Liverpool FC (England), Aston Villa (England), West Ham United (England),
Manchester City (England)
FA Cup Finals (Aston Villa)
David James (born August 1, 1970 in Welwyn Garden City,
England) is an English football goalkeeper, currently playing
for Manchester City.
James signed as a trainee with Watford, winning the FA Youth Cup
and making 98 first-team appearances. In 1992 he was signed by
Liverpool, but after conceding 20 goals in 11 games he was
dropped by Liverpool boss Graeme Souness.
James found favour under Souness' successor Roy Evans, and
became a regular in Liverpool's team of the 1990s. James rose to
fame together with Steve McManaman and Robbie Fowler, but was
black listed together with them at the time for their collective
culture of being "Spice Boys" - a derogatory term that signified
the team of that decade as underachieving playboys in the game.
Indeed, more than any one of that group except for perhaps Jamie
Redknapp, James epitomised the whole idea of 'Spice Boy' who was
labelled as 'unfocused' and 'inconsistent' after being more
involved in modelling with Armani rather than their professional
work. James later said that the modelling affairs were blown out
of proportion and that he only flew to Milan for the catwalk or
for fashion shoots on a Monday and would be back the next day in
training, with the approval of then coach Roy Evans.
However, according to an article by Stephen Thanabalan, failure
to win trophies and live up to the group's assumed potential
exacerbated the situation and compounded with their off the
pitch lad culture lifestyles, set critics pouncing on what was
termed a 'collective culture of underachievement'. Despite
winning the League Cup in 1995, Liverpool's side at the time had
failed to oust rivals Manchester United as England's Premier
club - what with the club's poor defensive record, and James'
occasional high-profile mistakes, often highlighted as howlers
in the tabloids at the time, with James not aiding the situation
when in 1997 he publicly put down his spate of errors to a
rather bemusing excuse of "playing too many computer games" that
affected his concentration.
His reputation for making mistakes inspired his nickname
Calamity James, which stuck from the late 1990s till today and
is based on Calamity Jane. Some people feel that this nickname
is unjustified and he has just been unlucky.
With the arrival of American Brad Friedel, his place at
Liverpool became less assured, and in 1999 he was sold to Aston
At Villa, James' inconsistency continued; he proved to be the
hero in saving penalties against Bolton Wanderers in a 2000 FA
Cup semi-final, but then being to blame for Chelsea's winning
goal in the ensuing final.
James moved to West Ham United in summer 2001, where his
consistency improved, but he was unable to help the club avert
relegation from the Premier League in 2003. In January 2004, he
returned to the Premier League, signing for Manchester City.
James helped the club stay up that season with two crucial
penalty saves towards the end of the season.
James has played 30 times for England, making his debut in a
friendly against Mexico in 1997. For several years, however, he
had to play understudy to England's regular keeper, David Seaman.
When Seaman was dropped after making a mistake against Macedonia
in 2002, James became the new England No. 1, and played in all
England's matches in Euro 2004. However, James has not started a
competitive match for England since an error in a 2-2 draw
against Austria in September 2004, his place being taken by Paul
Robinson. After the 4-1 friendly defeat against Denmark on 17
August 2005, with James conceding all four goals as a second
half substitute, James has been surpassed by Robinson as
England's top keeper. He is, however, still a member of the
England squad. He has played for his country 33 times. He has
also been given a new lease of life by Stuart Pearce, his
manager at Man City, who played him as a striker for the last
few minutes of the 2004-2005 season. It remains to be seen
whether this was yet another turning point in an already
During the 2004 off-season, James was a guest at the training
camp of American football team the Miami Dolphins where he
worked out with the team and studied their training and
conditioning methods, which has led some to suggest he is keen
on a coaching role once retired from playing.