As we move into the third decade of this century, and inspired by the BBC’s top-10 series, we decided to select our top-10 Stoke City goalkeepers in the 21st century.
Here they are, in a purely subjective order, with honourable mentions after number 10 for all the others who appeared between the sticks in a senior game for the club since January 1, 2000.
1. ASMIR BEGOVIC
He nicks it from Butland because he maintained his form for longer and in the top division – and he also netted Stoke a few quid when leaving for Chelsea and didn’t he actually score a goal from inside his own area? Over to you Jack!
2 JACK BUTLAND
Was on course for so much, the top of this list included, when he suffered that injury playing for England back in March 2016, since when his fortunes and that of his club have suffered greatly, but there’s still time for the big fella to recapture former glories and that international place.
3 THOMAS SORENSEN
The Danish international, once of Sunderland and Aston Villa, was signed on a free after promotion and started all but two of Stoke’s 38 league games during that first season back in the top flight.
His experience was crucial to the cause during those first few steps into the Premier League and he would remain for 99 league appearances during his seven years in the Potteries before leaving for Melbourne via the odd charity bike ride.
4) STEVE SIMONSEN
It was fun to be around his dour sense of humour, while his goalkeeping was such that it wasn’t hard to see why he had once been an England under-21 international.
Lost out in later years at the club, but no-one at Tottenham that day will forget his promotion from the bench after the warm-up and subsequent heroics in the `Whelan’ 1-0 win in 2010.
5) LEE GRANT
Just a bit-part signing from Derby, or so we thought, before enjoying a brilliant debut at Manchester United and going on to become player-of-the-year in 2016/17… later earning a lucrative move to Old Trafford where he remains to this day.
6) GAVIN WARD
The demon barber in his spare time on pre-season tours, he was a loud and visible presence on and off the pitch and was in his element during the 1999/2000 season when he appeared 60 times and was a Wembley winner against Bristol City.
7) ED de GOEY
Unlikely arrival from Chelsea in the summer of 2003, the bendy-legged Dutchman, with the porn star looks, raised the bar on the pedigree of Stoke’s signings and would remain at the club for the best part of four years.
8) NEIL CUTLER
Stoke’s man between the sticks at The Millennium Stadium in 2002 when Stoke finally cracked the play-offs at their third attempt in three years – now goalkeeping coach at Aston Villa.
9) CARLO NASH
Brought in to see Stoke home en route to promotion in 2008 and pulled off a vital late save to ensure a 0-0 draw against Leicester in that final game of the season.
10) MARK CROSSLEY
His first loan spell was brief, unconvincing and cut short when he was recalled early, but his second a few months later will be remembered for a terrific run of form which played its part in Championship survival on the final day against Reading.
ALSO RANS AND NEAR MISSES: Carl Muggleton (he was more of a 1990’s goalkeeper for Stoke), Birkier Kirstinsson, Steve Banks, Russell Hoult, Shay Given, Jakob Haugaard, Adam Federici and Adam Davies.