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Alec Chamberlain
Position: Goalkeeper
From: Sunderland - £40,000 - July 1996
He is: Like finding a fifty pound note down the back of your sofa


Alec Chamberlain. He's still a goalkeeper and he's still bloody difficult to write about.

In a sense, there's more to say than last time around. When I wrote his previous profile, he was nothing less than a miracle worker. He'd followed up his "Player of the Season" award for the Second Division championship campaign with yet more astounding performances, culminating in utter heroics during the playoffs. Put simply, without his staggering save to Johnson's header in injury time at St Andrews, there would've been no penalty shoot-out, no Wembley, no Nicky Wright and Allan Smart memories, and no Premiership. Of course, it was a team effort...but that doesn't mean that pivotal moments of individual brilliance have to go uncelebrated.

It was a bit of a fairy tale, really. When Kevin Miller left for Selhurst during the summer of 1997 and Chris Day arrived in part-exchange, it looked extremely likely that Alec Chamberlain would be forever second choice. Yet, when the opportunity arose, he grabbed the number one shirt eagerly and has kept hold of it for three years.

He certainly wasn't alone in finding the Premiership ride a little bumpy. While individual errors cost us goals and Chamberlain contributed his fair share, it's about collective responsibility. Yes, the goalkeeper was exposed too frequently and suffered a loss of confidence as a consequence of conceding goals that he could do nothing about. As for the mistakes, I tend to think that they happen on a percentage basis...and our defensive lapses meant that Chamberlain simply had too many shots to save. Yes, he also failed to command his area in a way that would've solidified our wobbly defence and resulted in him being exposed less frequently. By and large, when he was briefly replaced by Day, nothing much changed.

With Day's contract unrenewed, he will probably be spending his holiday scanning the papers for transfer rumours...but you'd be a fool to assume that any incoming starlet will be an automatic selection.

Ian Grant
Last updated: June 2000