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Sunday, 29 December 2013
BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY : AFRO- BRITISH " DAVID BENJAMIN JAMES MBE " IS A PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALLER WHO PLAYED FOR ENGLAND, LIVERPOOL AND A HOST OF OTHER TEAMS : GOES INTO THE " HALL OF BLACK GENIUS "
BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY David Benjamin James MBE born 1 August 1970 is an English former footballer who played as a goalkeeper as well as being a coach with Luton Town. He is also a regular pundit on BT Sport football coverage. On 14 February 2009, he achieved the all-time Premier League appearance record with 536 appearances, overtaking Gary Speed. He held this record until being overtaken by Ryan Giggs on 14 May 2011.He was capped 53 times by England between 1997 and 2010, and was first choice goalkeeper during both Euro 2004 and the 2010 World Cup. James also holds the Premier League record for most clean sheets, with 173. James was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to football and charity.
Having started his career with Watford he went on to feature in the Premier League for Liverpool, Aston Villa, West Ham United, Manchester City and Portsmouth. He gained a Football League Cup winner's medal with Liverpool in 1995, and an FA Cup winner's medal with Portsmouth in 2008 as well as runners-up medals with Aston Villa in 2000, Liverpool in 1996 and Portsmouth in 2010. In 2010, he became the oldest goalkeeper to appear in the FA Cup Final at 39. In October 2013 he took a training session at Luton Town FC, the club he has supported since childhood.
Born in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, James grew up supporting Luton Town. He signed as a trainee with Luton's local rivals Watford upon leaving school, and was first selected for the first team in 1989. In his days as a youth player, he helped Watford win the FA Youth Cup. Following the departure of Tony Coton, James made his league debut on 25 August 1990 in a 1–2 defeat against Millwall, and his performance resulted in an England U-21 call-up for a match against the Republic of Ireland. He earned a total of ten caps for the U-21s.
At club level, James made 89 first-team appearances for Watford, and was named the club's Player of the Season for the 1990–91 season, when he kept goal in all 46 Second Division games as Watford escaped relegation. He was signed for £1.25m by Liverpool on 6 July 1992. In 2008, James was inducted into the Watford Hall of Fame for his services to the club.
James made his Liverpool debut on 16 August 1992 in a 1–0 league defeat to Nottingham Forest.[After conceding twenty goals in eleven matches in the first half of the 1993–94, he was dropped in favour of veteran Bruce Grobbelaar, but was recalled to the starting line-up and kept his first clean sheet of the season in a 1–0 away win over Arsenal on 31 January 1993, which included a penalty save. He also received a runners-up medal in 1996 in the FA Cup while being on the losing side against Man Utd.
James rose to fame together with Liverpool team mates Steve McManaman, Jamie Redknapp, and Robbie Fowler, who were nicknamed the "Spice Boys" – an epithet named after the Spice Girls that was used by those who alleged the Liverpool team of the 1990's were more focused on partying than winning games. James' frequent blunders earned him the nickname Calamity James. He put down his spate of errors to an overindulgence in playing computer games that in turn affected his concentration. Despite winning the 1995 Football League Cup, James' hold on the starting position was put in jeopardy with the acquisition of Brad Friedel. On 23 June 1999, after 277 games for Liverpool, he was sold to Aston Villa for £1.8m.
James made his Villa debut on 7 August 1999, and kept a clean sheet in a 1–0 away win over Newcastle United in the opening Premier League game, and was decisive in a penalty shoot-out against Bolton Wanderers in the 2000 FA Cup semi-final, but then was at fault for Chelsea's winning goal in the ensuing final, the last to be staged at the old Wembley.
After just two years and 85 appearances, James moved to West Ham United for £3.5 million on 11 July 2001, signing a four-year contract. However, a serious knee injury sustained while on international duty kept him out for several months.
James made his debut for West Ham on 24 November 2001 in a 1–0 home loss to Tottenham Hotspur. In 2002–03, West Ham were relegated to the First Division. James stayed with West Ham at the start of the 2003–04 season before returning to the Premier League, signing for Manchester City on 14 January 2004 for an undisclosed fee as a replacement for the retired David Seaman. He played 102 total games in all competitions for West Ham.
James made his Manchester City debut on 17 January 2004 in a 1–1 home draw with Blackburn Rovers. City won only four of the seventeen matches that James started, two of which came after James saved penalties against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leicester City. James claims exploring the field of sport psychology has improved his skills as a goalkeeper to improve his saving penalty kicks.
On the last day of the 2004–05 season, James was playing for City who needed to beat Middlesbrough to qualify for the UEFA Cup. With five minutes remaining the score was 1–1, when City's manager Stuart Pearce substituted midfielder Claudio Reyna for the substitute goalkeeper Nicky Weaver, and James was moved to play in attack for the remainder of the game. The unusual tactic almost worked when, in injury time, Middlesbrough defender Franck Queudrue conceded a penalty by handling a cross that was aimed at James. However, Robbie Fowler's penalty was saved by Middlesbrough goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer and so City did not qualify for the UEFA Cup.
On 10 August 2006, James, who had separated from his wife, stated that he needed to leave Manchester City to be closer to his children, who lived in London. Manchester City confirmed they had accepted a bid from Portsmouth. Two days later, he joined Portsmouth for £1.2 million, signing a two-year deal.
James kept clean sheets in his first five appearances for Portsmouth. On 22 April 2007, James kept his 142nd Premier League clean sheet in a goalless draw with Aston Villa, breaking the record of 141 previously held by David Seaman. At the end of 2006–07, James was named Portsmouth's player of the season.
James has made the most league appearances of any goalkeeper since the formation of the Premier League over fifteen seasons, in addition to conceding the most goals. On 30 January 2008, in a league match against Manchester United, he became the third player (after Gary Speed and Ryan Giggs) to cross the 500-match threshold.
James signed a one-year contract extension in May 2007, which kept him at Fratton Park until the end of the 2008–09 season. He then played a role in Portsmouth's victory over Liverpool in the pre-season Barclays Asia Trophy 2007 saving two penalties in the ensuing shoot-out, and won the 2008 FA Cup in a 1–0 victory over Cardiff City at Wembley Stadium. On 8 November 2008, he made his hundredth appearance for Portsmouth.
He holds the distinction of twice having been the record holder for consecutive Premier League appearances, with 159 during his Liverpool days from February 1994 to February 1998, and 166 between Manchester City and Portsmouth from 2006 to 2008; both streaks were eventually topped by Chelsea's Frank Lampard and Tottenham Hotspur's Brad Friedel, respectively.
On 14 February 2009 against Manchester City, James made his 536th Premier League appearance, breaking Gary Speed's all-time record.
On 22 April 2009, Times Online named James as the 15th greatest player in Portsmouth's history.
James captained Portsmouth in the FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur where Portsmouth won 2–0 in extra time, describing the experience as "superb". He also captained the team in the final as Portsmouth were beaten 1–0 by double winners Chelsea.
His contract expired at the end of the 2009–10 season, and he expressed interest in succeeding Avram Grant as Portsmouth manager, though this came to nothing. The club offered him a new playing contract, but withdrew the offer after he failed to commit to the club, therefore James left Portsmouth and became a Free Agent.
James signed a one-year contract with Bristol City on 30 July 2010 to take effect 1 August with the option of a second year. He stated that he hoped that his performances at the club would keep him on the radar for the England team and that his decision to join them was motivated by a desire to be closer to his family home in Devon.
James' league debut for Bristol came on 7 August 2010 in a 3–0 defeat to Millwall. On 11 February 2011, the eve of his 850th club appearance, James announced he had signed a contract extension with the club until June 2012. On 10 March 2012, James reached 900 club appearances in a game against Cardiff City in the Severn side derby, in which he was made captain as a mark of respect.
He was released by Bristol City on 1 May 2012, and in July 2012 began training with Exeter City.
On 27 September 2012 he arrived at Dean Court to train with Bournemouth, signing a one season deal to play for them the following day. However he did not see out the contract, leaving the club by mutual consent in March 2013.
On 2 April 2013, James signed a deal with Icelandic club ÍBV until the end of the 2013 season. ÍBV is coached by James' former teammate Hermann Hreiðarsson. The chairman of the ÍBV board stated that James was not on high wages while also stating that he wished some Icelandic players would accept the wages James was on. He also went on to say that James was mainly playing for ÍBV out of kindness and to gain experience as an assistant manager and as a coach. Following his arrival at ÍBV, attendance has been much higher than in previous years.
During October 2013, It was announced that James had joined the conference side Luton Town as a goalkeeping coach to gain experience.
After making one England under-21 appearance whilst at Watford, James made his full debut for Glenn Hoddle's England in a friendly against Mexico on 29 March 1997 when he was a Liverpool player. He also kept his first international clean sheet as England beat Mexico 2–0 with goals from Teddy Sheringham and James' Liverpool team mate Robbie Fowler. He was in the provisional 28 man squad for Euro 2000 before missing the final cut.
James is the only black goalkeeper to represent England as a full international.
For several years he had to play understudy to England's regular keeper, David Seaman. When Seaman was dropped after making a mistake against FYR Macedonia in 2002, James became the new England number 1. He retained his place in the England team even after West Ham's relegation to the First Division in 2003, and was the only player from outside the top flight to win an England cap between 1999 (Michael Gray) and 2007 (David Nugent). He went on to play in all of England's matches in Euro 2004.
James was dropped from the starting XI after an error in a 2–2 World Cup qualifying draw against Austria in September 2004, his place being taken by Tottenham's Paul Robinson.
James came on as a halftime substitute and conceded all four goals in the 4–1 drubbing England suffered at the hands of Denmark during a friendly on 17 August 2005 – their worst defeat in 25 years. James still remained part of the England squad, and was selected as the second-choice goalkeeper behind Robinson for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, though he did not play.
Along with fellow veterans David Beckham and Sol Campbell, James was dropped from the England squad at the start of Steve McClaren's reign and was not called up during the 2006–07 season. He was recalled for the friendly with Germany on 22 August 2007, over a year since first being omitted. James subsequently played the whole of the second half of England's 2–1 defeat to Germany as a substitute for Robinson. In so doing, James became the first Portsmouth player to play for the senior England team since Mark Hateley in 1984. However, Scott Carson was chosen ahead of both James and Robinson for the decisive Euro 2008 qualifier against Croatia on 21 November 2007. England lost the match and Carson was blamed for Croatia's opening goal.Following England's failure to qualify for Euro 2008 McClaren was sacked as England manager and replaced by Fabio Capello. James was subsequently critical of McClaren's treatment of England's goalkeepers.
On 7 February 2008, James was selected as goalkeeper for Capello's first match in charge, a friendly against Switzerland. It was James' first start for England since the friendly with Colombia in May 2005. James firmly re-established himself as England's first choice goalkeeper, starting in each of Capello's first 13 games in charge. Persistent injury problems over the following year left James' hopes of retaining the No. 1 spot for the 2010 World Cup in doubt, with Capello stating he would only consider players who were 100% for his squad. After the World Cup qualifier against Ukraine on 1 April 2009, James did not start a match for England until the final friendly before the World Cup against Japan on 30 May 2010.
Prior to the tournament he was backed to reclaim the number one shirt by former England goalkeepers Gordon Banks and David Seaman.
On 3 June 2010, it was confirmed that James would be travelling to the World Cup Finals in South Africa, and would be allocated the number 1 jersey. He was the oldest footballer in the tournament. He was not selected for the first game of the World Cup against the United States with Robert Green starting in the England goal. However, Green made an error that allowed Clint Dempsey to score an equaliser that resulted in the game being drawn. James returned to the starting line-up in the next game, keeping a clean sheet against Algeria on 18 June 2010. In doing so James became the oldest ever World Cup debutant at the age of 39 years and 321 days. Five days later, he kept another clean sheet as England won against Slovenia 1–0 to ensure that they would reach the last 16, although they finished second in Group C behind the United States.