Why Shay Given Should Join Aston Villa and Save What’s Left of His Career

Photo by pixelhut

Shay Given is one of the best goalkeepers in the history of the Premier League. He spent the majority of his career with Newcastle United, who reached great heights in terms of domestic and international success.  After internal turmoil struck the Toon, he left in February 2008 to join Manchester City where he did well in his first season. However, due to the rise of long-term goalie Joe Hart, Given has been shown the bench over the last season where he only made four starts.

Clearly Manchester City have little use for Given after choosing the younger Hart. Given doesn’t deserve to be a rarely used back-up especially in a league where numerous teams could use a goalkeeper of his skill and experience. At age 35, Given may still have a few years left in him as many elite keepers have played up until their early 40’s.

In the past year, Given’s lack of activity has obviously made him feel very unsettled at Eastlands. He has been linked to Celtic and especially to Arsenal who have had trouble trying to replace Jens Lehmann. However, the new team that is reportedly after the Irishman is Aston Villa under the newly appointed Alex McLeish. Supposedly, McLeish valued the keeper at £3 million but Manchester City is sticking with their original price of 5 million euros.

In order to win support, the often-criticized Scot needs to make improvements to the roster for the upcoming season. Brad Friedel, the reliable American that Villa has depended on since 2008, has departed on a Bosman free transfer to Spurs and Villa needs to find a replacement. Right now, all they have are reserves Brad Guzan and Andy Marshall who are both too inexperienced to become the starting keeper.

Aston Villa have been linked with a couple of other candidates besides Given which include Birmingham City’s Ben Foster and Wigan’s Ali-al Habsi. However, al Habsi is expected to permanently sign with the Latics while Foster is less experienced and composed in the net compared to a veteran like Given.

For Shay Given, the move is a no-brainer. The Irish stopper is reportedly desperate enough to cut his weekly wages of 85,000 euros so he can finally get back into the starting eleven with another club. According to the Daily Mail, Given put down an offer from West Brom who are looking for a replacement after Scott Carson left for the Turkish club Bursaspor. Given would likely have little trouble fitting in with another club who desperately need to fill holes in a roster that has seen many departures. With McLeish’s known defensive tactics, Given would be an essential factor keeping Villa in matches through quality saves.

After all the great feats of Shay Given’s career for both Newcastle and Ireland, he doesn’t deserve to close out his career warming the bench. Therefore, a move to Aston Villa would be ideal for both him and the club.

16 thoughts on “Why Shay Given Should Join Aston Villa and Save What’s Left of His Career”

  1. He spent the majority of his career with Newcastle United, who reached great heights in terms of domestic and international success.

    Is there another Newcastle United that I’m unaware if?

    1. In 01/02 they made a challenge for the tite and finished fourth place, qualifying for the champions league and played in the group stages against the likes of Inter and Barcelona.
      in 02/03, they finished third in the EPL and qualified for the CL and after they were relegated to the UEFA CUp, they made it to the semi-finals.
      They also finished fifth in 03/04 and qualified again for Europe.
      They also bounced back form finishing 14th in 04/05 to finishing 7th and playing in the UEFA Intertoto Cup.

      There just maybe another Newcastle United you were unaware of after all.

  2. I’m sure Given would take a modest pay cut. The question is how much is he willing to take. He is making 85,000 pounds a week for sitting on the bench. How many clubs outside the top 6 can afford to pay a goalkeeper 60-80 thousand a week? Not many and I doubt if Villa are one of them.

    1. Aston Villa are one of the top 20 earning clubs in the world, see the latest Deloitte figures – they can afford it.

      Dunne and Clark, Given’s Irish team mates are there too, would be for the best.

    2. I don’t care what the figures are. As a former athlete at a major collegiate university I can tell you that playing is always preferable to sitting. No true competitor can stand sitting.

      Of course, I wasn’t being paid. Well, I had these jerseys, see….. 😉

      1. To be fair, unless you were being offered money, your experience as a former athlete at college is no more informative than anyone else’s experience as as Sunday morning pub-league footballer.

  3. I stopped reading after I saw mufcforlife as the authors nom de plume. Utd have 2 international keepers, why shouldn’t city. That rather pertinent part of the equation has been conveniently left out by the author.

    1. United’s keepers are de Gea, Kuszczak, Lindegaard and Ben Amos, None of them are as experienced or have made a name for themselves like Shay Given has. I think City can afford a backup keeper and let Given get back to being a first team goalie which he deserves.

  4. Andy Marshall, Inexperienced?

    He is 36 and doing his coaching badges…….

    He doesn’t hasn’t played for us because he is not very good, not because he is inexperienced. In answer to the obvious question, no, we don’t know why he is here either.

    1. *Ahem* There should be a / between doesn’t/hasn’t played for us…. but you get the point.

      Although I gree Given would be ideal for us and we would be ideal for him.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *