9. Pat Jennings 1977 – 1985
Pat was our keeper for 8 years and played 327 games.
Pat was born in in Newry, County Down, after playing for Shamrock Rovers under-18 side at the age of 11, he concentrated on Gaelic football until the age of sixteen, when he made his soccer comeback with his hometown side Newry Town. After impressing with Newry he moved to English Third Division side Watford.
He was signed by Tottenham Hotspur for £27,000 in 1964. Pat spent thirteen years with Tottenham where he played in 472 league games, and 591 in all competitions. He won the FA Cup in 1967, the League Cup in 1971 and 1973, and the UEFA Cup in 1972.
He played an unsuspecting role in Arsenal’s League and Cup double in 1971 as he was in goal for Tottenham when Ray Kennedy’s header flew past him as Arsenal famously wrapped up the title at White Hart Lane.
In August 1977, he was transferred to Arsenal, the fact that Arsenal enjoyed some of his finest years was largely thanks to a miscalculation by Spurs manager Keith Burkinshaw who incorrectly suspected that Pat was approaching the end of his career when he let him leave for Highbury. He found himself out of favour at Arsenal in 1982 as Scottish keeper George Wood assumed the No 1 spot, but he bounced back and regained his starting place until his retirement from club football in 1985. His long career ended in style with an appearance, at the age of 40, at the 1986 World Cup Finals in Mexico. It was a fitting finale for one of our greatest goalkeepers. In total, Jennings participated in the qualifying stages of six World Cups between 1966 and 1986.
After his retirement, he returned to Tottenham Hotspur, playing in their reserve side to maintain his match sharpness for Northern Ireland’s 1986 World Cup campaign. He was also briefly on Everton’s books, having been signed as goalkeeping cover for the 1986 FA Cup Final against Liverpool, Neville Southall having been injured playing for Wales.
In 1973 the Football Writers association named him as its footballer of the year Three years later he won PFA’s version of the award – he was the first goalkeeper to receive this accolade, he also received an MBE and an OBE.
In 2003 Pat was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in recognition of the skills he demonstrated in English football
10. John Lukic 1983 -1990
John played for 7 years and appeared in 298 games.
John was born in Chesterfield, he signed for Leeds United as a schoolboy. He made his debut for them in 1979 and went on to play 165 games. After making a transfer request, he moved to Arsenal in July 1983 for £75,000, as a long-term replacement for Pat Jennings.
By the middle of the 1984-85 season he was the club’s No. 1, and won the League Cup in 1987 and the Division One title in 1989. He was ever present in Arsenal’s first team throughout seasons 1987-88, 1988-89 and 1989-90. He played in the final game of the 1989 season where Arsenal won the title in the last minute of the game against Liverpool, with John starting the move which led to Michael Thomas’ famous goal.
In the summer of 1990 Arsenal manager George Graham signed David Seaman from Queens Park Rangers – Seaman had ironically been his understudy at Leeds. This outraged many Arsenal fans at the time, especially as John was a fan favourite. On his departure, Graham commented “I still think John Lukic is one of the best keepers in the country; I just think David Seaman is the best”
Having played 277 times for the Gunners, he rejoined Leeds for £1million, playing a further 265 times and winning a second League title in 1991-92 and a runners up medal in the League Cup in 1995-96
His career took another twist when he rejoined Arsenal in 1996 as understudy to Seaman and four years later was on the bench for Arsenal’s UEFA Cup final defeat to Galatasaray. John became the oldest player to feature in a Champions League match when, in October 2000, he played against Lazio at the age of 39 years and 311 days.
In 2000, after a series of injuries to the club’s other ‘keepers, he made a brief return to the first team, playing four times. The last of these four games, against Derby County, was a month shy of his 40th birthday – he is also one of several players to have played in the top flight of English football in four separate decades.
11. David Seaman 1990 – 2003
David played for 13 years and appeared in 564 games.
David was born in Rotherham, South Yorkshire; he began his career at Leeds United, the club he supported as a boy. However (much to his disappointment), he was not wanted by then-manager Eddie Gray, who had been his favourite player. David went to Division 4 club Peterborough United for a £4,000 fee in August 1982, where he began to make a name for himself.
Just over two years later, in October 1984, Second Division club Birmingham City paid £100,000 for his services. They ended up winning promotion at the end of that season, but were relegated again at the end of the following season. Seaman was not to follow them back to Division Two, however as in August 1986, David moved to Queens Park Rangers for £225,000. He earned his first England cap, which came under Bobby Robson in a friendly against Saudi Arabia in November 1988. Whilst at Q.P.R.,he was coached by Arsenal1971 double-winner Bob Wilson, who was to work with him for more than a decade.
Arsenal manager George Graham paid Leeds United £1.3 million for him which, at the time was a British record for a goalkeeper with John Lukic leaving to rejoin Leeds. Seaman became the cornerstone of an Arsenal back five which kept 23 clean sheets and conceded just 18 goals en route to the 1990/91 League title. His qualities were manifold – he had sharp reflexes, excellent positional sense, great judgement from crosses and bags of courage.
One of his most memorable moments came in April 2003 when Arsenal was defending a 1-0 lead in the FA Cup Semi-Final against Sheffield United at Old Trafford. In the closing minutes he was stranded when Paul Peschisolido headed towards goal but somehow he threw himself across goal and reached back to claw the ball away from under the crossbar. What made the save even more remarkable was that it was made in his 1,000th professional game. A month later, as Arsenal’s captain, he lifted the FA Cup at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium following a 1-0 win against Southampton. After 564 appearances and eight major trophies, it was his final act as an Arsenal player and a fitting climax to his Arsenal career.
He retired from the game on 13 January 2004, following a recurring shoulder injury.
He was appointed an MBE in 1997 for services to the sport.
12. Jens Lehmann 2003-2011.
Jens played for 11 years and appeared in 200 games.
Jens was born in Essen, Germany.
The German international signed for Arsenal from Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund in July 2003. During his first spell with Arsenal he played in every match of the Club’s unbeaten league campaign in 2003/04, when he was awarded the Premier League Golden Glove Award for his integral part in the ‘Invincibles’ season. He also won the Premier League title in 2003/04, the Community Shield in 2004 and an FA Cup winner’s medal in 2005, when he famously saved from Paul Scholes in the victorious penalty shoot-out
However, his style of play, often coming out of his goal to intercept passes occasionally led to mistakes, as it did in the title-winning match against Spurs when he pushed Tottenham striker Robbie Keane as they both waited for a Tottenham corner, he also made a mistake that led to the equalising goal in Arsenal’s Champions League defeat at home to Chelsea the same season.
Before joining Arsenal he was a Bundesliga title winner with Borussia Dortmund in 2002, and UEFA Cup winner with Schalke in 1997. He also had a brief spell with AC Milan in 1998.
He was a regular fixture for the Germany national team making 61 appearances before retiring from international football in 2008, Jens was a member of the Germany World Cup squads in 1998, 2002 and 2006, in addition to their squads for the European Championship Finals in 2000, 2004 and 2008.
He was voted UEFA Club Goalkeeper of the Year for the 1996–97 and 2005–06 seasons, and he has been selected for three World Cup squads and also holds the UEFA Champions League record for the most consecutive clean sheets – not having conceded a goal in 10 matches while playing for Arsenal.
After leaving Arsenal he joined German club Stuttgart, where he spent two years before announcing his retirement from football at the end of last season. He rejoined Arsenal on a short-term basis in March 2011 during the time when, Wojciech Szczesny, Lukasz Fabianski and Vito Mannone were out through injury. He only made one appearance during his three-month spell back, helping Arsenal to victory at Blackpool.
Jens set a national team record of not conceding a goal for 681 minutes in a friendly against Switzerland on 26 March 2008