Football: Goram thankful for emergency call

That was the weekend that was
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The Independent Online
ON A Saturday notable for veteran goalkeepers making comebacks - Bury had Bruce Grobbelaar between the sticks at Birmingham - arguably no one suffered from culture shock to quite the same degree as Andy Goram.

Goram's world fell apart this summer when he pulled out of Scotland's World Cup squad for mysterious "personal reasons" and lost his job with Rangers after seven years at Ibrox.

Little has been seen or heard of him since but he turned up on Saturday in goal for Notts County. There were less than 4,500 people there in an atmosphere somewhat removed from the Scottish Cup final, Goram's last competitive appearance - in front of 49,000.

The opportunity to stand in for Darren Ward - on international duty with Wales - was one he dared not miss after four months of wondering whether, at 34, his career was at an end.

"It's been the worst time of my career," he said. "I just sat by the phone waiting for a call but nothing happened. This is my 18th season in the game. Football is my life."

Last week, however, the long wait for a telephone call ended when Sam Allardyce, the County manager, asked him to help out.

Just in case anyone doubted he had lost the touch that won him 43 caps he pulled off some fine saves against Wigan, even though he could not prevent a County defeat.