Welcome to another Pain in the Arsenal series, folks!
The PITA team have been working through the annals of history to compare the contemporary greats of Arsenal Football Club to the legends of yesteryear. Such delving was necessary because this series isn’t just taking to account the Premier League like our Greatest XI piece. On this occasion, we’re going way back to the club’s inception in 1886.
A shortlist of icons at each position was distributed to each contributor of the PITA site, who then voted for their top five (in order). A fifth-place vote was worth a point, fourth was two points, while first was five points. Those points were added together to work out who we had voted to be the top five players at each position in Arsenal’s history.
Today, we’re starting with the goalkeepers and over the next six days, we’ll reveal our top five full-backs, centre-backs, central midfielders, playmakers (wingers/attacking midfielders) and strikers.
Arsenal’s top 5 goalkeepers of all-time
So, without further ado, let’s get this series underway! Here are our top five Arsenal goalkeepers of all time.
5. Jack Kelsey
Steeldog Millionaire – a nickname I unabashedly just conjured up – Jack Kelsey had quite the rags to riches story.
Kelsey joined the club in 1949 from Winch Wen – a Swansea amateur team – and spent the entirety of his 13-year senior career with the Gunners. He was forced to retire in 1962 due to a back injury, but not before he’d established himself as a world-class goalkeeper.
His Arsenal career kicked off in dismal fashion and he was mocked for conceding five on his debut. But, it didn’t take long for the Welshman – amid a barren spell for the club – to win the hearts and minds of supporters. Kelsey became the club’s number one in the 1952/53 season and would go on to make 351 appearances between the Arsenal posts.
But perhaps his greatest influence came on the international stage. Starring for Wales at the 1958 World Cup, Kelsey was dubbed “the cat with magnetic paws” by the eventual winners, Brazil, who edged past the Welsh 1-0 in the quarter-finals.
Continued on the next slide…