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Memories are for keeps for Joe Corrigan

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14 May 2010 14:13:27

Joe Corrigan in his City daysMaybe it has something to do with the name, but Manchester City appear to have a tradition for producing top goalkeepers called Joe who go on to play for England. Big Joe Corrigan was the star of yesteryear and now scouts for his country on a part-time basis after retiring as coach 12 months ago. He was talented enough to have won a lot more than nine caps for England, and was only prevented from doing so by the brilliance of rivals Peter Shilton and Ray Clemence during a golden era of home-grown goalkeepers. If only England were spoiled for such choice now on the eve of the World Cup in South Africa as Fabio Capello agonises over the No 1 role. There are many who believe that 23-year-old Joe Hart was in such dazzling form last season for Birmingham during a loan spell from City that he could provide the answer at international level. Capello has named Hart, David James and Robert Green in his provisional 30-man squad for South Africa. Consistent "I watched Joe Hart five times working for England last season and sent in five good reports about him," said Corrigan. "He played the best on a consistent basis out of all the lads I've seen. I'm not going to tell you who'll play for England at the World Cup because I'm not the manager. "They had to take David James, assuming he's fit, because of his experience. He didn't have the best of seasons but he did well. You've also got to take Robert Green, who played all season but also made a few howlers. "Even if Joe Hart doesn't play, it'll give him a fantastic taste for what he can do and I'm sure if he progresses the same way that he has done over the last couple of years he'll be a No 1 for a long time." Corrigan made more than 600 appearances for City - only Alan Oakes played more games - and is still a hugely popular figure at the club where he is now a match-day host. Another big question is what role Hart plays at City next season with Shay Given having been first-choice goalkeeper. "I know Joe will want to play and that was the case with me. It's no good being sat on the bench," said Corrigan. "Who plays is down to the management but Joe has just had a great season and he won't want to sit on the bench next season, ever for that matter. "The worst scenario is that he comes back and isn't in the first team. You have a disgruntled player who's had a great season, gone to a World Cup and is sat on a bench. That's a recipe for dressing room disharmony." Corrigan, now 59, enjoys his limited involvement with the game after retiring from his job as goalkeeping coach at West Brom. "During the season my weekends have been tied up doing corporate work with City or helping the FA by watching goalkeepers at all levels. It means that in the week I can play more golf although my game's not improved. It's a year since I retired and it's not been difficult but different. "After 42 years in the professional game it's a big wrench and you miss the camaraderie of the dressing room." Corrigan spent a decade as goalkeeping coach at Liverpool, a role he had previously filled in a part-time capacity at Maine Road. "A lot of people ask me why I was never goalkeeping coach at City but I was actually for a very short period of time. "Peter Reid was the manager and he decided that my services were no longer needed. I know the role was available for selection but that's in the past." Corrigan established himself in the City side in 1969. Magical "It was a phenomenal team and we won the League Cup and European Cup Winners' Cup in 1970. I also got into the England under-23 team that year. "It was just a magical era as proved by the number of trophies we won in a short space of time." He was in the reserves along with Ray Hatton - Ricky's father - when City won the championship in 1968. "The day we won the league Ray and me missed the train because of all the celebrations in Newcastle so Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison stuck us on the back of the team bus coming home. "It was an unforgettable experience and as a young kid it made me realise I wanted more." Corrigan will be supporting England at the World Cup - he was a member of the 1982 squad - and is unsure about the country's chances. "A lot depends on the fitness of players in vital positions," he said. "The Premier League is the hardest league in the world with all the domestic and European matches played by the top players. Wayne Rooney has played a lot of games and is Rio Ferdinand going to be ready for a long World Cup campaign? "I think the finals are far too big now and should be cut down by at least one round. I'm not having a downer on any country that's got there but there are some countries that should be eliminated at another stage during the season. "The tournament lasts a long time and the demands mean it's going to take a hell of a lot out of the English players next season, and the players in the Spanish, Italian and German leagues as well for that matter. "I saw the Africa Cup of Nations and overall it was the worst performance of goalkeeping I have ever seen in my life. It was shocking, admittedly not all of them were bad but it does make me worry. "For me they are not being taught the right things. Too many keepers punch the ball and you don't know where it is going to end up, whereas if you have the ball in your hands the next thing you're doing is attacking and not defending." What are your memories of Joe? Have your say.| Submit Comments| Comments (17)| PrintWhat's this? Emaildel.icio.usDiggredditFacebookStumbleUponNewsvineGoogle BookmarksNetscapeTechnoratiWindows LiveYahoo! MyWebMa.gnolia


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