The Loneliness of David Stockdale

Lately I’ve been listening to WNYC’s wonderful RadioLab show, and recently came upon “The Loneliness of the Goalkeeper” episode. Turns out it was originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4, so you Brits may have already heard it before. (And here I was hoping to break new ground.)

If you haven’t listened to it, go do it. If you have already, do it again. It’s that good.

The award-winning piece delves into the hypothesis that no position in the game is as thankless or as lonely as that of a goalkeeper.

Which made me wonder, if this hypothesis is true, what do we make of our very own David Stockdale? If being a goalkeeper is the loneliest profession, what must it be to a 26 year old that has a lot of potential, deputized admirably; but still cannot get the starting role?

Especially considering it’s different compared other backups Fulham have had. Pascal Zuberbuhler seemed quite content with his loneliness, only ever featuring once in three seasons with the club (yet isn’t that bad when compared to Hilario at Chelsea, or Stuart Taylor at Villa/City). Tony Warner and Jan Laštůvka came out of the lonely wilderness only for us to immediately demand they be sent back. Can anyone even remember who was the backup to Edwin van der Sar?

Stockdale has already been with the club for four years. Bobby Zamora, John Pantsil, Paul Konchesky have all come an gone during his tenure (with AJ and Dickson to follow?). He has over three times as many appearances with various clubs on loan than he does with Fulham. Fulham’s #1 goalkeeper, Mark Schwarzer signed an extension in January that will keep him here until at least next summer.

If we were to be brutally honest with ourselves and rank the likelihood of a specific player to leave this summer, would Stockdale be in your top three? He would for me.

Why? Just ask yourself how much more lonely can it get for him.

Tim Gelles is a writer for Craven Cottage Newsround. A Fulham fan since 2006 when he saw Fulham defeat an Iain Dowie led Charlton. He resides in Baltimore. His current headshot is temporary. E-mail him or follow him on twitter.

11 thoughts on “The Loneliness of David Stockdale

  1. Interesting post, will def check out the radio piece. Like Stockdale a lot so am hoping he doesn’t leave. I’ve always enjoyed getting to see him play. Seems like he could have some tremendous years ahead of him.

  2. Yeah, I agree with Stockdale leaving being a likely scenario. It’s really unfortunate given his and our current keeper’s ages (anticipating Schwartzer has 1, 2 years at the most left in him). Every time I’ve watched him start in goal, my prejudiced assumptions of him not being ready were proven wrong. He’s a big, solid, athletic GK that could very well be a steal for a team trying to stay alive in the Prem. He’s good enough to win a team a few points by himself, no doubt. This is also why I wouldn’t begrudge him for leaving.

    Either way, it will be undoubtedly be interesting to see where he goes and what his value is perceived to be.

  3. This blog has been consistent in reminding us that one of Martin Jol’s tasks is taking an aging squad and making it younger while simultaneously achieving respectable results. It seems to me that part of that task must be either making the transition from almost-40-year-old Schwarzer to almost-27-year-old Stockdale, or deciding that Stockdale doesn’t have what it takes to be Schwarzer’s successor and bringing in a guy who does. This decision seems to have been put off for Jol’s first year at the club (which I guess makes sense in order for it to be an informed decision), and I think this summer will tell us which way it’s going. Schwarzer isn’t getting any younger, and even goalkeepers can’t play forever, so if Stockdale is still on the team come the end of the summer transfer window (or has been loaned out for seasoning), then I have to figure that Jol sees him as the eventual replacement. Otherwise, there’s no sense keeping him around backing Schwarzer up when he could be sold and a new heir-apparent brought in.

      1. True, but Somogyi is older than Stockdale, and was further down the pecking order than both Stockdale and Etheridge when Schwarzer was unavailable. Plus he signed a one-year contract last summer and we haven’t heard anything about that being extended. I have to figure he was just added depth for while Stockdale was out on loan.

  4. I was surprised that Woy picked some unknown keeper from a lower league for his squad when he is obviously aware of Stockdale and his abilities that surely would have been a kick in the face and might yet cause Staockdale to consider his options. Schwarzer can’t go on for ever, perhaps this year might be Stockdayes big chance but the only problem was how much better MS looked when he returned from injury compared to while he was out.

  5. I have a copy of Brian Glaville’s “Goalkeepers are different”, which is sort of kids’ fiction but which I really enjoyed. As for Stockdale, he has to get away really. Bit disappointed Jol hasn’t used him more – it wouldn’t have cost us much, if anything, and if we lose Stockdale we have to start all over again, assuming Schwarzer can’t keep going forever (which is not yet proven).

  6. I think the age thing is, as that Glanville title suggests, a bit different for goalkeepers. That said I think we’d struggle to find a better 27 year old goalkeeper than Stockdale. He needs to be playing first team football now and I think we ought to give him his chance this season. Schwarz will be around for the year so we have a safety net should he struggle but he’s already shown he’s more than capable and if he does well then surely we’re better off.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s