Third record for goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar


The British record for not conceding a goal is now also in the firm hands of Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar. Previously, he had already taken the English league and English professional football records, but until last weekend the British record belonged to Scotland. Van der Sar—who helped his team win 1-0 from West Ham—has now gone 1,212 minutes without conceding a goal, bettering Bobby Clark’s 1,155 minutes.

Oddly enough, the English press continues to feel the need to point out that Van der Sar could not have done it without ManU’s fabulous back line. You have to wonder whether they would have kept repeating and repeating this obvious fact if the Dutch goalie had been British. Says The Times:

Van der Sar is enjoying a fine season, but to pass 20 hours (1,212 minutes to be precise) without conceding a league goal, as he did at Upton Park yesterday to set a British best, is testament to Manchester United’s unblinking confidence as much as the 38-year-old’s form.

The most difficult save he was required to make against West Ham was a routine catch from a shot by Lucas Neill. Pruning his roses at 78 will be harder work than that.

The next record in Van der Sar’s sights is the big one, the world record, currently held by Abel Resino of Atlético Madrid at 1,275 minutes.

Photo by Austin Osuide, some rights reserved.


  1. Neil says:

    I think you need to check your facts about Van der Saar’s “record”. Chris Woods still holds the British goalkeeping record he set at Glasgow Rangers for aggregate minutes without conceding a goal in CONSECUTIVE games in ALL competitions. Van der Saar does not fulfill this criteria.

  2. Neil says:

    The Times seems compelled to dismiss that Edwin, at age 38, is at the peak of his game, the peak of anyone’s game, EVER, in goal. If the Brits gave out world records for top performing rose pruners, I suspect Edwin more than any Brit would be well positioned to win it. It must suck being a British nationalist cheering for a Dutchman. If there’s one thing you can count on from the Times, its arrogant condescension. Edwin should take the sportswriter out for tea. They like that, don’t they?

  3. Orangemaster says:

    It seems to me that Edwin just needs one more game…

  4. Branko Collin says:

    I think it is fair to look at only a single competition. After all, if you’re going to look at all competitions, why limit yourself like that? Why not look at all professional matches? Why not look at all matches? Why not including practice games? In the end the only goalie who’ll be able to hold a record will be the one who was injured the least.

    Van der Sar’s record does not in the least diminish Chris Woods’ one, nor does Chris Woods’ diminish Van der Sar’s. Both are achievements to be proud of.

  5. Jeroen Mirck says:

    Beating four records playing four consecutive matches – this really looks like a Hollywood scenario. The first three are somehow the same – and therefore a little artificial (I see them as only one record) – but the world record is the ultimate achievement. Will Van der Sar succeed? I hope so.

  6. Jeroen Mirck says:

    The world record is a different one: this video mentions the Belgian goalkeeper Danny Verlinden (Club Brugge) keeping his goal ‘clean’ for 1390 minutes. The voice-over calls it the ‘European’ record, by the way.

  7. Branko Collin says:

    According to this The Guardian article the world record is 1,816 mins and held by Mazaropi (Vasco da Gama, Brazil). Verlinden is indeed the best European on that list.

  8. […] Unlike we originally claimed last week, Manchester United’s fourteenth consecutive clean sheet, against Fulham yesterday (3-0) does not mean that their Dutch goalie Edwin van der Sar got the European or even world record. The record he broke, that of Abel Resino of Atlético Madrid, was ‘only’ that of not conceding a goal for the ‘big four’ European leagues. According to Algemeen Dagblad (Dutch) those are the leagues of England, Spain, Italy and Germany. […]

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