before moving to Sunderland where his career skyrocketed.

Doig could punch the ball out very accurately, which was apparently the preferred method of distribution back in those days. This skill was developed as a young lad by tying a football to a makeshift goal that he used to punch from all angles possible. He was so skillful that he was said to be capable of punching those heavy old balls around the bar twice when tied to the frame of the goal, and he could also punch a ball over the half-way line - something only one other keeper could do. He was so accurate that he was said to be able to literally punch the ball directly to his teammates’ feet... move over Jordan Pickford.

Whilst at Sunderland Doig amassed well over 400 appearances, he won multiple league titles with the club, and also was a member of the side that won the Champions of the World game against Heart of Midlothian. Doig holds a club record of seven consecutive clean sheets, including 17 in his first season alone! He was without a doubt an incredibly talented player.

Doig stood at 5’8” but was an absolute titan for Sunderland where he earned the title of ‘Prince of Goalkeepers’ in the team billed as the “Team of All the Talents”. It’s fair to say that Ned Doig is a true club legend.


Tony Norman - “It’s an easy one for Norman!”

APPS: 227 (1988-1995)

W-D-L RATIO: 70-59-98 (44% success rate)

Signed from Hull City for a club record fee of £500,000, Norman was the only goalkeeper to have represented Sunderland at Wembley twice until Jon McLaughlin managed that feat this past season.

Standing at 6’2”, and weighting over 14st, Norman was a solid unit in the Sunderland goal. He had the odd moment of madness - as many keepers do - but overall, Norman was a thoroughly good shot-stopper who was ahead of his time with regard to his distribution skills.

His incredible performance against Chelsea in the 1992 FA Cup Quarter Final is a performance to be remembered for the Wales international who was superb that day. That performance alongside another superb showing against West Ham that season stand out - as does his save against Tim Breacker.

In a great article penned by David Preece, Preece notes how in today’s modern game, Norman would have been worth a fortune, such was his talent with the ball at his feet:

I can remember wondering what the hell he was doing. He took the ball a good 10 or 15 yards outside the box and then, seemingly without much effort at all, he played a lovely clipped ball into the chest of one his team-mates.

“Is that all?” you may ask, but that simple piece of play has stuck with me ever since.

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