Feature by Tony Scholes
Updated Thursday, 22nd May 2014
Date and Place of Birth
1st April 1976 - SZOMBATHEYLY, HUNGARY
Transfers to and from Burnley
from CRYSTAL PALACE - 30th May 2007
released - 1st June 2009
First and Last Burnley Games
WEST BROMWICH ALBION (h) - 11th August 2007
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS (h) - 15th March 2008
SZOMBATHEYLY HALADAS, HERTHA BERLIN, CRYSTAL PALACE,
WEST HAM UNITED (loan), ASTON VILLA (loan),
BAYER LEVERKUSEN (loan from BURNLEY)
TSV MÜNCHEN 1860
Burnley Career Stats
|Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Others||Total|
Profile by Tony Scholes
Having released Danny Coyne at the end of the 2006/07 season after three injury hit seasons then Burnley manager Steve Cotterill turned to experienced Hungarian Gabor Kiraly and brought him to Turf Moor on a free transfer.
Kiraly (pronounced Ki-Rye) signed a two year deal with the Clarets with an option for a third year based on him making 25 appearances or more in each of his two seasons with the club.
He'd just completed three years with Crystal Palace having been brought to England by Iain Dowie following their promotion the Premiership and the vastly experienced keeper also had over 70 international caps to his name.
Kiraly started his career with his home town club Szombathelyi Haladas and played almost 100 games for them before moving to Germany with Hertha Berlin in the summer of 1997 at the age of 21.
He was signed as second choice keeper but by September of his first season he had replaced Christian Fiedler in the side and became the regular first choice. He didn't miss a game for almost four years, until injury ruled him out for seven games in 2000, and he played at the highest level when representing the German club in the Champions League.
This also prompted the Hungarian national coach to make him the first choice and he made his debut for his country in 1998, and his international career run until October 2006. A 2-1 defeat to Malta saw a number of players involved with Hungary for the last time and Kiraly was one of them.
He went on to pass 200 games for Hertha but when new coach Hans Meyer arrived during January 2004 he gave Fiedler his chance back in the side and left Kiraly out. He was told that his contract would not be renewed other than on a vastly reduced amount and he opted to leave on a free transfer.
That's when Dowie took him to Palace as they prepared for a return to the Premiership but he also signed Julian Speroni in the same summer and it was the Argentine who started the season in the side.
However, again having been signed as second choice, he was soon in the side. Speroni hit a poor run of form and was replaced by Kiraly. He played all but the first six of their league games that season and missed only three in the 2005/06 season after relegation.
Palace signed Scott Flinders in the summer of 2006 to replace Kiraly, but that didn't happen. Flinders found himself out on loan with Kiraly still in the side. It was an amazing season that saw Kiraly twice loaned out to West Ham and Aston Villa but remain first choice keeper at Palace.
Manager Peter Taylor had three goalkeepers in Kiraly, Flinders and Speroni and had to reduce that for the 2007/08 season. Kiraly was the one out of contract and after three seasons at Selhurst Park was released.
That brought him to Burnley. He'd been hugely popular with the fans both at Hertha Berlin and Palace but that was never the case at Turf Moor where the fans didn't really take to him at all.
He started the season in the team but an injury, one that could have had very serious consequences, at Scunthorpe in the second league game led to him losing his place in the side. But he was soon back in the side after Brian Jensen had a difficult game against Blackpool and was restored for the away win at Sheffield Wednesday.
That saw him play in every game for the rest of 2007and there were some standout performances. I still recall the wonderful save he made from the James Beattie header in the 0-0 draw at Sheffield United and his performance at The Valley when Charlton put us under some real pressure was simply outstanding.
But a difficult time wasn't far away. On Boxing Day he conceded a goal to a penalty against Sheffield Wednesday when he wasn't on his line ready for the kick. No matter what he was doing this was simply a shocking mistake from referee Mathieson in allowing the kick to be taken.
At Blackpool on New Year's Day, as the whole team turned in an embarrassing performance, he had probably his worst game for the Clarets and many thought he might be left out. He wasn't but played just one more game against Arsenal before Jensen was restored.
Jensen had a ten game run in the side that was littered with errors and that brought Kiraly back in the side but for three games only. He was outstanding in the first game back at Stoke against the bullying but in the third game against Wolves he continued the recent run of goalkeepers letting balls slip through their hands.
It was becoming clear that new manager Owen Coyle wasn't happy with the goalkeeping situation. He restored Jensen for the remainder of the season and after the last game at Palace he placed Kiraly on the transfer list whilst Jensen won a new deal.
Over the summer of 2008 Coyle paid £400,000 for Peruvian international Diego Penny leaving Kiraly on the list and third choice and he spent the first half of the season as substitute goalkeeper for the reserves.
In January he moved on loan to German Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen as cover and remained there until the end of the season without featuring in the first team.
Having failed to play a game for Burnley during the entire season the option for a third season wasn't available and he was inevitably released a week after the play off final win against Sheffield United.
Gabor wasted no time in getting fixed up and on Thursday 4th June he signed a deal with TSV Munich 1860 who have just ended the season half way in Bundesliga 2. His contract, like the one at Turf Moor, is for two years with an option for a third year.
He played just 29 league and cup games for the Clarets and won't be remembered with fondness by most supporters, many of whom often pointed to his match day attire. Gabor always played in track suit bottoms.
Only twice did he wear shorts during his time in England and on both occasions he had disappointing games for Crystal Palace, and it was a similar story in Berlin. It was all a superstitious thing for him as was the way he took position ahead of kick off in each match with his hands behind his back.
On Wednesday 14th November 2012, Gabor played in goal for Hungary against Norway in Budapest. It was his 87th cap and that made him the most ever capped goalkeeper for Hungary, beating the brilliant Gyula Grosics who wib 86 caps between 1947 and 1962.