For our November meeting we were allocated the Circle Restaurant and with over 160 members present it did allow us the room we required. Our Chair opened by introducing two members who had recently been invited to join the Senior Tigers’ Committee. Helen Carter & Adrian Ellis received a warm welcome from all.
David introduced the pre-Christmas Luncheon by dangling the message that we have a great former player joining us … but his identity would not be revealed until the day arrives! There would also be some entertainment that we are confident will be appreciated by all. The Luncheon is expected to be in the Circle Restaurant unless the numbers continue to grow! Members can arrive from 12 noon and the Bar would open at 12.30 pm. We have between 170/180 people coming.
Rob brought us up to date on our website which is attracting a reasonable number of visitors but lacks those regular return visits. Of the 140 old team photos which are now available approx 85% have all been identified but members were called upon to complete that task.
Peter introduced us to his gathered display of prizes in the raffle and called for some help, especially on the east side of the city, someone who can help secure good raffle prizes and collect them. Offers??
Barbara updated us on the visits. The Bradford trip would require members taking a packed lunch and that Bradford City would provide a room for us to eat in and enjoy drinks which they would kindly provide.
Once the business had been covered we were able to start the serious part of the meeting and Dave gave a warm welcome to our goalkeeper, Mr David Marshall.
David was born in Glasgow in 1985 and comes from a family of Celtic fans. Life growing up, before the arrival of iPads and similar was very simply football dominated. At the age of 9/10 years David was invited to join the Celtic network and that they moved him from up-field to between the goalposts – smart move there! He left school at 16 and joined Celtic fulltime, training with the first team players. At 18 he made his first team debut when the goalie was injured and he was given 10 minutes in a European fixture. In 2004, at 19 years, he played in the Nou Camp (Barcelona) and kept a clean sheet. His manager then was Martin O’Neal who he described as being “not tactical” and that he was quiet for 90% of the time but the other 10% would see him go “mental!” When Gordon Strachan took over David leaked some early goals and lost his place in the first team. That led him to seek a move and he was soon out on loan to Norwich City, a move that would eventually be made permanent. In 2007 he was the only member of the Canaries to play in every match
David shared the difficulties for the goalkeeper in holding concentration and that he was always encouraged to get a good early save in the game.
His next move saw him join Cardiff City under Dave Jones, gain promotion to the Premiership and then the falling apart of the team which saw them plummet from the summit.
Later Hull City would bring him a lifeline, in 2016, when Mike Phelan brought him to the KCOM and with the Tigers having just returned to the Premiership. Here he also had to battle for match time with both Alan McGregor and Eldin Jacupovic at the club and with a pre-season injury David rather lost out. Now he has the No 1 jersey and is clearly thriving on the opportunity. There was a spontaneous round of applause to mention of what a good season he is having. “I’m just enjoying being back”.
A series of questions were then put to him. Who was the person with the biggest impact on his career? His response was the Celtic goalie coach who shaped his skills when he first joined the club and ensured later that he had the opportunity to train regularly with the 1st team players.
About superstitions? He uses the inside warm up area at the stadium and always does the same routine and places his gloves in exactly the same position. He was later asked to comment on Elphick’s rather intriguing warm up where he talks to the post, rubs his left hand post, shakes it and kicks it! David declared he had not really noticed but would now! So are the fans!
Asked about team spirit he replied that it “is very strong with this group” and that he is confident it would be worth a few points by the end of the season.
Someone asked if it helped him having a former goalkeeper as manager – simple response, “No!” The questions were now coming fast and furious. “What is it like to play for a team that scores 3 goals?”, and who, in his opinion, was the greatest Celtic manager, simple – Jock Stein he responded.
He was asked about the ‘old firm’ domination of Scottish football and replied that it was so difficult for other clubs to mount a serious challenge. Rogers at Celtic has ten times the budget that Aberdeen offer their manager. He also said that if ever Celtic & Rangers were admitted into the English game it would destroy Scottish football.
Fans are so important to the teams and frustrated supporters can give the players real challenges. He mentioned that in the 1950’s fans needed hard hats to stand on the terraces at Hamden Park, there were, apparently, bottles constantly flying around!
Asked what he thinks when going for a ball and seeing the boots of the forward coming towards him, he mentioned that it is the “instinct to do your part”.
Who are the goalkeepers he had looked up to. Peter Schmeichel in his day and he considers that Man United’s Spaniard is the one to look up to now.
He enjoyed ‘quiet’ games but loved the adrenalin of a game calling upon him to make 8/10 good saves. After every game he goes into debriefing mode. TV analysis covers every angle and he will go over them alongside the goalkeeping coach.
Of the recent Preston match he mentioned the agony of having a quiet game while the forwards hit the woodwork 3 times and the PNE goalie pulls off a number of good saves and then that moment in the 94th minute. “Devastating”
David said he preferred 3 centre backs – “more to shout at!” and gave a big rap to youngster McKenzie who he described as “brilliant” when he recently stepped up from the club’s Academy.
He was asked about zonal marking against man marking in the penalty box. He did not express a preference but mentioned that the coaching team do the analysis before every match and discuss what they expect from the defenders at the end of the week. Players should, therefore, know what is expected of them and where they need to be for defending corners.
He was asked about penalty takers who do the “shuffle”. He will have studied 3 or 4 opposition players before the match so that he can assess their likely approach should they take a penalty. David had no problems with the approach of VAR.
Well, it was a marathon session and David Marshall delivered well. The Senior Tigers were delighted with his response to the “grilling” and much appreciate the Tiger’s man between the sticks.