An email conversation with David Seaman: 'Goalkeepers are remembered for mistakes. It goes with the territory'

England can win World Cup even without Rooney; Arsenal must be at Real best to win European Cup; Running for Bobby Moore Cancer Research Fund; The pain of seeing Ronaldinho's shot go in for Brazil
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Theo Walcott in the England World Cup squad? Comments please. It was a big surprise. For him not to have played a Premiership game and then get drafted into the World Cup - it's a big gamble. I haven't seen the guy play, but Arsenal will have had him watched a lot of times before paying all that money for him. Arsène Wenger has a great track record with his signings, and if he says he will be OK, I'm sure he's right.

So can England win it if Wayne Rooney is unable to play because of his injury? If Wayne can't be there it's a major loss - like Brazil being without Ronaldinho. But England have lots of other players who can make an impact, and often at major championships you see people coming through and making a name for themselves. Michael Owen did it in 1998, and Gazza at the 1990 World Cup. Rooney established himself at the last European Championship. So who knows? I'm not a betting man, but if I do put money on it would be for them to win.

Talking about winning, what do you make of your old team's chances in Wednesday's European Cup final? They've got a great chance. As long as they don't turn up with the team that played the second leg of the semi-final against Villarreal. We need to be the team that beat Real Madrid.

Watching Arsenal play their last match at Highbury the other week must have been something of a mixed experience for you. It was a very positive experience. The club invited masses of its former players. George Graham was there, and Bob Wilson, from the first Double-winning team. And we had players of my era like Lee Dixon and Manu Petit. It was brilliant to see them all.

How important is it to Arsenal to keep Thierry Henry? Do you think they will? It's very important, because he is a great, great player. I just pray they can keep him. But I think it is strange that he hasn't said anything or signed any new contract yet.

Do you watch much football now you are no longer playing? I watched my old club Leeds the other night in the play-off semi-finals. I will watch Arsenal and England, although I find it hard to watch England playing friendlies. But generally I find it hard to watch football. I've got a lot of other interests.

You're raising money for the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK this summer. Tell us about it. I'm taking part in one of the six Run for Moore 5km races which are being organised across the country in the next three months. The aim is to raise half a million pounds towards tackling bowel cancer. Anyone can enter - the website is www.runformoore.org. I got involved with the charity because my wife, Debbie, lost her mother to the disease seven years ago. As a goalie I am not renowned for my running, but this will be worth it. I'm also taking part in the England Legends v Rest of the World Legends match at Old Trafford on 27 May to raise money for Unicef. There's people like Gazza, Zola and Schmeichel involved. It's going out on ITV 1.

Of what are you most proud outside your footballing career? My children. I've got two boys from my first marriage - Thomas, who's 21, and is about to start university, and David, who wants to be a golf pro and plays off two. Then I have my two children with Debbie - Georgina, who is six, and Robbie, who is four.

What was your favourite film, and why? As a child I loved Kes. I really like the bits where the boy is calling to the bird when he is training it. And that bit where the sports master pretends he's Bobby Charlton during the games lesson. It was filmed around Barnsley, which is very close to my home town of Rotherham. But the Barnsley accent is so broad even I found difficulty understanding it. I'm also a fan of the Bond films. And I really liked Oliver!.

Whose idea was it to give you the nickname "Safe Hands"? Please say it wasn't you. It was me, actually, but people have misunderstood how I meant it. I got the idea when I was signing autographs, and I was getting bored with signing Best Wishes or Good Luck. I wanted to think of something else I could put, so I thought as a goalie I would put Safe Hands. I wasn't calling myself Safe Hands, although the media have made a bit out of that at certain times. It was to the person I was signing for. Do other footballers call themselves Be Lucky or Best Wishes?

Presumably the media thing had to do with those long-range goals by Nayim in the 1995 European Cup-Winners' Cup final and Ronaldinho in the 2002 World Cup. Were both those shots meant, do you think? I was told Ronaldinho meant it, but it doesn't matter. The ball went in. To be fair to Nayim, that shot was definitely meant.

Do you think you will be remembered for those goals you let in - or do you think people will remember the saves like the one in the 2003 FA Cup semi-final against Sheffield United? Most goalkeepers are remembered for their mistakes. Only very few are remembered for great saves - Gordon Banks in the 1970 World Cup from the Pele header, or Jim Montgomery's double save in the 1973 FA Cup final. Even great keepers like Ray Clemence tend to get remembered for mistakes, like the shot from Kenny Dalglish that went through his legs. You have to accept it - it goes with the territory of being a keeper.

Remind us of how you lost your ponytail. How strange did it feel after all those years? I had it cut off live on GMTV to raise money for the Bobby Moore fund. I had been thinking about getting rid of it for a while, and Debbie said I should have a change. It definitely felt odd afterwards - I kept putting my hand behind my head to check it was straight and there was nothing there. The moustache won't be going.

What was your worst moment as a keeper? On the pitch, seeing Ronaldinho's shot go in. But my worst moment ever was being released by Leeds. When you get bombed out of a club at 19 it is not a good feeling. You just think, "What do I do now?"

How were your England team-mates about the Ronaldinho goal? They were fine. They all came up to me saying I had kept them in the World Cup with my saves. Nobody said anything bad - but I am 6ft 4in, don't forget.

You gave Pam O'Connor, your partner in the ITV show Dancing On Ice, something of a rough ride, what with falling on her and then dropping her so she needed stitches in her chin. Is she still talking to you? Yes she is! I didn't drop her actually - I still had her in my hands! She's fine. It was harder for the men because they had to lift their partners and do most of the skating. A lot of the girls got away with posing nicely and being whirled around by their partners.

Would you do it again? Yes, definitely. I had a great time. The kids loved watching the show, particularly Georgina. She wanted John Barrowman to win. I said to her, "What about Daddy?" And she said, "You can come second."

Does Paul Robinson deserve to be the England keeper now? By a mile. He's had a great season and he has a good all-round game. He's a calming influence on the other players - he doesn't rant and rave. I like his approach.

And who will be his successor? That is a problem, because we have fewer English keepers playing for top clubs now. It's not easy. I think there should definitely be a cap on the number of foreign players in a team - and there should be all English goalies!

Attachment: The David Seaman lowdown

* 1963 Born 19 Sept, Rotherham.

* 1981 Signed for Leeds United.

* 1982 Went to Fourth Division Peterborough Utd for £4,000.

* 1984 £100,000 move to Second Division Birmingham City.

* 1986 Signed for Queen's Park Rangers for £225,000.

* 1988 First of 75 England caps.

* 1990-91 Bought by Arsenal for £1.3m, a record British fee for a goalkeeper, and conceded only 18 goals as Arsenal won title.

* 1993 Won FA Cup and League Cup.

* 1994 Won European Cup-Winners' Cup.

* 1997-1998 Won Double.

*1998-99 Conceded a club record low of 17 goals in season.

* 2001-2002 Won Double. Let in long-range Ronaldinho goal, giving Brazil 2-1 win over England in World Cup quarter-final.

* 2002-2003 Won FA Cup in last match for Arsenal.

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