Gary Walsh

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Gary Walsh
Personal information
Full name Gary Walsh[1]
Date of birth (1968-03-21) 21 March 1968 (age 49)
Place of birth Wigan, England
Height 6 ft 3 in (191 cm)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Club information
Current team
Aston Villa (goalkeeping coach)
Youth career
000?–1984 Wigan Athletic
1983–1985 Manchester United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1985–1995 Manchester United 50 (0)
1988 Airdrieonians (loan) 3 (0)
1993–1994 Oldham Athletic (loan) 6 (0)
1995–1997 Middlesbrough 44 (0)
1997 Bradford City (loan) 5 (0)
1997–2003 Bradford City 128 (0)
2000 Middlesbrough (loan) 3 (0)
2003–2006 Wigan Athletic 3 (0)
Total 242 (0)
National team
1987 England U21 2 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Gary Walsh (born 21 March 1968 in Wigan) is an English football coach and former footballer who is the goalkeeping coach for Aston Villa.

As a player, he was a goalkeeper from 1985 to 2006, notably playing Premier League football with Manchester United, Oldham Athletic, Middlesbrough, Bradford City and Wigan Athletic. He also played in Scotland for Airdrieonians, He became goalkeeping coach at Wigan under manager Paul Jewell before teaming back up with Jewell at Derby County.

Playing career[edit]

Manchester United[edit]

Walsh left school in 1984 and signed for Wigan Athletic as an apprentice. He was originally a striker but was fielded as goalkeeper in a game being watched by a Manchester United scout.[2] He was promptly offered an apprenticeship by Manchester United manager Ron Atkinson, and accepted the offer. He kept goal for United as they finished runners-up to neighbouring Manchester City in the 1986 FA Youth Cup.

Walsh was given a professional contract for the 1986–87 season (during which Ron Atkinson was sacked in favour of Alex Ferguson) and make his first-team debut soon after. He played 14 league games that season.

For a short time in the 1987–88 season, a 19-year-old Walsh was made first-choice goalkeeper after Gary Bailey retired due to injury and Chris Turner was dropped from the team. He played in 16 league games before his run in the first team was halted by a head injury sustained in a mid-season friendly in Bermuda, and a succession of further injuries ruled him out until the 1990–91 season. He was on the substitutes bench as United lifted the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup that season, and the arrival of Peter Schmeichel that summer made his first-team opportunities even more limited.

The return of Les Sealey (who had been at United for 18 months until the end of the 1990–91 season) in January 1993 meant that Walsh was now third choice goalkeeper, and the following season he was transfer-listed. He had also been out the squad for a while before Sealey's arrival, as United had brought in Fraser Digby on loan from Swindon Town as an (unused) understudy to Peter Schmeichel.

However, United won the league title that season with three matches to spare, and to prepare his best players for the FA Cup final, Alex Ferguson selected Walsh as goalkeeper for the final three league games of the season and Walsh's form was so impressive that he gained a new contract, while the veteran Les Sealey was released. Walsh was on the substitute's bench as United triumphed 4–0 over Chelsea in the FA Cup Final on 14 May 1994 to complete the Double.

While at Old Trafford, Walsh went on loan to Airdrieonians and Oldham Athletic.

A back injury suffered by Peter Schmeichel in November 1994 saw Walsh selected for 10 subsequent Premier League games, during which he conceded just 12 goals, while the Dane recovered. Walsh also played in several Football League Cup and European Cup games that season, though when Schmeichel returned to fitness Walsh was back on the substitute's bench or in the reserves. Had United won the league title that season, Walsh would have collected the first (and ultimately the only) league title winner's medal of his career as he had met the minimum requirement for appearances to gain the accolade, but United were beaten to the league title by Blackburn Rovers on the final day of the season when they failed to get the better of a West Ham United side who held them to a 1–1 draw in east London.


A little frustrated at the lack of first team opportunities available to him, Walsh moved to Middlesbrough (managed by his former team mate Bryan Robson) for £600,000 in August 1995, and played in 32 out of 38 Premier League games that season for a newly promoted side which went fourth in October but in the end could only manage a 12th-place finish due to a terrible run of form during the winter. The following season, however, he managed just 12 league appearances due to the emergence of Ben Roberts and the arrival of Mark Schwarzer. Middlesbrough also managed to reach both domestic cup finals that season. In the League Cup campaign, Walsh played in the quarter final victory over Liverpool,[3] but was not selected in the final squad against Leicester City, who beat Middlesbrough in a replay. In the FA Cup run he played in the opening game of the campaign against Chester City,[4] but would not feature in the tournament again as his teammates went on to lose the final 2–0 to Chelsea. Walsh never played first team football for the Riverside club again.

Bradford City[edit]

He signed for Bradford City on loan in October 1997 before a £500,000 fee made the transfer permanent.

Walsh produced his best form in a number of years in the 1997–98 season and crowned a superb campaign by picking up the club's Player of the Year award. However, injury and the form of Matt Clarke saw Walsh fall out of favour at Bradford City.

After several troubled months, he emerged at the start of the 2000–01 season campaign fully fit and ready to fight for his place (he also went on loan to former club Middlesbrough during this time).

Wigan Athletic[edit]

He featured strongly over the next few years before joining Wigan Athletic in 2003 as back-up to John Filan. On Wigan's promotion to the Premier League in 2005, he signed a new one-year contract to see the club through their first as a top division side.

Having played three league games for Wigan, Walsh announced his retirement from playing in the summer of 2006.

Coaching career[edit]

Walsh started his goalkeeping coach role during his playing time at Wigan, before taking it up on a permanent basis after he retired at the end of the 2005–06 season. He teamed up with former Wigan manager Paul Jewell at Derby County on 3 January 2008.[5] Following Jewell's departure from Derby, Walsh left in June 2009 and was appointed goalkeeping coach of Hartlepool United.[6] On 15 December 2011, Walsh was recruited by his former Middlesbrough team mate Nick Barmby to take over as goalkeeping coach at Hull City.[7]

On 1 November 2016 Walsh left Hull City and joined former Hull City manager Steve Bruce at Aston Villa as goalkeeper coach.[8]



  1. ^ "Gary Walsh". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 25 February 2017. 
  2. ^ Crabtree, Steve (3 January 2011). "Manchester United’s Unsung Heroes – Gary Walsh". Red Flag Flying High. Network. Retrieved 15 December 2013. 
  3. ^ "Evans slams sloppy Liverpool". 8 January 1997. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  4. ^ "Beck instils belief at beleaguered Boro". The Independent. 6 January 1997. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  5. ^ "New job for Gary Walsh". Telegraph & Argus. 3 January 2008. Retrieved 3 January 2008. 
  6. ^ "Ex-goalkeeper joins Hartlepool's coaching ranks". The Football Network. 1 July 2009. Retrieved 1 July 2009. 
  7. ^ "Tigers Welcome New Goalkeeper Coach". Hull City AFC. 15 December 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2011. [dead link]
  8. ^ "Walsh joins as goalkeeping coach". 1 November 2016. Retrieved 1 November 2016. 

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