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Greatest Pilgrim Goalkeepers: 15-11

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14 June 2019

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THE Greatest Pilgrims, voted for by the Green Army, lists the top 25 Argyle legends in all positions and we start with the goalkeepers.

Greatest Pilgrim Goalkeepers
Milija Aleksic
Ranked No. 15

Conceding a penalty to Brazilian legend of football Pele will always be a happy footnote to the Argyle career of goalkeeper Milija Aleksic, who was between the sticks when the Pilgrims famously beat Santos 3-2 in a friendly at Home Park in 1973.

Pele may have got the better of Aleksic from the spot but few other strikers enjoyed such success against a goalkeeper who built the foundations of his career in just under two years as the Pilgrim custodian.

Blessed with incredible agility and an insatiable appetite for the game, Aleksic began his football journey at Port Vale but had drifted into non-league football when Argyle picked him up in 1973.

He would go on to play a vital role in the side that won promotion to Division Two. While Aleksic fell out of favour at Home Park, a move to Luton propelled him back into the limelight and his talent was recognised by Tottenham Hotspur.

He won cult status with Spurs after helping the club win the 1981 FA Cup. Aleksic later moved to South Africa and sadly died in 2012 at the age of just 61.

Greatest Pilgrim Goalkeepers
Remi Matthews
Ranked No. 14

Stellar performances across two relatively brief loan spells were enough to earn Remi Matthews cult status among the Green Army.

A graduate of the youth system at Norwich City, Matthews enjoyed loan spells at Burton Albion, Doncaster Rovers and Hamilton Academical before he was signed in an emergency deal by Argyle boss Derek Adams.

Arriving amid one of the more bizarre goalkeeping periods in Pilgrim history, with Luke McCormick, Robbert te Loeke and Kyle Letheren all out injured, Remi made a spectacular debut, keeping a clean sheet in helping Argyle to their first win in 15 games.

Matthews was growing in stature when, unbelievably, he was also hit by the injury curse. It proved to be a relatively brief relapse, as he swiftly returned for a second loan after receiving treatment at Norwich.

He became a star performer as Argyle surged up the table in the second half of the 2017-18 campaign and established his reputation as an outstanding young goalkeeper. He now holds the gloves at Bolton Wanderers.

Greatest Pilgrim Goalkeepers
Pat Dunne
Ranked No. 13

Republic of Ireland international Pat Dunne was one of the legendary Busby Babes at Manchester United in the early 1960s and was developing into a superb goalkeeper when his Old Trafford progress was stalled by the arrival of Alex Stepney as the new number one.

Argyle pounced for his signature in 1967 and Dunne immediately impressed the Green Army with a superb debut campaign, winning the Player of the Season award at Home Park.

Dunne was simply incredible between the sticks, a brilliant shot-stopper and fearless to the point of being almost reckless. His determination and bravery made Dunne a genuine Home Park hero.

It was a sad day when Dunne decided to return to his home country and sign for Shamrock Rovers, where he remained for the rest of a fine career. He later moved into coaching and sadly died in 2015 at the age of 72.

Greatest Pilgrim Goalkeepers
Fred Craig
Ranked No. 12

Fred Craig’s wonderful Argyle career was spread across 18 years and included 467 outings as a Pilgrim, making him number four in the list of all-time appearances for our club.

After a junior career in his native Scotland, Fred signed for Argyle in 1912 and gradually took over the number one jersey from the iconic Tich Horne. World War 1 interrupted his progress but Fred became a legend when football resumed in 1919.

He was a permanent figure over the next decade and set a club record when conceding just 26 league goals in the 1921-22 campaign. Blessed with great height, Fred was a colossus in his penalty area, dominating in the air.

Such was his statue, Fred also took some important penalties for Argyle and scored five goals. He was captain of the side in his final season as a Pilgrim, helping to win the Third Division South title.

Fred Craig finished his career with a short spell at Barrow and a true legend of Argyle, who left us in 1970.

Greatest Pilgrim Goalkeepers
Dave MacLaren
Ranked No. 11

Another in the list of great Argyle goalkeepers from Scotland, Dave MacLaren arrived at Home Park in 1960 after learning his trade with three years at Leicester City.

Over five years as a Pilgrim, MacLaren became a hero to the Green Army and a measure of his worth that he made the takeover from his outstanding predecessor Geoff Barnsley appear relatively seamless.

MacLaren had all the skills of a top goalkeeper and his time at Argyle always attracted the attention of big clubs across English football. After 145 appearances as a Pilgrim, Wolverhampton Wanderers eventually took the plunge to sign him at Molineux.

He later played for Southampton and moved to Australia as a manager. This great Pilgrim sadly passed away in 2016 at the age of 82.

Greatest Goalkeeper Results So Far
11. Dave MacLaren
12. Fred Craig
13. Pat Dunne
14. Remi Matthews
15. Milija Aleksic
16. Jon Sheffield
17. Paul Barron
18. Martin Hodge
19. Bruce Grobbelaar
20. Geoff Barnsley
21. Harry Cann
22. John Willie Sutcliffe
23. David Stockdale
24. Bill Harper
25. Neil Ramsbottom

For information on the Greatest Pilgrims, please click here.

The Greatest Pilgrims are sponsored by the Big Green Lottery. Sign up to the lottery for chances to win weekly cash prizes, a monthly prize of £500, the annual draw of £12,000 spread across ten finalists and monthly bonus prizes.

The Big Green Lottery raises valuable funds for the Argyle Academy, including the purchase of a new minibus for our young stars last year. At present, our BGL membership stands at 650 and our aim is to reach 1,000 members, which would effectively triple the quarterly donations to the Argyle Academy.

For more information, contact us on bgl@pafc.co.uk and to join the BGL, simply sign up online


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