Pars fans of a certain age may remember the exploits of Gordon Stewart, fictional goalkeeper and a regular in the Roy Of The Rovers comic, from 1977 to 1982. His ability in goals earned him the title "the safest hands in soccer" and he was the reason why his team, Tynefield City, kept so many clean sheets and won more often than not.
The news today that Dunfermline keeper Sean Murdoch has extended his current contract by a further year will please every Pars fan, for his performances have almost elevated him to the same lofty pedestal that children of the late 70s and early 80s once held Stewart in, as they thumbed through the pages of their favourite comic. The value of a good goalkeeper cannot be overstated. Sean Murdoch has made a huge contribution to Dunfermline's progress in the past 2 seasons - being part of a defence that set a club record for minutes played without conceding a goal, in 2015/16; and then last season winning most of the club's (and this blog's) player of the year awards. He has as assured manner, is a confident figure, very consistent and is also one of the team's leaders. He was given the team captaincy in a handful of games last season when Andy Geggan and Callum Fordyce were not in the starting 11. He is the leading candidate and the obvious choice for the club captaincy for the coming season, with the departures of Geggan and Fordyce.
Surprisingly, the past 2 years have been the first time in Sean's career that he has been an established first choice keeper at any of his clubs, which includes his first spell at Dunfermline (2005-2008). The Pars have had a long list of excellent goalkeepers since the 1960s, and Sean is now joining the elite group of the very best that includes Eddie Connachan, Ian Westwater, Andy Rhodes, Marco Ruitenbeek and Paul Gallacher, and others. While the title of the safest hands in soccer in 2017 may belong to Gianluigi Buffon, Manuel Neuer or David de Gea, Sean Murdoch is certainly the best goalkeeper in the Scottish Championship, as evidenced by his inclusion in the SPFL's 2016/17 Championship team of the year. Still just 30 years old, he has many good years in front of him, the next 2 of which will be at East End Park, and hopefully many more beyond that.
Photos: Pars Review