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Red of the Day - Kevin Keegan

by Frank Dacey

 

Many younger Reds are more likely to associate Kevin Keegan with Newcastle these days, but the Yorkshireman first burst onto the scene with Liverpool and indeed was, arguably, the club’s first superstar. 

Keegan had first come to Bill Shankly’s attention in a long-running Scunthorpe v Tranmere FA cup tie which culminated in a second replay at Goodison Park. Shankly was impressed with Keegan’s effort and enthusiasm and at the end of that season signed Keegan up for the Reds.

 

His arrival was underwhelming, all eyes were on the upcoming FA Cup final against Arsenal and the Reds had made a habit of raiding the lower leagues, putting the signings in the reserves and promoting them if and when they were ready. Most Reds thought Keegan would be no different and didn’t expect to hear much more about the young man for a couple of years.

 

Pre-season seemed to confirm this pattern; I remember seeing Keegan playing for the reserves at Southport and being impressed by him but he was not in the squad for the final pre-season game at Leicester, where the Reds' attack fired a blank in a  disappointing defeat. This was an on-going problem.

 

The previous season had seen only 42 goals scored in the league (42 games a season in those days) and Shankly had been trying to spice up the attack for some time. Many had been called (Hateley, Evans, Toshack and Whitham) but few had been chosen.

 

Shanks did select Keegan for the first league game, at home to Nottingham Forest. He scored after 12 minutes and made a fantastic impression. His energy, drive and effort lit up the side and the goals started going in regularly.

 

Over the next 6 years Keegan was Liverpool’s main man. He was the driving force behind 3 league titles, 2 UEFA cups, an FA Cup and the club’s first European Cup victory in his last game for the reds and in which he gave one of his best performances.

 

Signed for £33,000, he was sold to Hamburg in 1977 for £500,000. A £467,000 profit and 7 major trophies; no wonder Keegan is held in such high esteem by those fortunate enough to see him grace Anfield.

 

 

 

 

keegan_kevin_profile.jpg
Kevin KEEGAN 1971-77

Date of Birth: 14/02/51

Nationality: English

Postition: Striker

Games: 321

Goals: 100

Club Hons (Lpool): European Cup 1976/77, UEFA Cup 1972/73, 75/76, League Championship 1972/73, 75/76, 76/77, FA Cup 1973/74

Int Hons: 63 England Caps

Other Clubs: Scunthorpe, Hamburg, Southampton, Newcastle

 

 


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One of the funniest things I've seen for years is when Liverpool were playing Newcastle a few years ago and he was the manager having cone back for the 68th time.

 

I was walking along Old Hall Street and the Newcastle team bus pulled up outside the Radisson where they were staying. All the team got off the bus including every persons favourite Judas - Michael Owen.

 

There were 3 Japanese girls outside with cameras, pens & paper ready to get an autograph. They all started getting over excited and ran over to the team. Owen stopped, put his case down in anticipation of the girls wanting their photograph taken with them but they shoved past him and swarmed all over Kevin Keegan. I was surprised that they even knew who he was as they must have only been about 18.

 

It reminded me of the end of teen wolf where the knobhead bird who thinks Micheal J. Fox is making a beeline to her gets shoved out the way in favour if his teen sweetheart. His face was fucking hilarious and he stormed inside with the rest of the players.

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Absolutely brilliant player a guy who gave a 100% every game and I mean every game for us and brave as a lion . Took Liverpool to a different level 

Shame that thanks to Sky and all those Soccer am dickheads he gets remembered for “I’d love it” instead of a guy who won everything with us and was twice named European footballer of the year at a time when English football (apart from us) in European and World terms was basically laughed at.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Stickman said:

Absolutely brilliant player a guy who gave a 100% every game and I mean every game for us and brave as a lion . Took Liverpool to a different level 

Shame that thanks to Sky and all those Soccer am dickheads he gets remembered for “I’d love it” instead of a guy who won everything with us and was twice named European footballer of the year at a time when English football (apart from us) in European and World terms was basically laughed at.

 

 

The European Cup winners the years he won it were us then Forest..... 

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1 hour ago, Stickman said:

Absolutely brilliant player a guy who gave a 100% every game and I mean every game for us and brave as a lion . Took Liverpool to a different level 

Shame that thanks to Sky and all those Soccer am dickheads he gets remembered for “I’d love it” instead of a guy who won everything with us and was twice named European footballer of the year at a time when English football (apart from us) in European and World terms was basically laughed at.

 

 

Spot on brother. He was fantastic for us. A genuine red legend. To have a player as good as him replaced by our finest ever with 60.000 profit just shows how important he was to us. He will always make my all time eleven. Happy 70th Kev

 

 

 

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I’m not quite old enough to have watched Keegan play for Liverpool.

 

My dad was a Newcastle fan though so I saw him a good few times playing for them alongside the likes of Terry McDermott, Peter Beardsley and Chris Waddle. 
 

Obviously coming to the end of his career by then but he still had that infectious quality that inspired those around him. 
 

I loved the way he talked, in interviews, about Liverpool and Shanks, genuine affection and respect. 
 

It’s a little unfair on him that any conversation about him as a Liverpool player ultimately ends with how he was replaced by someone better. That may be true, but Kevin Keegan was still one of the greatest players ever to wear the Liverbird on his chest. 

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13 minutes ago, YorkshireRed said:

I’m not quite old enough to have watched Keegan play for Liverpool.

 

My dad was a Newcastle fan though so I saw him a good few times playing for them alongside the likes of Terry McDermott, Peter Beardsley and Chris Waddle. 
 

Obviously coming to the end of his career by then but he still had that infectious quality that inspired those around him. 
 

I loved the way he talked, in interviews, about Liverpool and Shanks, genuine affection and respect. 
 

It’s a little unfair on him that any conversation about him as a Liverpool player ultimately ends with how he was replaced by someone better. That may be true, but Kevin Keegan was still one of the greatest players ever to wear the Liverbird on his chest. 

Hard to disagree. Problem was that it was the first time a prominent Liverpool star left for more money and the player also considered the move a 'step up.' This left a bitter taste in many supporter's mouths and sullied Keegan's reputation to many as fans felt he owed the club as LFC and Shanks made him the player he became. While he always speaks highly of Shanks there just doesn't seem to be the love of the fans in the same way he speaks about Newcastle for instance. It was a shame and masks the legacy of the superb player he was.

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Broke my heart when he said he wanted to leave. Couldnt believe it. He'd been as instrumental in getting the club winning trophies again as anyone. Never forget watching MoTD and him shinning that one in, 14 minutes into his debut against Forest. He ran Bertie Vogts ragged in Rome as well so that eased the pain a bit.

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6 hours ago, VladimirIlyich said:

Hard to disagree. Problem was that it was the first time a prominent Liverpool star left for more money and the player also considered the move a 'step up.' This left a bitter taste in many supporter's mouths and sullied Keegan's reputation to many as fans felt he owed the club as LFC and Shanks made him the player he became. While he always speaks highly of Shanks there just doesn't seem to be the love of the fans in the same way he speaks about Newcastle for instance. It was a shame and masks the legacy of the superb player he was.

Well when he came back with Hamburg and we hammered them 5 or 6 nil there were good natured chants of 'you should have stayed at Anfield' but when he returned as a Southampton player, all he got all game was 'fuck off, Keegan!' chants from the kop. That was uncalled for.

 

Does he have more affection for the geordies? I dont know but getting abuse at Anfield must have hurt and sullied him a little.

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I was at that game against Forest, my first period as a season ticket holder, when he made his debut, 3-1 to us I think, and he was a revelation, two moves ahead of everyone else. I was lucky enought to get to Rome in '77 in his last game for us when he ran Berti Vogts ragged. Great player, great bloke,too.

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8 hours ago, dockers_strike said:

Well when he came back with Hamburg and we hammered them 5 or 6 nil there were good natured chants of 'you should have stayed at Anfield' but when he returned as a Southampton player, all he got all game was 'fuck off, Keegan!' chants from the kop. That was uncalled for.

 

Does he have more affection for the geordies? I dont know but getting abuse at Anfield must have hurt and sullied him a little.

Southampton beat us 1-0 with a late Steve Moran goal with Keegan in the side and they may have beaten us at their ground too that season. He did raise his game against us and always felt he had something to prove. His demeanour has always been the opposite of Kenny and is why Kenny is loved so much while Keegan's relationship with our fans is often lukewarm at best.

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On 16/02/2021 at 18:14, Frank Dacey said:

Pound for pound, our best ever signing, and I'd argue the one who had the most transformative effect on the team. Great player.

Agree with that Frank.

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