Raimond van der Gouw is not a name that many football fans will use on a daily basis anymore, in fact during his time in England most fans would not have even seen him play.
But the Dutchman who turns 51 today has won two Premier League titles, a Champions League and an FA Cup. Some of you will know where he picked up these medals but for those that do not, he was at Manchester United from 1996 to 2002. During these years he warmed the bench mostly as he only played 60 times with most of these appearances coming in the 1999-2000 season where he played 23 games.
Although he maybe did not play as much as he would have liked his teammates appreciated his efforts and were never worried when he was called upon. Roy Keane admired him and said “he is a true professional and works extremely hard” this led to Keane signing him as a goalkeeping coach when he was in charge of Sunderland which shows how much faith and trust he had in him.
The goalkeeper made his debut against Aston Villa and managed to keep a clean sheet and was then thrust into the limelight in the semi final of the Champions League that season once again producing a number of brilliant saves against Borussia Dortmund. Unfortunately they ended up losing the game 1-0. He saved his best performances for that competition when in 1998 against Monaco he was once again almost unbeatable after saving several clear cut chances. It was in the 1999-2000 season when he was considered as first choice for the only time in his United career but this did not last long and was replaced by Mark Bosnich.
After leaving the club he joined West Ham United where he did not play a game and then RKC Waalwijk (Holland) only featuring once. He did enjoy a good end to his career playing 100 league games for AGOVV Apeldoorn and in the final appearance of his career he scored his first professional goal from the penalty spot.
The last words go to Sir Alex Ferguson who said: “I felt that Raimond could handle the big games, I felt that some people’s games are suited to Europe, and that applies to Raimond. He gets around his area very quickly.”