Spiegel : When opportunity knocks
Fred Barber talks about Raphael Spiegel who signed for West Ham. His Swiss goalkeeping camps; about taking chances when opportunity knocks; and how relatively unknown goalkeepers can still break through.
Pro-SK Director Fred Barber gives his insights on Talent ID and how relatively unknown keepers like Raphael Spiegel can still make the grade.
“Rapha’s a good example ” said Barber. “He turned up at one of our Swiss goalkeeping cams looking for a trial. He was 19 at the time. It can sometimes be a bit daunting because they’re training alongside established keepers. The standards are high and it’s a good benchmark of where they need be. ”
“The opportunity is there for the goalkeepers to showcase their talent. Our Swiss Goalkeeping camps are good ones and you often find the odd gem ” Barber explained. “Tomasz Kuszczak came on a similar course and then got fixed up at West Brom. He would go on to sign for one of the biggest clubs in the world – Manchester United. Adam Bogdan and Ali Al-Habsi were the same. ”
“I recommended him to Jussi and the next thing I knew he’d signed for West Ham “
“The pro lads are really good with all the players regardless of age or ability ” said Fred. “Adam, Jussi, Al-Habsi and Tomasz Kuszczak all came through the camps. They try to come back when they can to inspire the next generation. “
Talking about Talent ID-Barber explained, “I’ve been fortunate to have worked for several clubs and each manager has their own set of idea’s. You’ve got to take that on board and incorporate those fundamentals into your Talent ID philosophy. You try to develop players with a complete set-of-skills and a varied breadth of knowledge so they can adapt in any given situation. ”
So strong is Barbers reputation in the professional game that he is considered by many as the ‘go-to-man’ for discovering and developing emerging new talent. This was none more so, than when his former chief Sam Allardyce signed Raphael Speigel, the relatively unknown 19-year-old as understudy to Jaaskelainen and Adrian whilst managing West Ham.
The young Swiss stopper was unable to kick-on at the Hammers. Successful loan spells in the lower English Leagues allowed Spiegel to secure a move to Portuguese Premier League side Boavista in June 2017, before moving back to his native Switzerland where he established himself as the number 1 choice at FC Winterthur.
Barber added, “I told Jussi about Raphael Spiegel whilst he was at West Ham and Sam signed him. It didn’t work out for Rapha at West Ham but how do you measure success – is it the final-destination or the journey you take along the way? ”
“He turned up looking for a break into the professional game. He joined one of the biggest premier league clubs when he signed for West Ham and developed his craft in the lower leagues. He secured a move to Boavista in the Portuguese Premier League and is currently performing at elite club level in Switzerland. ”
“Sometimes when opportunity knocks, you’ve just got to take a deep breath, open the door and let it in. If you’re not on our radar to take that chance, I guess you’ll never know. “