Theo Snelders

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Theo Snelders
Personal information
Full name Theodorus Antonius Gerardus Snelders
Date of birth (1963-12-07) 7 December 1963 (age 56)
Place of birth Westervoort, Netherlands
Height 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)
Playing position(s) Goalkeeper
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1980–1988 FC Twente 176 (0)
1988–1996 Aberdeen 227 (0)
1996–1999 Rangers 13 (0)
1999–2001 MVV 48 (0)
Total 464 (0)
National team
1989 Netherlands 1 (0)
1990 Scottish League XI 1 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Theodorus Antonius Gerardus Snelders (born 7 December 1963) is a Dutch former professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper.

Club career[edit]

Snelders was born in Westervoort, Gelderland. He started his career with FC Twente but is mostly remembered in Scotland, especially for his spell at Aberdeen following his move for £300,000 in summer 1988. A successful replacement for Jim Leighton, he had a very good first season at Pittodrie, winning the Scottish PFA Players' Player of the Year in 1989. He saved Anton Rogan's penalty in Aberdeen's penalty shootout win over Celtic in the 1990 Scottish Cup Final.[1]

After fracturing a cheekbone in a collision with Ally McCoist of Rangers in 1991,[2] he was unavailable for the club's vital winner-takes-all match against the Gers in May of that year, with inexperienced understudy Michael Watt unable to prevent a 2–0 defeat.[3][2] Snelders had also played in the Aberdeen side that beat Rangers to win the 1989 Scottish League Cup Final,[4][2] but tasted defeat against the same opponents in that tournament's 1988 and 1992[5] editions and in the 1993 Scottish Cup Final,[6] and was the regular goalkeeper as the Dons finished runners-up to Rangers in five of his seven full league campaigns.[7]

Midway through the one of the campaigns in which the team was not challenging for honours (1991–92), Snelders was sent off for an incident of violent conduct on the pitch; his reaction to a penalty being awarded to Keith Wright of Hibernian was to strike the forward to the head, followed by kicking the ball over the stand and out of the stadium. His makeshift replacement, defender Brian Irvine, saved the spot-kick, only for Aberdeen to miss a penalty of their own and concede the winning goal in the last minute.[8] The other unsuccessful year (1994–95) concluded with a play-off to prevent the club being relegated for the first time in their history, which was averted.[9] He made 290 appearances for the club in all competitions.[7]

Having fallen behind Watt in the Aberdeen order, Snelders moved on to rivals Rangers for £300,000 in early 1996.[2] As a confirmed backup player, initially to Andy Goram followed by Lionel Charbonnier then Stefan Klos, he made just 18 appearances for the Glasgow club (two in the UEFA Champions League against Dutch side Ajax) before he was released in 1999.[10] He played two seasons at MVV before he retired from playing and became a goalkeeping coach in his native Netherlands with FC Twente.[2]

International career[edit]

Snelders was a member of the Dutch squad at the 1983 FIFA World Youth Championship. He made his only full international appearance on 22 March 1989, against the Soviet Union. He kept a clean sheet as the Dutch won 2–0, with the goals coming from a Marco van Basten diving header and a Ronald Koeman penalty. Snelders was an unused substitute with the Dutch team at the 1994 World Cup.





  1. ^ Don Morrison (13 May 1990). "Cheers and tears". Sunday Mail. The Celtic Wiki. Retrieved 27 October 2018 – via The Celtic Wiki.
  2. ^ a b c d e Silverware, smashed bones and soaps: Theo Snelders reflects on a decade spent in Scottish football, The Herald, 25 September 2016
  3. ^ "Flashback: 1991, Mark Walters and Scott Booth recall their part in Smith's maiden final-day triumph". The Herald. 14 May 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  4. ^ "Bett the light of bold Aberdeen (page 19)". The Herald. 23 October 1989. Retrieved 4 November 2018 – via Google News Archive.
  5. ^ McKinney, David (26 October 1992). "Football: Smith's slip gives Rangers the prize". The Independent. London. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  6. ^ "Football: Hateley cleans up for Rangers". The Independent. 29 May 1993. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  7. ^ a b c "Theo Snelders". AFC Heritage Trust. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  8. ^ "Snelders hits a bad note". The Herald. 25 November 1991. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  9. ^ David McKinney (26 May 1995). "Aberdeen find form to preserve Premier status". The Independent. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  10. ^ "Rangers player Theo Snelders". FitbaStats. Retrieved 4 November 2018.

External links[edit]