Former Estonian national goalkeeper Mart Poom has been voted most valuable player of the 2000s by fans of English football championship team Derby County.
Poom, who played for the club 1997-2003, when they were in the Premier League, was a firm fan favorite from the get-go, BBC Sport reports, and picked up 50 percent of the vote, making him by far the most popular candidate out of a long list and despite only a couple of his Derby seasons falling in the 2000s.
Poom is also considered one of the greatest 'keepers the Rams have ever had – from a pantheon which includes England legend Peter Shilton.
"We had a great team and coaching staff," Poom, talking about his time with the club, who were in the top flight at the time and pulled off a 3:2 win over Manchester United in Poom's debut game in 1997.
"It was very enjoyable, a great time for everyone connected to the club - the players, the staff, the fans. They were all buzzing times and of course it happened that it was probably my best years and I really enjoyed it," Poom, goalkeeping coach for the national team, went on.
One of Poom's most memorable moments involving Derby in fact followed his departure for Sunderland, in a match in September 2003, when at the 90th minute, he sprinted out of his area to the opposite end of the field and scored a header against his former club, at their home ground, Pride Park.
Poom, 50, grew up in the Mustamäe district of Tallinn and also played for top-flight English clubs Watford and Arsenal, before retiring in 2009. He was capped 120 times for the national team, and in 2003 was voted top Estonian footballer of the preceding half-century.
Derby County held the poll as a way of marking the 50th anniversary of the club's maiden Division One win, in 1972 (a feat they repeated three seasons later), dividing players across the decades.
Striker Dean Saunders came out top for the 1990s, while another striker, Kevin Hector, who holds the record number of appearances for the midlands club, took the 1970s category.
For the 2000s, Spanish midfielder Inigo Idiakez and Georgian midfielder Georgi Kinkladze finished second and third respectively, behind Poom.
The club is currently not in such good shape; having gone into administration in November last year, Derby were relegated to the third-tier League One last month, still with former England star Wayne Rooney at the helm.
Editor: Andrew Whyte