Mart Poom arrived at Arsenal in 2005 and although he only made two appearances for the Gunners, he maintains that it was a time he ‘relishes’ from his career.
Despite staying at the club for two seasons, Mart Poom only made one league appearance and probably isn’t even remembered by many fans, but the goalkeeper certainly remembers his time at Arsenal.
Known more for his days at Derby, where he spent six years, Poom sees joining Arsenal as an undoubted highlight of his career and in an interview with Premier League World, that really shone through. The odds of him ever making a significant impact at Arsenal were always small, unlike the current squad’s back-up, Matt Turner, who, according to PlayUp Australia review, rarely damages Arsenal’s odds when he starts. But it seems it was the overall experience with Arsenal that mattered for Poom, not the glory on the pitch.
“I was looking forward to training every day, just to train with these great players,”Poom said.
“It was a fantastic experience.
“I was there two years and at least I can say I played for the Arsenal first team.
“I was in the league cup and I played against, bizarrely, my first club Portsmouth one game. I managed to wait for my chance and I really, really relish this time.”
Speaking to The Athletic a few years later in 2019, Poom expanded on his time with the club, including sitting in the stands as Jens Lehmann was sent off during the Champions League final in Paris in 2006.
“I travelled to Paris, but I wasn’t named in the match-day squad,” Poom said.
“Back then you could only name one goalkeeper on the bench and Arsene Wenger picked Manuel Almunia, which meant I was up in the stands.
“When (Lehmann) was sent off, he came and sat with me up in the stands. At that moment, as Almunia ran on to the pitch, the thought running through my head was, ‘It could have been me’.”
In the end, Poom only made one league appearance for Arsenal and never featured for them in the Champions League at any stage.
Poom also played 45 minutes for Arsenal in the League Cup, replacing Manuel Almunia at half-time in a 1-0 win at Everton.
An Estonian national, the goalkeeper was named Footballer of the Year in his country in 1993, 1994, 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2003 and didn’t retire from international football until 2009, six years after he had been named their ‘Golden Player’.
The last I heard, Poom was running coaching schools for young kinds in his home country, something he always hoped he would be able to do after he retired from playing.
He has three sons, one of whom – Markus – plays for Flora Tallinn in the top flight of Estonian football.
Mart Poom career
Mart Poom is a retired Estonian professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper. He began his career playing for clubs in his native Estonia, including Flora Tallinn and Norma Tallinn.
In 1994, he joined Dutch club Willem II Tilburg, where he played for three seasons before moving on to Derby County in 1997. He played for Derby for six seasons and established himself as the club’s first-choice goalkeeper.
In 2003, Poom moved to Sunderland, where he spent two seasons before returning to Derby County in 2005. He played for Derby for another season before retiring from professional football in 2006.
In addition to his club career, Poom also had a successful international career, representing the Estonia national team from 1992 to 2010. He was the team’s first-choice goalkeeper for many years and earned a total of 121 caps for his country. Poom was considered as one of the best goalkeepers in Estonia, he got many records and achievements during his career, his leadership, and shot-stopping ability made him one of the most important players of the national team.
After retiring from playing, Poom has remained involved in football and has worked as a goalkeeping coach and scout.