Mart Poom is an Estonian former Goalkeeper. He started his career at Estonian minnows Tallinna Lõvid and then Flora Tallinn before moving to nearby Finland where he played for KuPS and then moving on to Wil in Switzerland.
Poom moved to English football in 1994 with Portsmouth, but played just 4 games for the club over a three year period. His first real stab at the English game came with Derby County, where Poom became a cult hero over 6 years at the club, making almost 150 appearances between the sticks, and winning their player of the season award in 1999/2000.
When Derby got relegated, Poom signed for Sunderland. Shortly after his move Mart scored a dramatic last minute equaliser against his former club, a goal that has gone down in history and was described by the commentator at the time as “the best goal ever scored by a goalkeeper in the 90th minute on his first match against his former club”. He made a total of 58 appearances for Sunderland, a figure that would have been significantly more if it weren’t for a number of injuries he picked up during this time.
Poom’s next club, perhaps surprisingly, was Arsenal. He was signed as cover to Jens Lehmann and Manuel Almunia and made just one first team appearance at the club, though he built strong relationships with the club, as he is now a goalkeeping coach at the Gunners.
His last hurrah in playing was with Watford, who signed him shortly after getting relegated. He made 19 appearances for the club but was again plagued by injury and found himself on the sidelines. Poom retired from playing in 2009.
Mart’s international career saw him make 120 appearances for his native Estonia, one of the highest totals ever achieved by a goalkeeper. He played for his country between 1992 and 2009, and was voted their best player of the last 50 years.
Mart Poom, The North Stand Salutes you!