Neil Sullivan (born 24 February 1970) is a professional football player and coach. He played as a goalkeeper from 1988 until 2013, playing in the Premier League for Wimbledon, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea, and represented Scotland internationally. He is now academy goalkeeping coach at Football Championship side Leeds United.
Sullivan in 2005
|Date of birth||24 February 1970|
|Place of birth||Sutton, England|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
(Academy Goalkeeing Coach)
|1992||→ Crystal Palace (loan)||1||(0)|
|2006||→ Doncaster Rovers (loan)||3||(0)|
|2007||→ Doncaster Rovers (loan)||13||(0)|
|2012–2013||→ AFC Wimbledon (loan)||20||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
He started his career with Wimbledon shortly after the club's FA Cup triumph. He remained with The Dons for twelve years and made 181 league appearances while at times covering for the likes of Dave Beasant, Hans Segers and Paul Heald and also spent a period on loan at Crystal Palace, though by the time of his departure he was firm number one. In 2000, he moved to Tottenham Hotspur where he replaced Ian Walker as the club's favoured keeper. In 2003, he departed after losing his place in the team and was signed as a back-up keeper by rivals Chelsea. In 2004, he moved to freshly relegated Football Championship side Leeds United where he remained until 2007. Whilst at Leeds he eventually lost his place in the team and was loaned out to Doncaster Rovers in both 2006 and 2007. In 2007, he joined Rovers on a permanent deal where he remained the club's favoured keeper until the 2012–13 season when he was loaned to AFC Wimbledon, the side formed after the relocation of his first club. Sullivan returned to Doncaster towards the end of the year and aided Doncaster to the League One title.
Between 1997 and 2003, Sullivan was capped 28 times by Scotland. He was selected for the 1998 Fifa World Cup, where he was the second choice goalkeeper behind Jim Leighton. Sullivan became the regular Scotland goalkeeper after Leighton retired from international football later that year.
In July 2013, he announced he was leaving Doncaster and, after rejecting offers to prolong his playing career, he joined former club Leeds as an academy goalkeeping coach confirming his retirement from professional football.
Sullivan began his career with local club Wimbledon in 1988, amassing a total of 224 appearances between 1988 and 2000. It was during his tenure at Wimbledon that Sullivan was often acknowledged as one of the best goalkeepers in the league marked by his selection for the division's 1997–98 team of the season.
He was initially an understudy for Hans Segers, and then spent the 1995–96 season vying with Paul Heald for the job as Wimbledon's regular goalkeeper, before making the position his own for the 1996–97 season.
Tottenham Hotspur and ChelseaEdit
In 2000, after Wimbledon's relegation, Sullivan moved from Wimbledon to Tottenham Hotspur, where he made over 80 appearances. He then moved to Chelsea in the 2003–04 season, playing eight times for them on the occasions where Carlo Cudicini was unavailable or being rested.
In June 2004, he was signed by Leeds United, by manager Kevin Blackwell to replace Paul Robinson who had left Leeds to join Tottenham. Sullivan beat off competition for number one spot from young goalkeeper Scott Carson. Leeds were debt-ridden and had just been relegated from the Premier League when Sullivan joined them.
In his first season (2004–05), he was voted as the club's Player of the Year after some superb saves throughout the season, including saving several penalties for Leeds. Leeds finished 10 points off the playoffs after a season of rebuilding. In his second season at Leeds, they reached the playoff final against Watford, with Sullivan again having a decent season. But the playoff final ended in disaster for Sullivan with Leeds losing 3–0 to Watford and Sullivan being at fault for the second goal.
Due to an injury picked up in the pre-season match against Nottingham Forest, Sullivan made few appearances in the 2006–07 campaign for Leeds, with loan goalkeeper Tony Warner filling in whilst Sullivan was injured. Kevin Blackwell was sacked and replaced by Dennis Wise. Wise decided to sign Graham Stack on loan to compete with Warner and Sullivan. On 23 November 2006, he moved on loan to Doncaster Rovers. His loan was however cut short and he returned to Leeds on 21 December 2006. Manager Dennis Wise told the press after Leeds' 2–1 victory against Coventry City that Sullivan had put on weight, and his performances were not as good, hence his loan to Doncaster. Leeds signed Casper Ankergren as the new number one goalkeeper. Sullivan re-signed on loan for Doncaster Rovers in February 2007. After the end of his loan at Doncaster, Sullivan returned to Leeds but was released at the end of his contract.
On 15 May 2007, Sullivan returned to Doncaster. He became the regular first team keeper and his consistent performances throughout the 2007–08 season helped Doncaster to promotion. He made an error in the 2–1 loss to Yeovil Town on 21 March 2008, mis-controlling a backpass which led to a Yeovil goal, but the disappointment of this mistake was over-shadowed by a very successful season between the sticks, in which Sullivan kept an impressive 20 clean sheets.
He overcame this to help Doncaster win promotion to the Championship with a playoff final win over former club Leeds United, leaving them in the third tier of the Football League for at least another year.
The veteran goalkeeper continued to be an ever-present in the Rovers side throughout the 2009–10 season, appearing in all 46 league games for the club.
In 2010, Sullivan signed a one-year-contract extension for Rovers, meaning he would be at the club until the end of the 2010–11 campaign. However, he had an injury-hit season, and was eventually replaced by Gary Woods as no.1. At the end of the season, he signed another one-year extension.
On 16 November 2012, Sullivan joined AFC Wimbledon on a short-term loan from Doncaster Rovers and made his debut the following day against Aldershot. On 2 December 2012 Sullivan started in the FA Cup 2nd round match against MK Dons, which they lost 2–1.
Following his return to the Rovers' team from his loan spell in March 2013, Sullivan went on to play till the end of the season as Doncaster won the League One title and sealed automatic promotion to the Championship. It was later announced that he would be retained by the club for the following season.
On 11 July 2013, Doncaster Rovers confirmed that Sullivan had left the club.
Sullivan was capped 28 times by Scotland between 1997 and 2003. He was named in the Scottish squad for the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France, but was an unused substitute in all of Scotland's three matches.
After gaining promotion to The Championship with Doncaster Rovers, Sullivan turned down the offer of extending his playing career at the club as well as an Ambassadorial role in favour of returning to former club Leeds United as Academy Goalkeeper Coach on 16 July. With an injury to Leeds substitute goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown, Sullivan revealed he had not officially retired from playing and would be willing to register himself as a player for the 2013/14 season.
For the start of the 2015–16 season under new Leeds Head Coach Uwe Rösler, Sullivan was to revert to his original role as the Leeds United Academy Goalkeeper Coach. After the appointment of Goalkeeper Coach Richard Hartis on 9 June 2015, Leeds confirmed Sullivan had returned to his role as Academy Goalkeeper Coach.
|Club||Season||Division||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Football League Trophy||Europe||Play Offs||Total|
|Crystal Palace (Loan)||1||0||0||0||0||0||-||-||-||-||-||-||1||0|
|Crystal Palace Total||1||0||0||0||0||0||-||-||0||0||-||-||1||0|
|2000–01||Tottenham Hotspur||Premier League||35||0||5||0||3||0||-||-||-||-||-||-||43||0|
|Tottenham Hotspur Total||64||0||9||0||8||0||-||-||-||-||-||-||81||0|
|Leeds United Total||95||0||4||0||8||0||-||-||-||-||3||0||110||0|
|2006–07||Doncaster Rovers (Loan)||League One||3||0||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||3||0|
|2007–08||Doncaster Rovers||League One||46||0||2||0||2||0||2||0||-||-||3||0||55||0|
|Doncaster Rovers Total||200||0||10||0||4||0||3||0||-||-||3||0||220||0|
|2012–13||AFC Wimbledon (Loan)||League Two||20||0||1||0||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||21||0|
- As of 21.30, 27 April 2013
|Scotland national team|
- Leeds United
- The Championship Playoff final runners-up – 2005–06
- Doncaster Rovers
- Football League Trophy Winner: 2006–07
- League One Play-off winner: 2007–08
- League One Champions: 2012–13
- "Neil Sullivan - Goal.com".
- "Neil Sullivan – No team Football Club". football.co.uk. football.co.uk.
- "Sullivan set for Leeds switch". James Pearson. Sky Sports. 30 July 2004. Retrieved 24 December 2006.[permanent dead link]
- "BBC – Paul Fletcher: From the Dons to Donny". Retrieved 20 September 2017.
- "Yeovil 2–1 Doncaster". BBC News. 21 March 2008. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
- "Doncaster Rovers 0–0 Aston Villa: Sullivan saves Rovers". ESPN Soccernet. 24 January 2009. Retrieved 25 January 2009.
- Steve Hossack (6 July 2011). "Rovers keep stopper Neil". Doncaster Free Press. Retrieved 6 July 2011.
- club press officer (16 November 2012). "Sully rejoins the Dons". AFC Wimbledon Website. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- "Bournemouth 1 – 2 Doncaster". BBC Sport. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- "Retained List 2013 – News – Doncaster Rovers". Retrieved 20 September 2017.
- "Neil Sullivan Departs". Doncaster Rovers F.C. official website. 11 July 2013. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
- "Doncaster Rovers: Goalkeeper Neil Sullivan leaves club". BBC Sport. 11 July 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
- "Leeds United: Neil Sullivan joins academy coaching staff". BBC Sport. 11 July 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
- "SULLIVAN RETURNS TO ELLAND ROAD". Leeds United. 11 July 2013. Archived from the original on 18 July 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
- "LUFC Veteran keeper not writing off Leeds comeback". Vital Leeds. 19 July 2013. Archived from the original on 19 July 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- "Leeds United: Whites move for West Ham's head of recruitment". Yorkshire Evening Post. 30 May 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- "Richard Hartis to join Uwe Rosler's backroom staff at Elland Road". Leeds United. 9 June 2015.
- "Neil Sullivan Career Stats". Soccerbase. 14 April 2013. Archived from the original on 29 January 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
- "Scottish Football Association". www.scottishfa.co.uk. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
- "Sully wins Player of the Year". tottenhamhotspur.com. 28 December 2001.