Peter Schmeichel Career Peter Schmeichel Career

Peter Schmeichel

Personal information
Honours with United

1999 European Champions League
1999 F.A. Premier League
1999 F.A. Cup
1997 F.A. Premier League
1996 F.A. Cup
1996 F.A. Premier League
1994 F.A. Cup
1994 F.A. Premier League
1993 F.A. Premier League
1992 League Cup

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Peter Schmeichel is without question the greatest Goalkeeper in the history of Manchester United. In fact, although comparisons over time are difficult, he could likely be the greatest Goalkeeper of all-time. It is impossible to find a weakness or flaw in this man mountain of a player, in every department he was pure class through and through. Ultra-competitiveness, aggression and unlimited motivation made this "Great Dane" a seemingly unbreachable fortress.

Born in Gladsaxe, Denmark, he was a United supporter as a boy and his idol was 80's stopper, Gary Bailey. He began playing often as a striker but his real talent was found to be in goal. Soon Schmeichel was playing as a professional for local side Hvidшvre, but he really made his reputation when he moved to top Copenhagen side Brondby. Peter Schmeichel

Alex Ferguson spotted his potential and took him to Old Trafford in August 1991 for the ridiculously small sum of £500,000. No disrespect to Les Sealy and Jim Leighton but the Goalkeeping position had always been a problem area at United.

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The big man solved that and the trophies soon rolled in: League Cup in 1992, Premier League in 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997 and 1999 plus 3 FA Cups to make three "Doubles". And, of course the crowning glory of that unforgettable Champions League victory in the 1999 Treble season.

He decided to leave English football at the end of the 1999 season because the gruelling 60 game a season schedule at United was threatening to undermine his high standards at the age of 35. In the less intense environment of Sporting Lisbon in 2000 (his first season) he helped them win their first League title in 17 years. Schmeichel played his last International for Denmark against Slovenia in April 2001 having won a record 129 Danish caps. Peter Schmeichel

There was a final twist in the tail however, that shocked everyone in the football world, as Schmeichel returned to the Premiership with Aston Villa on a free transfer in July 2001. An even greater shock came for United fans when he was signed by Kevin Keegan for Manchester City at the start of the 2002 season, again on a free. He proved he was still a great stopper but his time at Maine Road was blighted by injury and Peter finally retired from professional football for good in May 2003.

 The Master of the one-on-one

When it came to shot stopping from long-range the Great Dane was unrivalled, he was rarely ever beaten from outside the box in his whole United career. Not only that, but from close range he was the master. In his school days playing Handball he had perfected a strange star-shaped jump to cover as much of the goal as possible. Peter Schmeichel When it came to a one-on-one attacker versus goalkeeper situation, Schmeichel was the best in the world. If an opposing player managed to break through the United defence and find himself with only big Peter to beat, Schmeichel would come charging out to narrow the angle. Spreading his huge frame high and wide in a star shape, this both put the player off and made the target to aim at smaller than a bottle-top.

 The great saves 

His great saves are far too many to mention but highlights must be: his title winning performance away to Newcastle in 1996 when he withstood the black and white siege for 90 minutes and United won 1-0. His stunning save against Rapid Vienna later in 1996 was one of the all-time greats, similar to Gordon Banks against Pele, demonstrating amazing reflexes. Schmeichel Peter Then there was his legendary last minute penalty save in the epic 1999 FA Cup Semi-final replay against Arsenal to deny Dennis Bergkamp. Schmeichel Peter

His point blank save against Inter Milan's Zamorano in 1999 was another outstanding reflex save. For Denmark he was instrumental in the 1992 European Championships in Sweden. Pulling off a string of vital stops he helped the rank outsiders defy the odds and lift the trophy with a 2-0 win over Germany in the final. He even scored for Denmark from the penalty spot in a friendly International against Belgium in June 2000.

 Goalkeeping innovator

Not only was Schmeichel a master of all the arts of goal-keeping, he created some new ones of his own. Amazingly for a goalie he was a serious attacking threat, his long powerful throws out to Giggs or Beckham started a fair amount of United's counter-attacks, usually from corners. Teams would be pressurising United one moment, then find Schmeichel had caught the ball, launched a torpedo of a throw to Giggs and ripped their defence open.

One of the most bizarre sights was when, if United were losing late in a game and got a corner, Schmeichel would leave his goal and come up into the opposition box. The sight of him going up for the corner was a great distraction to opposing defenders - this giant Viking marauding like a madman. Schmeichel even scored once in such circumstances, a goal against Rotor Volgograd in 1995. Then, in the dying seconds of his final ever game for the reds, the European Cup final against Bayern Munich with United 1-0 down into injury time, there he was causing havoc again. And it worked!

 Footballing perfectionist

Schmeichel brought a confidence to not only the defence but the whole team. As well as being the best he was also the loudest. Never afraid to vent his feelings or anger at his own defenders if he thought they made an error, his huge bellowing voice could be heard ringing throughout the ground. And the wrath of Schmeichel was frequent, he was a perfectionist, a footballing obsessive.

If a goal was scored past him he took it as a personal insult, even in training he would get annoyed at team mates who put one past him. Schmeichel shouting at his defenders became a common site in the 1990's but the defenders themselves actually benefited greatly from it. He helped focus their attention, they could never go to sleep with him behind them. Schmeichel made them concentrate that bit more and from his deep position he could spot threats and dangers that they could not always see - and alert them. He would co-ordinate the whole defence instilling confidence by his constant vocal presence. The players always knew the big bloke was back there in control.


No player could ever hope to better Peter Schmeichel's departure from Manchester United. Winning the Premier League, FA Cup, captaining the side to victory in the European Cup Final and getting his hands on that famous cup. The Treble was a fairy tale end to his years of glory and a thoroughly deserved triumph for this ultimate professional.

People always said that Schmeichel was worth 12 points a season to United. Without him how many trophies would United have won? How many times did he prevent that last minute vital goal being conceded or stop Bergkamp, Shearer, Owen, Zidane, Ronaldo.... the list goes on. A few years ago if the question was asked: "Who was the most important player for Manchester United of the 1990s?" the answer would almost certainly have been Eric Cantona. Now, in retrospect, could it be argued the answer to that question is Peter Schmeichel?

He was the ultimate last line of defence, a rock upon which to build a mighty empire. For nine years, the big man saved United's footballing skin and was a fundamental part in creating Alex Ferguson's many triumphs. Alongside Shilton, Zoff, Jennings and Yashin, Peter Schmeichel will always be remembered as one of the greatest Goalkeepers the world has ever seen. Schmeichel Peter

Schmeichel trivia

The name "Schmeichel" is not Scandinavian in origin because his father was Polish. His mother was Danish.

The Dane is an avid musician. He is can play the piano and also enjoys the drums, flute and guitar. His father is a professional pianist and his mother and sisters also play.

Peter has starred in adverts for Danepak Bacon (singing a song), Sugar Puff's (taking on the Honey monster), Reebok and Pepsi.

On the ITV soap Coronation Street, character Les Battersby named his family's dog (a Great Dane) 'Schmeichel'.

Schmeichel wore a goalkeeper shirt sized XXXL Schmeichel Peter

He scored a fantastic scissor-kick last minute equaliser against Wimbledon in an FA Cup 4th round replay in 1997. Sadly it was ruled out because he was offside. Schmeichel Peter

His son, Kasper Schmeichel plays as goalkeeper for Manchester City. He was called up for the Danish U-19 squad in August 2003 and has played on loan with League Two side Darlington.

He used to work as a pundit for the BBC until 2005, when he was ditched reportedly for his "longwinded sentences". Now he hosts live Champions League-matches on Danish television channel TV3+. Schmeichel Peter

Schmeichel received an honorary MBE in 2000. In 2003 he was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame and in 2004 was named as one of the 125 greatest living footballers, at the FIFA 100 celebrations.

Schmeichel is famous for his intimidating physique (he is 1.93&_160;m (6&_160;ft&_160;4&_160;in) tall and wears specially-made size XXXL football shirts) and his attacking threat. During his career, Schmeichel scored 11 goals, including one for the Danish national team, a great feat for a keeper. He is also the most capped player for the Denmark national team, with 129 games between 1987 and 2001. Apart from Euro 92, he played for his country at the 1998 FIFA World Cup and three additional European Championship tournaments. He captained the national team in 30 matches.
Schmeichel is also known for his trademark shouts at his defence. He would often yell out at the defenders in charge of helping him defend the goal for blunders and poor defending and would occasionally single out various individuals in the defence to make his feelings heard.
Today, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of football. The IFFHS ranked Schmeichel among the top ten keepers of the 20th century in 2000,[1] and in 2001, Schmeichel won a public poll held by Reuters, when the majority of the 200,000 participants voted him as the best goalkeeper ever, ahead of Lev Yashin and Gordon Banks.[2] In 2003, Schmeichel was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in recognition of his impact on the English game. In March 2004, he was named as one of the "125 greatest living footballers", at the FIFA 100 celebrations.

Nobody could have predicted the difficulty United would have had in finding a stable goalkeeper since Peter Schmeichel’s departure at the end of the Treble winning season.
From van der Gouw to Bosnich, Taibi to Bathez, Howard to Carroll, United have seen many a costly mistake from our men between the posts, with it appearing as though we’d never find someone suitable to fill the gap left by the Great Dane.
Fabian Barthez was the first keeper to show any real sign of promise, after having a great debut season with United when joining at the start of the 2000-2001 season. The fans loved his eccentric nature and his shot stopping ability.
Following his first season, feelings on the keeper were mixed. He made more and more costly mistakes which appeared to be avoidable if not for him clowning around. What was once a source of great entertainment for United fans turned to frustration. From this point on, his form was very up and down, showing signs of his former greatness at times, which was then counterbalanced by silly mistakes at crucial times.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s patience ran out following that epic European Cup quarter final against Real Madrid in 2003, where we were knocked out by goal difference despite winning the game at Old Trafford 4-3. Barthez was dropped for the remaining games of the season with Roy Carroll taking his place.
Tim Howard was the next keeper who seemed able to take on the pressure of replacing Peter Schmeichel, joining United at the start of the 2003-2004 season. In his debut, he saved the crucial penalty in the shoot out of the Community Shield against Arsenal and seemed to have a promising future.
He had a great first season for United and was named PFA Goalkeeper of the season, ahead of Chelsea’s Carlo Cudicini and Arsenal’s Jens Lehmann in their unbeaten season. However, it was towards the close of that season that Howard made a costly error in United’s Champions League match against Jose Mourinho’s Porto.
United fans will remember this game for the linesman’s decision to wrongly rule out Scholes’ second of the game, which would have put us 2-0 up, and Mourinho’s dance when the injury time equaliser hit the back of the net. Howard’s confidence was shattered and was replaced for the last month of the season with Roy Carroll.
However, Howard got his place back for United’s victorious FA Cup final and became the first American to collect a winner’s medal in the competition. His decline had already started though and he shared the following season with Carroll, both making costly errors every few months and finding themselves swapping their starting place for the bench each time this happened.
Edwin Van der Sar has been our most reliable keeper since Schmeichel, joining the club in the summer of 2005, some six years after he should have signed for us, but instead went to Juventus, then Fulham. What a different few years United might have had if Van der Sar had taken over from Schmeichel the season after the Dane left. Upon signing a recent contract renewal with the club, Fergie spoke of his regret for not signing the Dutch keeper sooner.

Manchester City keeper Kasper Schmeichel is on the brink of a one-month loan deal with Cardiff.
Blues officials have confirmed the move is "95% done" with just the final stages of paper work to be completed.
Manchester City boss Sven Goran Eriksson said: "This does not mean Kasper has no future here, he just needs to get some games."
The deal means the young Dane will go into the Bluebirds squad for Saturday's game against Scunthorpe.
Schmeichel had been due to join Coventry but that deal collapsed earlier this week amid the midlands outfit's current financial problems.
The 20-year-old started the campaign as Eriksson's first choice, appearing in the opening seven games of their impressive start to the Premier League campaign.
However, Schmeichel, son of Manchester United legend Peter, lost his place to Joe Hart for the home win over Newcastle earlier this month and has been frozen out ever since.

Peter Schmeichel

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