Gary Sprake - Fans memories of Leeds United's golden era goalkeeper

“For me, he was as good as almost any goalkeeper I’ve seen. He was unbelievably talented, really he was.”

Saturday, 19th September 2020, 4:30 pm
Gary Sprake. PIC: Varley Picture Agency
Gary Sprake. PIC: Varley Picture Agency

The words of Eddie Gray on former teammate and Leeds United's last line of defence Gary Sprake.

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Gary Sprake. PIC: Varley Picture Agency

Sprake was Don Revie's number one for more than a decade joining Leeds as an apprentice in 1960 before turning professional in 1962.

His appearances for the club totalled 508 and his honours included the first and second division titles, the League Cup and and Fairs Cup.

Your YEP has been asking for memories of a shot stopper who was also capped 37 times by Wales.

Responses included:

Peter Collins - "My best memory of Gary Sprake was an incredible backward somersault-like save at Anfield, and I was one of a number of people whose name was read out on The Big Match‎ asking for it to be shown again! I know his performance against Ferencvaros was widely acclaimed as winning us the Fairs Cup in '68."

Carmel Garland - "He was a brilliant keeper who I had the honour to watch all the time he was at Leeds."

Gary Bulmer - "I remember playing liverpool at home when the 3 day week was on and we played them with an early kickoff so the floodlights woundn't be needed and i remember a cross by Liverpool and Sprake came out and caught it one handed, never seem that before or since."

Alan Hunt - "Great keeper on his day... didn't like the TV cameras."

John Wilson - "I think he gets very bad press. Gary was a great goalkeeper."

Martin Johns - "Top keeper terrific on his day made the odd mistake but wouldn't knock him."

Don Fletcher - "Top keeper but made high profile mistakes. I remember Leeds playing Arsenal at home & for whatever reason Gary give Bobby Gould a right hook in our penalty area & got sent off.

Neil Abbott - "Fantastic keeper his saves in the final won us the Fairs Cup."

Kevin Magee - "On his day he was a fantastic keeper. He did make the odd mistake but folks never seemed to forget them when he did. Shame really if you ever get chance to watch a replay of the 1965 cup final against Liverpool it would speak for itself. He was outstanding and kept Leeds in the match time and time again."

Andrew Wragge - "People seem to forget the The Don picked him over 600 times. I watched him many times and he was often superb."

Iain Stuart Wallace - "I watched Gary throw the ball into his own net at Anfield and at half time the song on the speakers was 'Careless Hands' He blamed snow on his gloves - still was a great keeper."

Phil York - "I remember we used to take Wrigleys Gum to throw to Gary from the Boys' Pen that used to be behind the goal at the Kop end. He always had some in his goal to chew during the game."

Malcolm Richardson - "Saw him play in London as a kid he pulled off some saves that day that other goalkeepers would never even see and kept a clean sheet ."

Keith Johnson - "Got to know Gary on his first day in Leeds. Brilliant keeper when he had no time to think. Made the odd blooper, but which keeper doesn't? Won us the Fairs Cup."


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