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The Ones That Got Away…Shay Given

Full Name: Seamus "Shay" Given
Date of Birth: 20th April 1976, Lifford
Nationality: Irish
Position: Goalkeeper
Internationals: Over 70 caps for the Republic of Ireland
Signed: 1994 (from Celtic)
Left: 1997 (Sold for £1.5 million to Newcastle United)
Clubs: (Prior to Rovers) Celtic, (after Rovers) Newcastle United

Shay Given, one of the finest goalkeepers in the Premiership at the moment would be brought to Blackburn Rovers by Kenny Dalglish, unfortunately for him at the time he would be up against and England International...

The Irish goalkeeper would be playing for his local men's side, Lifford Celtic by the time he was 14-years-old, and these appearances during the FAI's Junior Cup as Lifford advanced to the semi finals would be enough to alert the attention of Scottish giants Celtic.

When aged just 15 Given was invited to join Celtic by Liam Brady when they toured Ireland, signing for the club at 16-years-old. For the next two years he would represent Celtic at U18 level, being able to make the substitutes bench for the Old Firm game with Glasgow Rangers early in 1994.

Kenny Dalglish brought Given to Ewood Park for the 1994-1995 Championship winning season but in three-years with the club Given would only be able to make three first team appearances, always performing superbly well when called upon.

With the then England International Tim Flowers, although not the England number One as opposition for Given, with Flowers in his prime during Given's time with Rovers the Irishman would be very unlucky.

In order to gain first team football Given would have loan spells firstly with Swindon Town in 1995 and then, and spectacularly Sunderland in 1996, and it would be whilst with them that he would first be called into the Republic of Ireland squad.

In 17 games with Sunderland he kept an incredible 16 clean sheets. He would also win a Division One Champions medal when Sunderland won the Title despite not being with them when it was achieved, his ten or more matches needed qualified him for the honour.

Upon taking over at Newcastle United Shay Given would be one of Kenny Dalglish`s first signings in 1997 for £1.5 million. He would almost immediately become the number one at St James' Park, remaining so almost ever since.

His consistent performances have seen him named in the PFA team of the Year in both the 2001-2002 and 2005-2006 seasons, as well as amounting over 70 International caps with the Republic of Ireland, being their number one, as he has for so many years, in the 2002 World Cup Finals.

Had it not been for competition from the great Tim Flowers, Shay Given could have still been at Rovers now? Despite eventually seeing the fantastic Brad Friedel arriving that not many would swap for anyone, Shay Given certainly is one that got away...

The above information is as accurate to my knowledge as possible, up to and including 26th September 2006.

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The Journalist

Writer: Walker Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday October 1 2006

Time: 9:42AM

Your Comments

Quality keeper isn't he, but I'd guess if he was at Ewood now he'd be out injured! Would mean Jason Brown would be getting a chance to shine, assuming Brad Friedel wouldn't have been signed anyway? We'll never know!
Hughes Da Man
It's interesting because most Rovers would have loved to have kept Shay after seeing his performance for Newcastle but then we wouldn't have our hero Brad. I would rather have Brad!!!
roversman
well ive never seen Tim Flowers play but from what ive herd he wasnt too bad same though if we had shay now or a few years back just think of where we would be now he is a class keeper but if we did have him would we of got friedel or brown ? We will never know
marshinrover
Flowers was pure quality, had David Seaman not been around at the time he'd have been the England number one for years! Given was always too good to play second fiddle, even to the great Flowers. Had Given stayed and played Flowers would have gone, so at the time Flowers was the right choice. Don't think Friedel would have arrived had Given stayed, Brown would have though. Interesting to try and think what might have been had he not have been one that got away...
Hughes Da Man
Hi Da Man i wanted to say that all the newspappers here in Egypt sais that Blackburn has begun negotiations with another Egyptian Center back called Amir Azmy Megahed who palyes for FC poak the greek football club so if u can check and know if this is true or not i would be gratful .
Roversguy
I dont even remember him at Rovers!!!
simmy8_2000
I had read something somewhere about Rovers maybe picking up a defender and now, not waiting until January so maybe Megahed is the one?
Hughes Da Man
He was at Ewood simmy8_2000 just couldn't get a look in because of Tim Flowers, although he was very young at the time. Would have only been what 18 when he arrived, 21 when he left.
Hughes Da Man
Given was def a good keeper but like was said when he was at the club he wouldnt have got a chance, Flowers was great but do think Friedel is the best the club have had in a long long time, up there with Hendry as one of the best players i've seen play in the clubs colours
Clint
True Clint, can't complain with who they had in Flowers, who they got in Friedel and who they will eventually have now in Brown can we! Hendry will take his place in the Where are they now section soon, probably legends section also.
Hughes Da Man
Flowers was a superb shot stopper which he proved on VE day against Newcastle, which more or less sealed the Premiership title for us, winning the MoM. Personally, as good as "England's No.1" was, I wouldve rather kept Shay an lost Tim, as Shay had youth on his side, the loan to Sunderland did us NO favours whatsoever as the entire country then knew what we had hidden away in our reserve team. Would I take Shay over Bradders? thats a very tough one, after seeing them both play, with hindsight, maybe King Kenny did us a favour taking Given to the Toon as I firmly believe the Freidel is One of the Greatest goalkeepers to have played in England and i still think hes in the top 10 in Europe, MAYBE even in the world. To quantify that statement, give him a free transfer and see who comes in for him! United wanted hime before they got Van Der Sar!
BomBom
this guy is a hero of mine along with brad(dont ask me to pick) but i like him based on his heroics in the irish shirt has saved us from a hiding many a time!
dunne deal
 

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