Bradford No 1 Colin Doyle on the time he competed with THREE England goalkeepers and how it’s helped him become League One’s clean-sheet king

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POUND SAVER

Doyle, who cost the club £1, is preparing for his date with destiny at Wembley vs Millwall in the League One play-off final

COLIN DOYLE is the ‘Poundland’ keeper aiming to help Bradford to Championship riches against Millwall.

And no League One stopper has kept more clean sheets than the 28 that Doyle has managed in the last two seasons.

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Colin Doyle will be between the sticks for Bradford on Saturday

And with 18 in all competitions this season, that works out a 5.5 pence a shutout.


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Compare that to Manchester City keeper Claudio Bravo, who has kept nine clean-sheets this season, with a transfer fee of £17million that works out at £1.88million per clean-sheet.

The Irishman has plenty of experience in the bank after learning his trade under THREE England stoppers.

After 12 years as a Birmingham benchwarmer Doyle, 31, has finally emerged from the shadows of former Blues keepers Joe Hart, Jack Butland and Ben Foster.

Doyle dives as the feet of Fleetwood striker Devante Cole in the play-off semis

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Colin Doyle dives as the feet of Fleetwood striker Devante Cole in the play-off semis that Bradford progressed from

Colin Doyle has been on of Bradford's success stories of the season, with 18 shutouts in all competitions

PA:Press Association Archive

Colin Doyle has been on of Bradford’s success stories of the season, with 18 shutouts in all competitions

And that is thanks to a clause in his contract which meant he could leave Blackpool for just A QUID after their relegation from League One last year.

Doyle is now a game away from helping Bradford return to the Championship after a 13-year absence.

But it is not the Three Lions keepers Doyle credit with being his biggest influence but former Northern Ireland No.1 Maik Taylor.

Doyle says: “It was hard at Birmingham, I broke in when I was 19, played at back end of the season and we got promoted and got into the Premier League.

“And then with the change of manager, Alex McLeish came in and we ended up signing Joe Hart.

“It’s not like I was number two to average keepers, they are all top, international keepers. You just look at Joe, England’s number one. Jack is getting there now. So it was tough

England keeper Joe Hart spent a season on loan with Blues in 2009-10

News Group Newspapers Ltd

England keeper Joe Hart spent a season on loan with Blues in 2009-10, keeping Colin Doyle out of the team

Ben Foster was then signed by Birmingham, which meant more time on the bench for Colin Doyle

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Ben Foster was then signed by Birmingham, which meant more time on the bench for Colin Doyle

Just when Colin Doyle thought he could nail down a place, finally, at Birmingham, the club loaned in Jack Butland

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Just when Colin Doyle thought he could nail down a place, finally, at Birmingham, the club loaned in Jack Butland

“I think Joe was sort of similar age to me, and Ben too, so you take bits, but probably the biggest influence was Maik Taylor at the time. We got on well, he helped me a lot in my younger days.”

Doyle made just made 31 appearances for Blues and was loaned out to four clubs, including his opponents on Saturday.

He might have left sooner but his son Liam was seriously ill with meningitis, meaning the family couldn’t up sticks from the West Midlands.

Doyle and his wife Becky set up a charity called ‘Liam’s Smiles’ which has since raised over £100,000.

He added: “In hindsight know, playing week in week out and enjoying my football, you think ‘yes, I probably should have left’ but at the time it wasn’t feasible because of Liam being ill.

Doyle faced Ecuador in his only previous international appearance for Ireland

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Doyle faced Ecuador in his only previous international appearance for Ireland
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“But as a footballer you want to play week in week out and I’m grateful I’m doing that this season, and I’m doing alright.”

Doyle finally left St. Andrews in the summer of 2015 to sign a two-year deal with Blackpool, agreeing he could leave for free if they went down.

He says: “The FA said that because I had a two-year contract I couldn’t go on a free transfer.

“That’s why we literally stuck in a pound. The FA came back and said yes, that’s a fee. That was the whole pound situation.

“Bradford had a new manager, new owners and, all good pros, but only eight players on the books at the start of the season.

“So the manager had to go out and get 10-15 players to build a squad up, and luckily I was one of them.”

Doyle with Seb Larsson after the keepers penalty save against Wolves in 2007

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Colin Doyle with Seb Larsson after the keeper’s penalty save against Wolves in 2007

Doyle gets an earful of Craig Bellamy during a game against West Ham

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The goalkeeper gets an earful off Craig Bellamy during a game against West Ham

And that has earned his a call-up from Martin O’Neill for Republic of Ireland’s squad against Mexico, Uruguay and Austria this summer.

If he is Bradford’s hero on Saturday, he knows exactly what fans will be singing.

He added: “The chants of ‘he cost us a quid, he cost us a quid, Doyley, he cost us a quid’. It doesn’t annoy me. It’s quite funny at times, it’s a bit of banter.

“We’ve had nearly 18,000 at every game. For League One, the fans have been phenomenal.”



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