Rob Elliot – Probing Newcastle United’s forgotten signing.
Posted on September 5th, 2011 | 10 Comments |
When two new players were officially signed by Newcastle United on August 30th, most of the attention was pointed in the direction of a certain ex Internazionale defender called Davide Santon, who has been compared in the past to no lesser figure than Paulo Maldini by legendary manager, Arrigo Sacchi.
This ‘blog certainly wasn’t the least guilty in that regard, however, I aim to put that right now with a feature focusing on the other signing of that day, ex Charlton goalkeeper Rob Elliot.
Elliot joined another ex member of the Charlton staff, goalkeeping coach, Andy Woodman, in what is becoming something of a Charlton mafia at St James’, with Alan Pardew previously working with Elliot and Woodman as manager of the South London ‘Addicks”. Until his move, the 25 year old Elliot had been on Charlton’s books since joining them as a 17 year old youth player from non league Erith Town. However, on becoming a professional player in 2004, he spent three years out on loan at Bishop’s Stortford, Notts County and Accrington Stanley respectively.
Though only a non-league side at the time, it was Accrington Stanley that gave Elliot what must have been one of the highlights of his career so far. The keeper played a significant role them promoted to the Football League for the first time in 44 years after saving not one, but two penalty attempts by Woking Town’s Justin Richards in a 1-0 victory which saw them through. Elliot certainly seems to be something of a penalty save specialist, he saved no less than six in a row with Accrington that season and I have seen hin save more with Charlton. Going back to Accrington though, he was subsequently voted their keeper of the decade in 2010. Speaking of that promotion season, and the game that regained Accrington’s League status, Elliot recalled:
“I loved last season, I think I made six penalty saves in a row. I guess it was a bit more than luck but I just always felt so confident – the whole team did. Personally I couldn’t have written the script any better with those two saves at Woking. It will be a season I will never forget and my medal will always be with me.
“The thing about last season was it was a total team effort. We all stuck together and it was great for me to just play a part in making history by helping Accrington back into the Football League.”
On his return to Charlton though, he found himself a third choice goalkeeper, working his way back up until he became first choice keeper in the 2008/9 season. A position he retained with some excellent performances, and the odd penalty save until he finally signed for Newcastle United after a controversial pursuit of the player which led to Charlton making a complaint to the FA over Alan Pardew’s comments on BBC Radio Newcastle, allegdly in breach of some kind of confidentialty agreement. However, as this piece is a (belated) homage to our latest keeper, I’ll leave that one alone.
On his departure from the Addicks, Elliot had made a total of 109 apperences with the club, and a total of 38 on loan with other clubs. Of course, he is yet to make any with the Magpies, and will find himself down the pecking order once more as Steve Harper and Tim Krul fight it out for the top slot.
Despite the competition though, Elliot remained upbeat in his interview when unveiled by the club. When asked by NUFC TV’s Rob Scanlon if it was an easy decision to join Newcastle United, Elliot replied:
“Yeah, definitely. They’re probably the best supported club in the world, defintely in the country. I think that connection that they’ve always had with the club, the fans, and obviously the way the team started, it’s a bit of a no-brainer. It’s hard because Charlton was my boyhood club. But when you have a chance to play in the Premiership, and for one of the biggest clubs, you can’t turn that down.”
From what I’ve seem of him personally, he certainly seems to be a respectable keeper with a safe pair of hands, but only time will tell if he’ll get his chance, and also thrive at the highest level if he does. But here’s wishing him the best of luck.
Welcome to Newcastle Rob!
Interview with Elliot when he was at Charlton. Apparently, his footballing hero is Charlton and Newcastle United’s Rob Lee.
A series of videos showing Elliot going through his paces with current Newcastle United goalkeeping coach, Andy Woodman, when they were both at Charlton is available here. Click on the ‘Uploads’ link to see them all.