Chris Woods

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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 58)
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)
1995 Reading (loan) 5 (0)
1996 Colorado Rapids 23 (0)
1996 Southampton (loan) 4 (0)
1997 Sunderland 0 (0)
1997–1998 Burnley 12 (0)
Total 603 (0)
National team
1979–1983 England U-21 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.

Christopher Charles Eric "Chris" Woods (born 14 November 1959) is a former England international football goalkeeper,[2][3] who played in the Football League and Premier League for Nottingham Forest, Queens Park Rangers, Norwich City, Sheffield Wednesday, Reading, Southampton and Burnley, in the Scottish Football League for Rangers,[4] and in Major League Soccer for the Colorado Rapids.[5] He was working as the goalkeeping coach at Everton and United States. But, with the departure of David Moyes, he followed him to Manchester United to replace Eric Steele as the new goalkeeping coach. In June 2015 he became goalkeeping coach at West Ham United.

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.

Club career

Nottingham Forest

Woods was a confident, brave, and agile goalkeeper, and his association with Shilton began at an early age when he signed for Nottingham Forest as an apprentice in 1976. Over the next three years he never made an appearance for Forest as they won promotion from the Football League Second Division in 1977 - Shilton had yet to arrive at this time - and then won the Football League First Division title straightaway. Shilton came to the club in September 1977 and did not miss a match.

However, Woods was given his chance to make an impact when he was selected by manager Brian Clough to play in Forest's League Cup fixtures that season, as Shilton had already appeared for previous club Stoke City in the competition and was therefore cup-tied. Forest reached the final where they played Liverpool at Wembley and Woods, still only 18, was thrust on to the big stage as an unknown outside of Nottingham, the game ended 0–0. He kept a second clean sheet in the replay and a John Robertson penalty won Forest the game and the Cup.

Woods' heroics were, however, never going to displace Shilton, whose form in the First Division was such that he was only ever going to miss a match if he became injured. Forest went on to win the League Cup again in 1979, but this time Shilton played. Woods was on the bench when Forest then won the European Cup with a 1–0 win over Malmö in Munich, and therefore gained a medal.

Queens Park Rangers

In the summer, Queens Park Rangers offered £250,000 for Woods, even though he was not yet 20 years old and had not made a First Division appearance. The move took place and Woods settled into Second Division life as QPR's first-choice goalkeeper. He played two seasons there before Norwich City offered £225,000 to take Woods to East Anglia.

Norwich City

It was during his time at Norwich City that Woods firmly established himself as a top-class goalkeeper. In 1985, Norwich reached the League Cup final and Woods picked up his second winners medal when his side beat Sunderland 1–0 at Wembley, though Woods almost conceded when Sunderland player Clive Walker struck a penalty against his left-hand post. Norwich were relegated at the end of that season, but England coach Bobby Robson had seen enough to take Woods on a post-season tour of America. The following season, Woods won a second division championship medal as Norwich won promotion back to the top flight at the first attempt. In 2002, he was voted into the club's Hall of Fame.


After the 1986 World Cup, Woods left Norwich for Rangers in a £600,000 deal as one of the original 'English invasion' of players (others of which included Ipswich and England defender Terry Butcher) brought to Glasgow by manager Graeme Souness.

Woods won a Scottish Premier Division title and a Scottish League Cup medal in his first season. From November 1986 to January 1987, Woods set a British record by playing 1196 consecutive minutes of competitive football without conceding a goal.[6] His record finally came to an end from a goal by Adrian Sprott for Hamilton Academicals in a 1-0 win over Rangers at Ibrox in a Scottish Cup tie.[7]

Meanwhile, Woods won another Scottish League Cup winners medal with Rangers. They also regained the Scottish Premier League in 1989, though Woods missed half the season with an ear infection which, crucially for a goalkeeper, affected his balance.

By the summer of 1991, Woods had won another Scottish title medal with Rangers. In the close season, manager Walter Smith, concerned at the implications of a UEFA ruling to limit the number of foreign players eligible to compete in European club competitions, opted to replace Woods with Andy Goram of Hibernian.

Sheffield Wednesday

In August 1991, Rangers accepted an offer of £1.2 million from Sheffield Wednesday manager Trevor Francis and Woods headed to Hillsborough.

Wednesday had just won the League Cup and promotion to the First Division, so Woods was back in English football's top flight again after a six-season absence.

His club career was also full of disappointments in 1993, as Wednesday reached the League Cup final again but lost 2–1 to Arsenal. A few weeks later, Woods finally played in an FA Cup final as Wednesday took on Arsenal yet again, this time drawing 1–1. They were set for another 1–1 draw in the replay and thus penalties before a last-gasp Andy Linighan header in the closing seconds of extra time made it over the line, and Arsenal emerged victorious again. Ironically, both Linighan and Woods were former Norwich players, and the goal meant that Norwich City, rather than Sheffield Wednesday, qualified for the UEFA Cup, the following season.

After Sheffield Wednesday

By the 1995-96 season, Woods found himself out of favour at Wednesday as Kevin Pressman was first-choice goalkeeper, and had a short loan spell at Reading before moving to the USA to play for Colorado Rapids.

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. This loan deal involved a 7-1 defeat at the hands of Everton, and in his fourth appearance he broke his leg at Blackburn Rovers and returned to the USA to recuperate.

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

International career

In the international fold, Woods was once again Shilton's back-up in the England team, but he was given his debut in a friendly against the USA in Los Angeles on 16 June 1985, when still 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 as Shilton's potential replacement; he was not required to play and England went out in the quarter-finals.

While at Rangers, Woods received his fifth England cap - and his second start - in a 2–0 win over Yugoslavia at Wembley which inched England further towards qualification for the 1988 European Championships. 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.[8]

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 also quit afterwards 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 couldn't 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 national football team.[9] 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. In an interesting twist of fate, his 43-cap international career ended where it began - with a game against the USA.[10]

Other appearances

In November 2005, Paul Merson and Walsall approached Woods, ex-England star David Seaman and ex-Wales goalkeeper Neville Southall to perform in an FA Cup game at Merthyr Tydfil as their two first choice goalkeepers, Joe Murphy and Andy Oakes, were unavailable. All three men declined the offer.[11]

In 2005, Chris appeared in Sky One's The Match, replacing Neville Southall late in the second half, saving Darren Campbell's penalty. Woods also appeared in a charity England versus Germany match at Reading's Madejski Stadium in May 2006. The match was played by celebrities and former footballers, with Germany winning 4–2.

Coaching career

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 2011, Woods was employed by the United States men's national soccer team as goalkeeping coach, linking up with Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard.

On 1 July 2013, Everton confirmed that Chris Woods, along with Steve Round and Jimmy Lumsden had been released from their coaching contracts, and would join David Moyes at Manchester United. When Moyes was sacked as manager he was the only coach to remain in his position for time being. He left the position a bit later on the May 13, 2014 after being told by Ed Woodward he was no longer required, and was replaced by Frans Hoek, the choice of Moyes' permanent successor Louis van Gaal.[12] On 15 June 2015 he became goalkeeping coach at West Ham United.[13]


Nottingham Forest
Norwich City


  1. ^ "Christopher Charles Eric 'Chris' Woods - International Appearances". The Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. 
  2. ^ "Chris Woods". Englandstats. Retrieved 24 January 2010. 
  3. ^ "Chris Woods". EnglandFC. Archived from the original on 23 September 2009. Retrieved 24 January 2010. 
  4. ^ "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. ^ Sewell, Albert (7 February 2002). "Ask Albert - Number 53". BBC Sport. Retrieved 1 September 2010. 
  7. ^ Quinn, Bryan (30 January 2008). "Adrian Sprott: Ex-Hamilton Accies". Archived from the original on 15 August 2010. Retrieved 1 September 2010. 
  8. ^ 1990 FIFA World Cup: England Squad, Retrieved 24 January 2010
  9. ^
  10. ^ " - A Complete Database of England Internationals Since 1872". Retrieved 15 June 2015. 
  11. ^ Ley, John (3 November 2005). "Seaman bid falls flat". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  12. ^ Jackson, Jamie (14 May 2014). "Ryan Giggs given chance to be Louis van Gaal's Manchester United No2". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 July 2014. 
  13. ^ "Hammers appoint Woods as goalkeeping coach - West Ham United". Retrieved 15 June 2015. 

External links

  • Chris Woods at Soccerbase
  • Career information at
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