Yorkshire news Di Canio bust-up, van der Sar and Rangers - Wes Foderingham's story MetiNews.Com
MetiNews.Com - The goalkeeper was Chris Wilder's first signing ahead of the 2020-21 season
Breaking News ! From growing up around knife-crime in London and training in the shadows of Edwin van der Sar when a teenager at Fulham, to bust-ups with Paolo Di Canio and playing in front of 50,000 fans at Ibrox, it's fair to say Wes Foderingham has had quite a colourful career. The goalkeeper became Chris Wilder's first signing ahead of Sheffield United's 2020/21 campaign and it's been quite a journey to get to the Premier League. The 29-year-old has arrived on a free after the expiry of his contract with Glasgow Rangers in a move described by Chris Wilder as 'too good to turn down'. One of the many characteristics that the Blades manager looks for in a player is a strong mentality and that is something he will not have spent too long on when doing his research into his new arrival. He didn't begin his career as a goalkeeper. Like many who find themselves between the sticks, he started as an outfield player but when his junior team were without a keeper one morning, he volunteered. He impressed that much that his coach kept him in goal and he remained there, impressing sufficiently on the Sunday pitches in West London to catch the eye of a watching Fulham scout. The interest was welcome, with a young Wes growing up in an area where knife crime was at its highest point. "I grew up in Shepherd's Bush," he told former Swindon team-mate Si Ferry on the OpenGoal podcast. "It's a decent area now, not bad at all, but back when I was young it was terrible, someone getting stabbed every other weekend. It wasn't great at all. "They had the highest number of knife deaths at one point when I was at secondary school but I had a decent group of friends and stayed close with them." He joined Fulham as a nine year old at a time when they had a host of good keepers on the books, none more so than the Manchester United and Holland number one Edwin van der Sar. "When I first went to Fulham it was van de Sar in goal. I was starstruck. The first time I met him I was walking through the physio room and he was there, he was massive, just unbelievable I really looked up to him. He was great with the young players. "There were some great keepers there - Casey Kellar, Antti Niemi and Mark Schwarzer, all top guys. "It was around the time they got to the Europa League final that I was more involved in the first team." Having also featured for England at under 16, 17 and 19 levels, Foderingham, who last year became a dad, was progressing well. However, with such a large goalkeeping department, it was felt his path to first team football would be best served if he moved away from the club he had spent the last 10 years at. Crystal Palace offered him the chance to take the next step in his career and loans spells at Bromley, Boreham Wood, Histon and Swindon proved valuable experience. "The best thing you can do as a young goalkeeper is to go out and play games," he said. But it was that final loan spell during the 2011-12 season with League Two Swindon under then manager Paolo Di Canio that helped make him the man he is today. He joined on a short loan until January but impressed the Italian. He played 15 times and kept nine clean sheets, conceding just six goals and those performances prompted Di Canio to convince the Swindon board to make his loan a permanent. A undisclosed fee was agreed with Palace and he became a Swindon player, signing a two-year contract until 2014. He was a pivotal member of that title-winning team that romped home with 93 points. Read More Related Articles Chris Wilder wants more from his Sheffield United players next season but has a warning over expectations Read More Related Articles Sheffield United's Chris Basham joins Liverpool trio in Premier League defence of the season But it was a tough education in league football under Di Canio. "You were in seven days a week. "We got to the point where we started counting the days when we didn't have a day off. We had a decent run in the cups as well as in the league, so we were playing midweek, weekend, midweek and it got to the point around 63 days before we had a day off. "It was mental, but somehow it worked because we kept winning. "We put together this run of win, win, win, win, win and then we lost a game to Macclesfield in the FA Cup and he's fuming. So he's gone 'next day in, 6am'. "We watched the full game and then he gets his folders out on the computer. "After a game he would click on those folders and he would have everybody's name, from keeper right down to all the boys who came on. If you had more than six video clips in your folder you knew you were getting absolutely hammered. "To be fair, we kept a lot of clean sheets and I didn't do much wrong but there was one game in particular, Oxford, we lost and I made a mistake for one of the goals so I knew he was going to go for me. "I am used to seeing just two or three clips under my name, so on this occasion he clicks on my name and I see about eight clips and I think 'oh no'. Wes Foderingham for Swindon up against Ryan Flynn during the first leg of the League One play-off semi-final at Bramall Lane. (Image: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images) "He says 'Wes, play'. He presses play and one of the clips I have come for a cross and not got there and he is just making all these sound affects of tuts and sighs and he says 'it's not possible, it's not possible. "Then the goal. It was one of those crosses where it gets drilled in quite low and you have to come out with two fists like Superman and try and punch it clear, I have missed and they have got their head on it and scored. He shouts 'ahh, pause!' and he hits the pause button. "You are a ******* Subbuteo keeper. How can we win when we have a ******* Subbuteo keeper. I am trying not to laugh, sat with my bottle in front of my face, but there were a few occasions where he caught me laughing and he would say 'Wes, no laughing'. I think he liked me so I got off quite lightly." However, there was one game in particular that will always be mentioned when Foderingham talks about his time at the County Ground. Swindon travelled to Preston for a League One clash early in the season following their promotion the previous year and after conceding two goals in the opening 10 minutes, he was substituted on 21 minutes and it led to a furious bust-up with Di Canio. So embarrassed and upset at the decision to bring him off, Foderingham was 'furious' and sent a tirade of foul and abusive language in his manager's direction and ripped a dressing room door off its hinge. He picks up the story. "I've made a mistake for the first goal, a clearance blocked and the striker's stuck it in the empty goal. I've looked over out the corner of my eye and Paolo is waving his arms around all over the place.
. "The second goal. It was a cross from the left, flicked header nothing I could have done about it. "But this is the point he pulled me. A cross came in and I thought 'let's be positive' and I came and collected it, caught it and held on to it. I've seen the counter attack on and pinged it out to the winger, but he didn't really want the ball and the player has come in and nicked it and they have attacked off our counter. "I could see the spare keeper warming up so I knew he'd had enough.
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"He was a young keeper and had not played any games at this point, so I thought he's just doing this to get in my head. He can't drag me off after 21 minutes. I've made only a handful of mistakes in a season and a half. "I then get the signal to come off and I just lost it. "I felt I had performed that well for him over a season and half that I deserved a bit more respect than to be dragged off after 21 minutes. "That's where that anger came from. I am effing and blinding and I am risking it all at this point. I am marching down the touchline, tried to kick a water bottle on the pitch and as I go down the tunnel I turn and call him all sorts. "I am going off my nut. It was such a surreal moment, I am in the dressing room knocking things off the wall. "Paolo is telling the players if he gets on the bus I am going to empty him out. So I get on the bus and I am at the back, he's at the front. "I hadn't seen his interview, but it comes on the TV on the bus and at this point all I know is I have been dragged off and it's embarrassing. But on the interview he's going 'League One Wes', 'League One Wes', going crazy, just hammering me. Saying I am only playing pro football because he has given me his chance. "I'm realising this is one of those moments that I am not going to live down, but also that is my time at Swindon up.
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"Next day he's told me to come into my office. I am sat down still fuming, my Twitter is lit up with 'League One Wes', it's embarrassing and he's smiling. 'You challenged me, you can't challenge me but I am willing to let this go, but you need to apologise to your team-mates. "After that it was fine." His final appearance in a Swindon shirt came at the end of the 2014-15 season after a 4-0 defeat at Wembley in the League One play-off final to Preston. A play-offs United fans will remember all too well. Foderingham was in goal for Swindon that night they pipped the Blades to the final following a thrilling 5-5 draw that saw them go through 7-6 on aggregate. He decided it was time for a new challenge and with his contract up after that Wembley defeat, he headed up to Scotland to team up with new Rangers manager Mark Warburton.
Wes Foderingham during the Scottish Cup Semi Final between Rangers and Celtic at Hampden Park in 2018.
(Image: Lynne Cameron/Getty Images)
He wasted no time in becoming a popular figure at Ibrox and Glasgow Live's Robert Fairnie believes Wilder has pulled off a great signing on a free transfer. He told Yorkshire Live: "He did well for Rangers, particularly in the first couple of seasons he was here. "He's a good shot-stopper. He was a big upgrade on what they previously had. He was very solid, good with his feet, good coming for crosses and his biggest thing was the saves that he made - very good on one-on-one situations. "Over the piece he was a good Rangers goalkeeper. "He was first choice for the first two seasons when they came back up but when Gerrard came in he signed Allan McGregor from Hull City, the Scotland goalkeeper and he was always going to be number one. "A lot of fans expected him to move on because he was too good a goalkeeper to be a number two at Ibrox. "He was one of the best goalkeepers in the league in Scotland. "For the first couple of seasons back Rangers were quite a way off Celtic but when the fans were looking at the team Foderingham wasn't one of the players they were thinking needed to be changed. They were quite happy with him. "I can probably think over those first two seasons back in the top flight of two, maybe three mistakes that he made. He was very consistent, he very rarely put a foot wrong. "Chris Wilder will have no problem with his character. "Especially playing as a Rangers goalkeeper. No matter what league they are in, they tend to dominate the ball and have large spells of possession and if they do come under attack it's only for short periods, unless they are playing Celtic or in Europe.
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"He may have only one or two moments in the game to deal with, so he has to concentrate, and you're playing in front of 50,000 fans at Ibrox and you have only one or two saves to make and if you don't do them, it can be quite a daunting prospect but he seemed more than capable of dealing with that. "I don't know what his role will be at Sheffield United but if he was to play in the Premier League I can imagine he would come under a bit more pressure, with more shots and more crosses on his goal, so that would be something different that he would have to deal with. "He's not one that performs to the crowd, he is more of a quieter, consistent keeper who goes about his business, but he is someone that doesn't have an issue with screaming at his defenders and telling them what needs to be told."
Source = MetiNews.Com