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Christopher Charles Eric Woods (born 14 November 1959) is a former England international football goalkeeper.[2][3] He played in the Football League and Premier League for Nottingham Forest, Queens Park Rangers, Norwich City, Sheffield Wednesday, Reading, Southampton and Burnley. He also played in the Scottish Football League for Rangers[4] and in Major League Soccer for the Colorado Rapids.[5]

Chris Woods
Austria vs. USA 2013-11-19 (064).jpg
Personal information
Full name Christopher Charles Eric Woods
Date of birth (1959-11-14) 14 November 1959 (age 59)
Place of birth Swineshead, Lincolnshire, England
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Youth career
1975–1976 Nottingham Forest
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1976–1979 Nottingham Forest 0 (0)
1979–1981 Queens Park Rangers 63 (0)
1981–1986 Norwich City 216 (0)
1986–1991 Rangers 173 (0)
1991–1996 Sheffield Wednesday 107 (0)
1995Reading (loan) 5 (0)
1996 Colorado Rapids 23 (0)
1996Southampton (loan) 4 (0)
1997 Sunderland 0 (0)
1997–1998 Burnley 12 (0)
Total 603 (0)
National team
1979–1983 England U21 6 (0)
1984–1989 England B 2 (0)
1985–1993[1] England 43 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Woods was Peter Shilton's long-time understudy in the England team in the mid to late 1980s, finally claiming the number one shirt for himself in the early 1990s. In all, he managed to accrue 43 caps in an eight-year international career.

Woods has been goalkeeper coach for Everton, the United States and Manchester United. He was most recently coaching at West Ham United.

Club careerEdit

Nottingham ForestEdit

When 17 years old, Woods joined Nottingham Forest as an apprentice in 1976,[4] initially as back-up for John Middleton,[6] then Peter Shilton.[7] With Shilton cup-tied for the 1977–78 Football League Cup, having already played for Stoke City in that season's competition,[8] Woods played every match as Forest reached the final, where they beat Liverpool in a replay, Woods keeping two clean sheets in the process.[8][9] Shilton remained the club's first choice goalkeeper, and the 1977–78 League Cup games proved to be Woods' only senior appearances for the club as they went on to win the Football League, League Cup again,[10] and European Cup.[11]

Queens Park RangersEdit

Queens Park Rangers paid £250,000 for 19-year-old Woods in July 1979.[12][13] As first choice at QPR, Woods made his Football League debut, playing 63 league games over the next two seasons.[12]

Norwich CityEdit

In May 1981 Norwich signed him for £225,000. In 1985 Woods won his second League Cup final, beating Sunderland 1–0 at Wembley. Norwich were relegated at the end of that season. England coach Bobby Robson took Woods on a post-season tour of America. Woods won a second division championship medal the year after.[14] In 2002, he was voted into the club's Hall of Fame.[15]


Graeme Souness signed Woods for Rangers in the summer of 1986 for £600,000. He was part of an influx of English talent brought in by Souness, which also included Terry Butcher and Graham Roberts.[16] Woods won a Scottish Premier Division title and a Scottish League Cup medal in his first season. From November 1986 to January 1987 he set a British record by playing 1196 consecutive minutes of competitive football without conceding a goal.[13][17] The run was ended at Ibrox on 31 January 1987 when Adrian Sprott scored the only goal for Hamilton Academical in the 70th minute of a Scottish Cup tie.[18]

Woods won another Scottish League Cup winners medal with Rangers in 1987–88, although rivals Celtic won a league and Scottish Cup double. Rangers regained the league title in 1989. Woods missed half the season with an infection that affected his balance and vision. Woods won further Scottish league titles in 1989–90 and 1990–91. In the 1991 close season, new Rangers manager Walter Smith replaced Woods with Scottish international Andy Goram. This signing was made in part because UEFA had introduced a rule limiting foreign players, which meant that Rangers could only field three non-Scottish players in European matches.[13]

Sheffield WednesdayEdit

In August 1991, Woods signed for Trevor Francis at Sheffield Wednesday for £1.2 million.[12][13] Wednesday had just won the League Cup and promotion to England's top tier.

Wednesday lost the 1993 Football League Cup Final 2–1 to Arsenal.[19] A few weeks later Woods lost in the 1993 FA Cup Final. Wednesday again played Arsenal initially drawing 1–1. Arsenal's Andy Linighan's header made them the 2–1 winner in the closing seconds of extra time.[20] Ironically, both Linighan and Woods were former Norwich players, with defeat in both finals costing Wednesday a place in Europe for 1993-94.

By the 1995–96 season Woods was out of favour at Wednesday to Kevin Pressman as first-choice goalkeeper. Woods had a short loan spell at Reading.

Colorado Rapids and Southampton loanEdit

In 1996, he joined Colorado Rapids in the USA. In October 1996, Graeme Souness, now manager at Southampton, negotiated his loan from Colorado Rapids as cover for Dave Beasant, with a view to a permanent transfer. His second league appearance came in a 7–1 defeat at the hands of Everton, and in his fourth league appearance he broke his leg at Blackburn Rovers after which he returned to the US to recuperate.[21]

Later careerEdit

He then returned to England for spells at Sunderland and Burnley. He retired from playing in 1998.

International careerEdit

In the England squad Woods was once again Shilton's back-up. Woods debuted in a friendly against the USA in Los Angeles on 16 June 1985 while a Norwich City player. He was rarely left out of an England squad again over the next five years. Woods went to the 1986 World Cup in Mexico but did not play. England went out in the quarter-finals.

When at Rangers Woods received his second start in his fifth cap in a 2–0 Wembley win over Yugoslavia that inched England further towards 1988 European Championships qualification. Woods came on as a substitute for Shilton twice in 1987 and started two matches: a European Championships qualifier against Turkey and a goalless draw against Scotland at Hampden Park in the Rous Cup. Two more starts followed in the subsequent season prior to the European Championships in Germany.

England suffered two defeats in the opening brace of group games at the 1988 European Championships, and therefore Robson could afford to rest Shilton for the third and final group match, against the USSR, which had been rendered meaningless. Woods therefore played his first match in a competitive finals, his 13th in total, conceding three times in a 3–1 defeat.

By now, another goalkeeper had emerged as a potential successor to the ageing Shilton, with QPR's David Seaman receiving a first cap in a draw against Saudi Arabia in Riyadh. However, Woods was still regarded by Robson as his primary understudy for Shilton, who had, by now, earned his 100th cap and was about to break Bobby Moore's record of 108. Also on the scene was Dave Beasant, who won two caps as a sub as Robson checked out other goalkeepers, but Woods remained Robson's first choice if ever Shilton was unable to play. As all this went on, England qualified for the 1990 World Cup in Italy.[22]

Robson chose Woods and Seaman as Shilton's understudies in the initial squad, but days before a hand injury to David Seaman forced Bobby Robson to drop Seaman and replace him with Beasant. England went to the semi-finals, where they lost on penalties to West Germany.

Woods did not play in the World Cup, Robson choosing to keep Shilton in the side for his 125th and final cap for England in the third place play-off match against Italy after their semi-final defeat. Robson quit after the tournament and successor Graham Taylor instantly installed Woods as his number one. By summer 1991, Woods had accumulated 24 caps as England made steady progress through their qualification for the 1992 European Championships, unbeaten in six matches with three clean sheets and conceding only three goals.

He went to the 1992 European Championships as England's first-choice keeper and kept clean sheets in his first two matches against Denmark and France. England did not score in either, so victory was crucial against hosts Sweden in the last group match. Sweden won 2–1, however, so England were eliminated and Woods had suffered major disappointment in his first (and ultimately his only) tournament as England's number-one keeper.

He stayed in the side the following year as England stuttered in their qualification campaign for the 1994 World Cup. Woods conceded a crucial equaliser from a long-range shot from Kjetil Rekdal in a 1–1 home draw with Norway and an 85th-minute penalty from Peter van Vossen in a 2–2 home draw with the Netherlands.[23] In June 1993 England lost a crucial match in Oslo against Norway. Then, after a defeat against the USA in Boston during a summer tour in 1993, Taylor dropped Woods and, after trying two other keepers, installed Seaman in the side. Woods' 43-cap international career ended where it began, with a game against the US,[2] although he was an unused substitute for the following four internationals.[24]

Coaching careerEdit

Woods took up a coaching position under Walter Smith at Everton in 1998, where he was tasked with the development of the club's goalkeepers. In July 2013 Woods left Everton to take the goalkeeping coach position at Manchester United, following the same move by first team manager David Moyes. Woods retained his position when Moyes was sacked, in April 2014, but was replaced by Frans Hoek, when Moyes' permanent successor, Louis van Gaal, was appointed.[25] In June 2015 he became goalkeeping coach at West Ham United.[26] He left the role in May 2018 following the appointment of new manager, Manuel Pellegrini.[27]

Parallel to being a club coach, in 2011 Woods was employed by the United States men's national soccer team, linking up with Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard.



  1. ^ "Christopher Charles Eric 'Chris' Woods - International Appearances". The Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation.
  2. ^ a b "Player profile: Christopher Charles Eric Woods". England stats. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  3. ^ "Chris Woods". EnglandFC. Archived from the original on 23 September 2009. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  4. ^ a b "Chris Woods". UK A–Z Transfers. Neil Brown. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  5. ^ "1996 Colorado Rapids Statistics" (PDF). Colorado Rapids. Retrieved 24 January 2010.[dead link]
  6. ^ "John Middleton". The City Ground. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  7. ^ Stevenson, Jonathan (21 September 2004). "Forest's unforgettable fairytale". BBC Sport. Retrieved 18 May 2009.
  8. ^ a b Hackett, Robin (22 March 2012). "Old Big 'Ead ignites Forest fire". ESPN. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  9. ^ "English League Cup 1977/78". Soccerbase. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  10. ^ "Peter Shilton". The City Ground. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  11. ^ "Chris Woods". The City Ground. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  12. ^ a b c "Chris Woods". Barry Hugman;s Footballers. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  13. ^ a b c d "Chris Woods". Sporting Heroes. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  14. ^ Lakey, Chris (13 June 2017). "Norwich City top 100 appearances: Chris Woods". The Pink Un. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  15. ^ "Hall of Fame Gallery". Norwich City F.C. Archived from the original on 3 July 2008. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  16. ^ Herron, Lindsay (8 April 2016). "How Souness kick-started a Rangers revolution, by the man himself 30 years on". FourFourTwo. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  17. ^ Sewell, Albert (7 February 2002). "Ask Albert - Number 53". BBC Sport. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
  18. ^ Quinn, Bryan (30 January 2008). "Adrian Sprott: Ex-Hamilton Accies". Archived from the original on 15 August 2010. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  19. ^ "Results & Matches on: Sun, 18 Apr 1993". Soccerbase. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  20. ^ "FA Cup Final 1993". Archived from the original on 23 January 2008. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  21. ^ Chalk, Gary; Holley, Duncan; Bull, David (2013). All the Saints: A Complete Players' Who's Who of Southampton FC. Southampton: Hagiology Publishing. p. 508. ISBN 978-0-9926-8640-6.
  22. ^ 1990 FIFA World Cup: England Squad, Retrieved 24 January 2010
  23. ^ "England 2 Netherlands 2". England football online. 28 April 1993. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  24. ^ "Players Index: Chris Woods". England Football Online. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  25. ^ Jackson, Jamie (14 May 2014). "Ryan Giggs given chance to be Louis van Gaal's Manchester United No2". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  26. ^ "Hammers appoint Woods as goalkeeping coach - West Ham United". Archived from the original on 17 June 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  27. ^ "Woods leaves as Hammers restructure backroom staff". East London and West Essex Guardian Series. Retrieved 25 May 2018.

External linksEdit