Invisible Man

Invisible Man

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Football Leagues Peter Pan Penalty Expert!

Over 1,000 professional first team appearances. 125 goals. Only four clubs. This may well be one of my favourite ever players never to play for City.

It can only be one player (no, no not Tony Ford). It is of course Graham Alexander.

What is even more impressive is that Alexander has amassed this record only playing for four clubs, a feat impossible to imagine in the current transfer climate.

Beginning his career at Scunthorpe (over 200 appearances) he moved to Luton for around £100,000 pounds where he went on to make a similar number of appearances. 

However Alexander's career really took off following his transfer to Preston and latterly Burnley. He also has 40 Caps for Scotland to boot. Not bad Graham, not bad at all. I think if a visual dictionary needed an image for 'consummate professional' then a picture of Graham would suffice.

He also isn't a half-bad player. He is what I would term a 'managers dream'. At certain points throughout his career he has accommodated right back, left-back, centre back, right mid-field, left mid-field, holding mid-fielder and centre mid (And to be honest I think he may have accommodated all those position just in the game against City). 

However the real fascination about Alexander, and the reason he will go down as a cult hero (in particular in Lancashire) is his penalty taking ability. Anybody not familiar with the penalty taking ability of this man, let me give you the key facts he has a penalty taking record of over 90%. From 77 penalties. 'Ice in his veins', 'cool as a cucumber', 'nerves of steel', 'unflappable' what ever metaphors you can think of just slap them on this man.

If anybody needs more convincing about how cool this man is watch the below video;

A similar penalty was taken by a Spanish Under 21 player and the world went mad, yet when stead Steady Eddie Alexander did it the world didn't bat an eyelid (took me ages to locate that video online!). The wonderful thing about this penalty is; not only did he do it once, Burnley were awarded a penalty later in the game, and he did exactly the same thing again!

I've also been lucky enough to see Alexander score in the flesh in a 3-3 draw between Manchester City and Burnley (in the Premier League years). It is very surreal feelings watching somebody step up to take a penalty 'knowing' they will score. His ability is the sort John Terry could only dream of in Moscow, the sort of 'ice in your veins' approach Waddle was lacking at Italia 90'.

Reports today are linking Alexander with his first management job at Morecambe. I can't comment on his management ability, but I'd hate to meet them in a shoot-out.

On the theme of penalties here is one more which is defiantly worth a quick watch;

Despite his impressive record I would say at 39 this may be a new trick the old dog may not learn.

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