Edwin Van der Sar's record run in Manchester United's goal called into question

05 February 2009 05:58
Having eclipsed Steve Death's 31-year-old English league record by extending his Premier League shut-out run to 1,122 minutes during United's 1-0 victory against Everton at Old Trafford last Saturday, Van der Sar apparently edged to within 75 minutes of breaking the British record set by former England goalkeeper Woods with Rangers in the 1986-87 season.

Woods, now working as goalkeeping coach at Everton, had his 1,196 minute clean-sheet run ended by policeman Adrian Sprott in a 1-0 Scottish Cup humbling against Hamilton in January 1987.

But the 49-year-old insisted that his British record will remain intact for at least another four games after citing Hideo Hashimoto's injury-time goal, which was conceded by Van der Sar during United's 5-3 victory against Gamba Osaka in the Fifa Club World Cup semi-final in Japan on Dec 18, as the key factor.

Woods said: "Edwin's achievement in breaking the Football League record last week was an unbelievable feat but, as far as I'm concerned, he is still quite a way from beating my British record.

"Nobody seems to be counting the goal he conceded in Japan, but if you take that into consideration, then his run in all competitions stands at nine games or 810 minutes.

"It was obviously a Fifa-recognised fixture, so I would have thought that any goals conceded in that game would count towards a British record. We are not just talking about league fixtures because my record covered both league and cup games."

Domestically, Van der Sar's unbeaten run stretches back to Samir Nasri's strike in the 2-1 defeat at Arsenal on Nov 8 and bookmakers have been offering odds since early last week on the Dutchman breaking not only Death's English record, but the British mark held by Woods and Abel Resino's world record figure of 1,275 minutes.

But with Woods's record relating to aggregate minutes without a goal in all competitions, he is confident that he will continue to hold a place in the history books.

He said: "I should have had a bet on Edwin not breaking my record when the odds came out because he is still more than four games away from my total if you take into account the game in Japan.

"He might actually go on and beat it and, if he does, then I will be the first to congratulate him, but he is still some distance away from achieving it."

Source: Telegraph