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Stephen Bywater
Stephen Bywater
Personal information
Full name Stephen Michael Bywater
Date of birth 7 June 1981 (1981-06-07) (age 28)
Place of birth    Manchester, England
Height 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Club information
Current club Derby County
Number 1
Youth career
 ????–1997 Rochdale
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
West Ham United
Wycombe Wanderers (loan)
Hull City (loan)
Wolverhampton Wanderers (loan)
Cardiff City (loan)
Coventry City (loan)
Derby County (loan)
Derby County
Ipswich Town (loan)
000 (0)
059 (0)
002 (0)
004 (0)
000 (0)
000 (0)
014 (0)
002 (0)
119 (0)
017 (0)   
National team2
2001–2003 England U21 06 (0)

1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only and
correct as of 11:00, 11 March 2010 (UTC).
2 National team caps and goals correct
as of 13:16, 1 September 2006 (UTC).
* Appearances (Goals)

Stephen Michael Bywater,[1] (born 7 June 1981 in Manchester) is an English professional football player who plays as a goalkeeper. He has made appearances for seven clubs, most notably his current club Derby County, where he won the 2007 Championship Playoff final and West Ham United, where he spent eight seasons and made over 60 appearances. He is also a former England Under-21 international.


Club career


West Ham United

Bywater attended the Blue Coat School, Oldham as a boy and started his career in August 1997 with Rochdale. His only first team appearance was against Carlisle United in an Autoglass Trophy game which Rochdale lost 6-1. He was brought to West Ham as a 17 year old by Harry Redknapp in February 1998 for £250,000, rising to £1.75m depending on performances and achievements. He graduated through the youth set-up and featured in West Ham's 1999 FA Youth Cup winning team along with Joe Cole and Michael Carrick.[2]

He spent the next two seasons learning from former Manchester United, Aston Villa and Coventry City goalkeeper Les Sealey and sitting in the pecking order behind Craig Forrest, Bernard Lama and Shaka Hislop. With first team opportunities limited, Bywater joined Wycombe Wanderers on loan in September 1999, making two appearances, and then went to Hull City on loan in November 1999, making four appearances.[3] A broken leg for Shaka Hislop meant a debut for Bywater at the age of 19 against Bradford City in February 2000, in a game that saw Bradford score four times but which West Ham eventually won 5-4.[4] Bywater also appeared in the final three games of the 1999-00 season, against Arsenal, Sunderland and Leeds United and made a single appearance in the following season against Bradford in February 2001.[3]

Wolves signed Bywater on loan in July 2001 to ease a goalkeeping crisis[5] but he returned to West Ham the following month having not made an appearance for Wolves other than on the bench in the opening game of the season against Portsmouth.[6] His chances to move up the pecking order were limited with the club signing David James in July 2001 and the retention of Shaka Hislop as James was injured on international duty in August 2001,[7] and he did not make a single appearance for West Ham in the 2001-02 season nor in the 2002-03 season.[3] He joined Cardiff City on a one-month loan at the end of March 2002 but made no appearance there.[3]

Eventually, after the club was relegated in 2002-03 and David James moved to Manchester City in January 2004,[8] Bywater became a regular starter in the first-team, making 23 appearances as West Ham reached the First Division play-off final, where they were beaten 1-0 by Crystal Palace.[3][9] He signed a three-year contract extension in June 2004, saying "I am very pleased to have signed on for another three years at West Ham. We were very unlucky last year and I am sure that we will start next season with a squad capable of challenging for promotion again. The club have invested a lot in my career and the manager showed great faith in me last season. I am determined to repay everyone at the club by helping the team back into the Premiership."[10]

He soon had to share the role of the club's primary keeper with Jimmy Walker who was brought in from Walsall in June 2004 to provide competition for Bywater.[11] Bywater made 39 league and cup appearances in the 2004-05 season for West Ham as the club were promoted to the Premiership,[3] and appeared in the play-off final at the Millennium Stadium in May 2005, coming on as a late substitute for the injured Jimmy Walker in the 1-0 victory over Preston North End.[12]

The signing of Roy Carroll in June 2005[13] and the re-signing of Shaka Hislop on a one-year contract in July 2005[14] once again limited Bywater's first-team opportunities and he joined Coventry City in August 2005, on loan until the end of the year,[15] where he made 14 appearances.[3] An injury to Carroll however led to Bywater being recalled from Coventry in October 2005.[16] He made a single appearance for West Ham in the remainder of the 2005-06 season, against West Bromwich Albion in November 2005.[3]

Derby County

Bywater in 2007.

Bywater joined Derby County in August 2006 on an initial emergency loan deal for two weeks and signed a permanent three-year deal two weeks later for a fee of £225,000.[3][17] Before the 2008-09 season, he wore the number 43 shirt at Derby as a tribute to his mentor and former goalkeeping coach Les Sealey, who died at the age of 43 in 2001, saying, "Les looked after me most of the time. He took me to training every day, coached me and advised me on life. I know he is watching over me and that he wants me to do well, so that was for him."[18] Bywater made 43 league and cup appearances in the 2006-07 season[3] as Derby reached the Championship play-off final, where they beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0 to secure a place in the Premier League.[19]

In June 2007, Bywater reiterated his desire to play for England and his hopes to be noticed in the 2007-08 season, saying "I grew up with a few of the lads like Paul Robinson, Rob Green and Chris Kirkland and they are good but I don't think they are anything special. I do believe if I play well and have a good season, I will be up there in contention. I am confident but not cocky."[20] After a first half of the season that saw Derby County rooted to the foot of the Premier League, Bywater joined Ipswich Town on loan in January 2008 for the rest of the season.[21] Jim Magilton, manager of Ipswich Town, described him as, "...a young, ambitious keeper who knows what is needed to win promotion from this division."[21] He made his debut for Ipswich Town against Sheffield Wednesday in February 2008 and made 17 appearances in the remainder of the 2007–08 season as Ipswich finished below the play-off places.[22] Despite playing second fiddle to Roy Carroll for the start of the 2008-09 season, Bywater regained and retained his place in the team after Carroll was sent off against Norwich City. His form was good enough that he held the number 1 position for the rest of the season and signed a new 3 year contract with Derby on 13 January 2009.[23] He made his 100th appearance for the club away to Blackpool on 8 August 2009, keeping a clean sheet.[24] In December 2009, after keeping two successive clean sheets, manager Nigel Clough praised Bywater's performances in the two games: "Stephen has been exemplary. He is fully fit and approaching the peak of his career. He has a good temperament, which is probably a factor of his age. He works hard in training and, like all goalkeepers, he is a bit daft."[25]

International career

Bywater made his England U19 debut during 1999 and rotated in the role with both Paul Robinson and Chris Kirkland. He later progressed to the U21 team with the same group of players though by that time both Kirkland and Robinson had become established league players. Injuries had limited his opportunities with both a broken finger and later on a fractured wrist holding up his development and limiting his opportunities. He made six appearances for the U21 team.[26]

Bywater was tipped to be called up for the England squad after Derby's promotion to the Premier League in 2006/07,[27] but he wasn't picked. Derby County manager Nigel Clough believes Bywater has an outside chance of making the World Cup in South Africa in 2010 as a 3rd choice goalkeeper for the England squad.[28]


  1. ^ "Bywater's full name". Player History. Retrieved 2007-09-13. 
  2. ^ Barber, David (2006-01-01). "The class of '99". Retrieved 2007-08-12. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Stephen Bywater". Soccerbase. Racing Post. Retrieved 2007-08-12. 
  4. ^ "Flair and farce in equal measures". BBC Sport. 2000-06-29. Retrieved 2007-08-12. 
  5. ^ "Wolves turn to Bywater". BBC Sport. 2001-07-14. Retrieved 2007-07-06. 
  6. ^ "Wolves 2-2 Portsmouth". BBC Sport. 2001-08-11. Retrieved 2007-08-12. 
  7. ^ "England duo face fitness wait". BBC Sport. 2001-08-16. Retrieved 2007-08-12. 
  8. ^ "James seals Man City deal". BBC Sport. 2004-01-14. Retrieved 2007-08-12. 
  9. ^ "Crystal Palace 1-0 West Ham". BBC Sport. 2004-05-29. Retrieved 2007-08-12. 
  10. ^ "Bywater nets new deal". BBC Sport. 2004-06-23. Retrieved 2007-08-12. 
  11. ^ "Walker sad to leave Walsall". BBC Sport. 2004-06-12. Retrieved 2007-08-12. 
  12. ^ "West Ham 1-0 Preston". BBC Sport. 2005-05-30. Retrieved 2007-08-12. 
  13. ^ "Carroll completes West Ham move". BBC Sport. 2005-06-15. Retrieved 2007-08-12. 
  14. ^ "Keeper Hislop signs for West Ham". BBC Sport. 2005-07-29. Retrieved 2007-08-12. 
  15. ^ "Bywater seals Coventry loan move". BBC Sport. 2005-08-03. Retrieved 2007-08-12. 
  16. ^ "Hammers recall Bywater from loan". BBC Sport. 2005-10-20. Retrieved 2007-08-12. 
  17. ^ "Derby capture goalkeeper Bywater". BBC Sport. 2005-08-12. Retrieved 2007-08-12. 
  18. ^ "Bywater eyes top-flight return". BBC Sport. 2007-02-27. Retrieved 2007-07-07. 
  19. ^ "Derby 1-0 West Brom". BBC Sport. 2007-05-28. Retrieved 2007-08-12. 
  20. ^ "Friday's gossip column". BBC Sport. June 1, 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-01. 
  21. ^ a b "Bywater and Colgan join Ipswich". BBC Sport. 2008-01-31. Retrieved 2008-05-11. 
  22. ^ "Games played by Stephen Bywater in 2007/2008". Soccerbase. Racing Post. Retrieved 2008-05-11. 
  23. ^ "Bywater signs new Rams contract". BBC.CO.UK. Retrieved 200-13-01. 
  24. ^ "RAMS TEAM NEWS EXCLUSIVE".,,10270~1759712,00.html. Retrieved 2009-08-17. 
  25. ^ "Derby boss Nigel Clough hails keeper Stephen Bywater". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2009-12-15. 
  26. ^ "England U21 Caps, 1976-present". Football Association. Retrieved 2007-08-12. 
  27. ^
  28. ^

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