Seamus (Shay) Given (born 20 April, 1976 in Lifford, County
Donegal) is an Irish football goalkeeper. He plays for Newcastle
United and Ireland, and is regarded as one of the finest and
most reliable custodians in the game today.
He was originally on the Celtic youth team before moving to
Blackburn Rovers, where he was spotted by Peter Reid, who loaned
him for Sunderland. At Sunderland, he showed himself to be a
capable player, and soon after leaving Sunderland was poached by
their local rivals Newcastle and established himself in the
first team immediately, displacing Pavel Srnicek.
For Ireland, Given has been capped over 70 times and was his
country's starter at the 2002 World Cup.
Shay was playing for the local mens team Lifford Celtic at the
age of 14. He was propelled into the limelight when he played in
the FAI's Junior Cup for Lifford in the semifinal in Dundalk.
Inspite of being on the wrong end of the 1-0 scoreline, Shay had
done enough by holding his own between the sticks. Shay was
invited to join Celtic on a pre-season tour of Ireland when he
was just 15 and then signed terms at 16.
He moved to the Scottish League before moving down to Blackburn
Rovers in 1994 to join manager Kenny Dalglish. Unable to
dislodge England international Tim Flowers from goal at Ewood
Park, Shay went on loan to Swindon Town and Sunderland, after
playing only two games for Blackburn. At Sunderland he put in a
notable performance, keeping 16 clean sheets out of 17
appearances. Even though he had been brought back to Blackburn,
Given received a "Division One winners medal" from Sunderland,
having made over 10 appearances for the club during his loan
Dalglish later became the manager of Newcastle United and one of
his first signings was Given in 1997 for a fee of £1.5 million.
He played in the 1998 FA Cup Final and then missed out on the
1999 FA Cup Final when displaced by Steve Harper, but after
sitting out the start of the 1999/2000 season, ended the
campaign in possession of the first-team place.
In 2000/01, Shay was once again in magnificent form for club and
country and earned most supporters' awards as their Player of
Shay lost his place briefly to Steve Harper due to injury and
handed in a transfer request. The request was more a protest
rather than a genuine wish to ever leave the club. The club
rejected the request and, as it happened, Steve Harper injured
himself in training and Shay was back in goal.
In 2001/02 Shay played in every Premiership match and was named
in the PFA Premiership Team of the Season. He was outstanding in
the 2002 World Cup in South Korea/Japan, but could not prevent
the Republic of Ireland being shown the door by Spain. In
February 2003, Shay's save to deny Kevin Phillips on 24
February, 2003 made the FAPL's 10th Season Awards under the
category Save of the Decade.
On 30 April, 2003, Given became Newcastle's most capped player
when he won his 41st cap, overtaking Alf McMichael's previous
record. He ended 2003 as the holder of the Premiership's record
for the most consecutive appearances record, now surrendered to
Frank Lampard of Chelsea.