MILLIONS of football fans seemed stunned by Netherlands’ manager Louis Van Gaal’s decision to change goalkeepers for his side’s World Cup penalty shoot-out against Costa Rica.
However, for supporters of Southend United it was nothing new.
The Shrimpers changed shot-stoppers for a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy penalty shoot out at Oxford United in January 2013, with Daniel Bentley coming on to replace Paul Smith.
And the then Blues manager Paul Sturrock does not understand why the changes cause such uproar.
“Nobody says anything when specialist penalty takers come on so why shouldn’t specialist penalty savers,” said the Scotsman.
“It was something I had always considered doing but had never really had the chance until that night at Oxford.
“Daniel is a very good at saving penalties, for me he was better at keeping them out than Paul and that’s why I made the change.
“However, what I will admit to getting wrong is that I should’ve told Paul before the game that I was considering making the change.
“I didn’t think it was going to come to do it so I didn’t say anything but it was clear while watching the Dutch team that a conversation about such a change had taken place.
“Both goalkeepers were clearly OK with what was going on but it certainly did make me think of the game we had at Oxford.”
Van Gaal opted to replace Jasper Cillessen with Tim Krul between the sticks and was delighted to see the Dutch come out on top.
Blues also beat Oxford with Bentley between the sticks and Sturrock does not feel such a change increases the pressure on those involved.
“I don’t think it really makes any difference and it certainly doesn’t make any difference to a manager,” said Sturrock.
“When you’re in charge you have to be prepared to make these kinds of decisions and that’s exactly what I did.
“I would also have done exactly the same thing if our JPT game against Leyton Orient gone to penalties, which is very nearly did.”
That time Sturrock had advised Smith that a substitution could have been possible.
But the former Plymouth Argyle chief insisted Smith quickly calmed down after initially being angered by the decision.
“Paul sulked about it to start with but he came to see me the next day and had settled down a bit,” said Sturrock.
“He couldn’t really say too much because we had won but if I had it my way penalty shoot-outs would be scrapped altogether.
“I never watch them when my teams are involved and would much prefer the golden goal to come back.
“But penalties make for good viewing, especially on TV, and I guess that’s what it’s all about at the end of the day.”