Neil Sullivan

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This article is about the footballer. For the physicist, see Neil S. Sullivan.
Neil Sullivan
Neil Sullivan.png
Sullivan in 2005
Personal information
Full name Neil Sullivan
Date of birth (1970-02-24) 24 February 1970 (age 44)
Place of birth Sutton, England
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)[1][2]
Playing position Goalkeeper
Club information
Current team
Leeds United
(Academy Goalkeeing Coach)
Youth career
1986–1988 Wimbledon
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1988–2000 Wimbledon 181 (0)
1992 Crystal Palace (loan) 1 (0)
2000–2003 Tottenham Hotspur 64 (0)
2003–2004 Chelsea 4 (0)
2004–2007 Leeds United 95 (0)
2006 Doncaster Rovers (loan) 3 (0)
2007 Doncaster Rovers (loan) 13 (0)
2007–2013 Doncaster Rovers 184 (0)
2012–2013 AFC Wimbledon (loan) 20 (0)
National team
1997–2003 Scotland 28 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 09:01, 5 May 2013 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).

Neil Sullivan (born 24 February 1970) is a former professional footballer who is a goalkeeping coach at Football Championship side Leeds United.

As a player he was a goalkeeper from 1988 to 2013, starting his career with Wimbledon shortly after the club's FA Cup triumph. He remained with The Dons for twelve years and made 181 league appearances while at times covering for the likes of Dave Beasant, Hans Segers and Paul Heald and also spent a period on loan at Crystal Palace, though by the time of his departure he was firm number one. In 2000 he moved to Tottenham Hotspur where he replaced Ian Walker as the club's favoured keeper. In 2003 he departed after losing his place in the team and was signed as a back-up keeper by rivals Chelsea. In 2004 he moved to freshly relegated Football Championship side Leeds United where he remained until 2007. Whilst at Leeds he eventually lost his place in the team and was loaned out to Doncaster Rovers in both 2006 and 2007. In 2007 he joined Rovers on a permanent deal where he remained the club's favoured keeper until the 2012–13 season when he was loaned to AFC Wimbledon the side formed out of the ashes of his first club. Sullivan returned to Doncaster towards the end of the year and aided Doncaster to the League One title. In July 2013 he announced he was leaving Rovers and after rejecting offers to prolong his playing career he joined former club Leeds as an academy goalkeeping coach confirming his retirement from professional football.

Between 1997 and 2003 Sullivan was capped 28 times by Scotland, he was selected for the 1998 Fifa World Cup but was the second choice keeper behind Jim Leighton and ahead of Jonathan Gould for all three games.

Club career[edit]

Wimbledon[edit]

Sullivan began his career with local club Wimbledon in 1988, amassing a total of 224 appearances between 1988 and 2000. It was during his tenure at Wimbledon that Sullivan was often acknowledged as one of the best goalkeepers in the league marked by his selection for the division's 1997–98 team of the season. Parts of his Dons career was spent covering for the likes of Dave Beasant, Hans Segers and Paul Heald.

Sullivan was the goalkeeper against whom David Beckham scored a goal from the halfway line, while he was off his line. He also played one game on loan for Crystal Palace in 1992.

Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea[edit]

In 2000, Sullivan moved from Wimbledon to Tottenham Hotspur, where he made over 80 appearances. He then moved to Chelsea in the 2003–04 season, playing eight times for them.

Leeds United[edit]

In June 2004, he was signed by Championship team Leeds United,[3] by manager Kevin Blackwell to replace Paul Robinson who had left Leeds to join Tottenham. Sullivan beat off competition for number one spot from young goalkeeper Scott Carson. In his first season (2004–05), he was voted as the club's Player of the Year after some superb saves throughout the season, including saving several penalties for Leeds. Leeds finished 10 points off the playoffs after a season of rebuilding. In his second season at Leeds, they reached the playoff final against Watford, with Sullivan again having a decent season. But the playoff final ended in disaster for Sullivan with Leeds losing 3–0 to Watford and Sullivan being at fault for the second goal.

Due to an injury picked up in the pre-season match against Nottingham Forest, Sullivan made few appearances in the 2006–07 campaign for Leeds, with loan goalkeeper Tony Warner filling in whilst Sullivan was injured. Kevin Blackwell was sacked and replaced by Dennis Wise. Wise decided to sign Graham Stack on loan to compete with Warner and Sullivan. On 23 November 2006, he moved on loan to Doncaster Rovers. His loan was however cut short and he returned to Leeds on 21 December 2006. Manager Dennis Wise told the press after Leeds' 2–1 victory against Coventry City that Sullivan had put on weight, and his performances were not as good, hence his loan to Doncaster.[4] Leeds signed Casper Ankergren as the new number one goalkeeper. Sullivan re-signed on loan for Doncaster Rovers in February 2007. After the end of his loan at Doncaster, Sullivan returned to Leeds but was released at the end of his contract.

Doncaster Rovers[edit]

On 15 May 2007, Sullivan returned to Doncaster. He became the regular first team keeper and his consistent performances throughout the 2007–08 season helped Doncaster to promotion. He made an error in the 2–1 loss to Yeovil Town on 21 March 2008, mis-controlling a backpass which led to a Yeovil goal, but the disappointment of this mistake was over-shadowed by a very successful season between the sticks, in which Sullivan kept an impressive 20 clean sheets.[5]

He overcame this to help Doncaster win promotion to the Championship with a playoff final win over former club Leeds United, leaving them in the third tier of the Football League for at least another year.

Sullivan was also credited with a man-of-the-match performance against Aston Villa on 24 January 2009 which gave Doncaster a 0–0 draw that helped keep them in the FA Cup.[6]

The veteran goalkeeper continued to be an ever-present in the Rovers side throughout the 2009–10 season, appearing in all 46 league games for the club. In 2010, Sullivan signed a one-year-contract extension for Rovers, meaning he would be at the club until the end of the 2010/11 campaign. However, he had an injury-hit season, and was eventually replaced by Gary Woods as no.1. At the end of the season, he signed another one-year extension.[7]

On 16 November 2012 Sullivan joined AFC Wimbledon on a short-term loan from Doncaster Rovers and made his debut the following day against Aldershot.[8] On 2 December 2012 Sullivan started in the FA Cup 2nd round match against MK Dons, which they lost 2-1.

With first choice keeper Gary Woods injured, Doncaster recalled him for their game at Bournemouth on 9 March 2013.[9]

Following his return to the Rovers' team from his loan spell in March 2013, Sullivan went on to play till the end of the season as Doncaster won the League One title and sealed automatic promotion to the Championship. It was later announced that he would be retained by the club for the following season. [1]

On 11 July 2013, Doncaster Rovers confirmed that Sullivan had left the club.[10]

International career[edit]

Sullivan has also been capped 28 times by Scotland. He was named in the Scottish squad for the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France, but was an unused substitute in all of Scotland's three matches.

Coaching career[edit]

After gaining promotion to The Championship with Doncaster Rovers, Sullivan turned down the offer of extending his playing career at the club as well as an Ambassadorial role[11] in favour of returning to former club Leeds United as Academy Goalkeeper Coach on 16 July.[12][13] With an injury to Leeds substitute goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown, Sullivan revealed he had not officially retired from playing and would be willing to register himself as a player for the 2013/14 season.[14]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

Club Season Division League FA Cup League Cup Football League Trophy Europe Play Offs Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
1989–90 Wimbledon First Division 0 0 0 0 0 0 - - - - - - 0 0
1990–91 1 0 0 0 0 0 - - - - - - 1 0
1991–92 1 0 0 0 0 0 - - - - - - 1 0
Crystal Palace (Loan) 1 0 0 0 0 0 - - - - - - 1 0
Crystal Palace Total 1 0 0 0 0 0 - - 0 0 - - 1 0
1992–93 Wimbledon Premier League 1 0 0 0 0 0 - - - - - - 1 0
1993–94 2 0 0 0 0 0 - - - - - - 2 0
1994–95 11 0 0 0 0 0 - - - - - - 11 0
1995–96 16 0 8 0 0 0 - - 0 0 - - 24 0
1996–97 36 0 7 0 7 0 - - - - - - 50 0
1997–98 38 0 5 0 1 0 - - - - - - 44 0
1998–99 38 0 3 0 5 0 - - - - - - 46 0
1999–2000 37 0 2 0 5 0 - - - - - - 44 0
Wimbledon Total 181 0 25 0 18 0 - - 0 0 - - 224 0
2000–01 Tottenham Hotspur Premier League 35 0 5 0 3 0 - - - - - - 43 0
2001–02 29 0 4 0 5 0 - - - - - - 38 0
2002–03 0 0 0 0 0 0 - - - - - - 0 0
Tottenham Hotspur Total 64 0 9 0 8 0 - - - - - - 81 0
2003–04 Chelsea Premier League 4 0 2 0 2 0 - - 0 0 - - 8 0
Chelsea Total 4 0 2 0 2 0 - - 0 0 - - 8 0
2004–05 Leeds United Championship 46 0 1 0 3 0 - - - - - - 50 0
2005–06 42 0 2 0 3 0 - - - - 3 0 50 0
2006–07 7 0 1 0 2 0 - - - - - - 10 0
Leeds United Total 95 0 4 0 8 0 - - - - 3 0 110 0
2006–07 Doncaster Rovers (Loan) League One 3 0 - - - - - - - - - - 3 0
13 0 - - - - 1 0 - - - - 14 0
2007–08 Doncaster Rovers League One 46 0 2 0 2 0 2 0 - - 3 0 55 0
2008–09 Championship 46 0 4 0 1 0 - - - - - - 51 0
2009–10 45 0 2 0 0 0 - - - - - - 47 0
2010–11 31 0 2 0 1 0 - - - - - - 34 0
2011–12 9 0 0 0 0 0 - - - - - - 9 0
2012–13 League One 4 0 - - - - - - 4 0
Doncaster Rovers Total 200 0 10 0 4 0 3 0 - - 3 0 220 0
2012–13 AFC Wimbledon (Loan) League Two 20 0 1 0 - - - - - - - - 21 0
Career total 565 0 51 0 40 0 3 0 0 0 6 0 665 0
As of 21.30, 27 April 2013[15]

Honours[edit]

Doncaster Rovers
Leeds United
  • The Championship Playoff final runners-up – 2005/06 Season
  • Supporters Player of the Year – 2004–04

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.goal.com/en-au/people/scotland/1630/neil-sullivan. 
  2. ^ http://www.football.co.uk/profiles/players/neil_sullivan_869.shtml. 
  3. ^ "Sullivan set for Leeds switch". James Pearson. Sky Sports. 30 July 2004. Retrieved 2006-12-24. 
  4. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/paulfletcher/2010/10/neil_sullivan.html
  5. ^ "Yeovil 2–1 Doncaster". BBC News. 21 March 2008. Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  6. ^ "Doncaster Rovers 0–0 Aston Villa: Sullivan saves Rovers". ESPN Soccernet. 24 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  7. ^ Steve Hossack (6 July 2011). "Rovers keep stopper Neil". Doncaster Free Press. Retrieved 6 July 2011. 
  8. ^ club press officer (16 November 2012). "Sully rejoins the Dons". AFC Wimbledon Website. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  9. ^ "Bournemouth 1 - 2 Doncaster". BBC Sport. Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  10. ^ "Neil Sullivan Departs". Doncaster Rovers F.C. official website. 11 July 2013. Retrieved 12 July 2013. 
  11. ^ "Doncaster Rovers: Goalkeeper Neil Sullivan leaves club". BBC Sport. 11 July 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  12. ^ "Leeds United: Neil Sullivan joins academy coaching staff". BBC Sport. 11 July 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  13. ^ "SULLIVAN RETURNS TO ELLAND ROAD". Leeds United. 11 July 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  14. ^ "LUFC Veteran keeper not writing off Leeds comeback". Vital Leeds. 19 July 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013. 
  15. ^ "Neil Sullivan Career Stats". Soccerbase. 14 April 2013. Retrieved 14 April 2013. 

External links[edit]