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Kevin Keegan

Joseph Kevin Keegan, OBE (born February 14, 1951 in Armthorpe, South Yorkshire, England)[1] is a former English football coach and one of the all-time greatest players. He is the Englishman with the best managerial record in the FA Premier League as he has twice taken Newcastle United to a second place finish. A former England international manager and player, he decided to retire after leaving FA Premier League side Manchester City as club manager on March 10, 2005.

Life and playing career

Keegan was rejected by local club Doncaster Rovers but made the grade further towards the east coast when Scunthorpe United offered him terms. He made 120 appearances for the club before an offer of £35,000 was accepted from Liverpool manager Bill Shankly in the summer of 1971, the deal was finalised on 10 May.[1]


On 14 August 1971 Keegan made his Liverpool debut against Nottingham Forest at Anfield and after just 12 minutes he scored, albeit with a completely mis-hit shot which was all he could muster after he miscontrolled a pass from Peter Thompson. He quickly established himself as a brave, pacey, incisive goalscorer and fan favourite. Keegan was also being tracked by England, making his debut at under-23 level later in 1971. His full debut wasn't long in coming either; it came in a World Cup qualifier against Wales at Ninian Park the following year. The game finished in a 1-0 victory for the English and, more importantly for Keegan, started him on his way to 63 caps. Keegan's first goal for his country also came in a game against Wales at Ninian Park. This time it was a British Home Championship match that England won 2-0 on 11 May 1974.

In 1973, Keegan won his first domestic honours when he and John Toshack formed the prolific goal-scoring partnership which helped Liverpool win their first League championship in seven years as well as the UEFA Cup. Keegan scored twice in the first leg of the final as Liverpool overcame Borussia Mönchengladbach 3-2 on aggregate. The partnership that he formed with Tosh was almost telepathic at times. One famous piece of commentary by David Coleman emphasises the duo's partnership exactly; all he said was "Toshack, Keegan, one nil", Shoot, the football magazine, got into the act as well, getting Tosh and Keegan to dress up in Batman and Robin costumes for a photo shoot. They were Liverpool's Dynamic Duo.

Kevin Keegan Tribute

Movie, Video, Film, Clip

Late in 1973, Keegan was a substitute as England faced Poland at Wembley, needing to win to secure a place at the World Cup the following summer. With the score at 1-1 and England close to elimination, Keegan started to get changed when he heard manager Alf Ramsey say: "Kevin, get ready". Sadly for Keegan, Ramsey was speaking to Derby County striker Kevin Hector, who was duly introduced as a late substitute and very nearly scored with his first touch. Keegan never got on the pitch, the game ended in a draw and England failed to qualify.

The following year Keegan was again a frequent scorer but Liverpool surrendered the League title to a relentless Leeds United team who had gone unbeaten for a then-record 29 games at the start of the season. However, Liverpool progressed to the FA Cup final. Their campaign in the competition had started with a tie against the club who had spurned Keegan, Doncaster Rovers, and it was their homeboy who scored both goals in a 2-2 draw. Liverpool won the replay. Keegan scored twice more on the way to Wembley, including a stunning lob-volley over the head of England colleague Peter Shilton in the semi-final against Leicester City at Villa Park. In the final, Keegan scored two as Liverpool hammered Newcastle United 3-0 - his first a terrific chest-down and volley from 25 yards after Brian Hall had fooled the Newcastle defence by diving under the ball; his second a far-post stretch and tap-in after great work down the flank between Tommy Smith and Steve Heighway. It was the first brace in an FA Cup final since Mike Trebilcock scored twice for Everton in 1966.

Personal information
Full name Joseph Kevin Keegan OBE
Date of birth February 14, 1951 (1951-02-14)
Place of birth    Armthorpe, Doncaster, England
Height 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Playing position Forward
Youth clubs

Enfield House YC
Scunthorpe United
Senior clubs1
Years Club App (Gls)*
Scunthorpe United
Hamburger SV
Newcastle United
124 0(18)
230 0(68)
090 0(32)
068 0(37)
078 0(48)
590 (203)   
National team
1973-1982 England 063 0(21)
Teams managed
Newcastle United
Manchester City
1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only.
* Appearances (Goals)

Keegan's next visit to Wembley was three months later in the Charity Shield game, the traditional curtain-raiser to a new season between the League champions and the FA Cup winners. However, Keegan's contribution proved less than charitable - he was sent off, along with Leeds captain Billy Bremner after a scuffle on the pitch. Both players removed their shirts in protest, with Keegan visibly shaken by the decision. The fight was shown that night on BBC television and both were fined £500, with Keegan was suspended for three games and Bremner eight.

The next year saw Keegan scoring goals and representing his club and country with distinction, but 1975 was a trophyless season for Liverpool and England failed to qualify for the 1976 European Championships. There were honours aplenty for Keegan over the next two years, however, as Liverpool again won the League championship and UEFA Cup. Keegan scored in both legs of the final against FC Bruges, although he had only scored once previously during Liverpool's run in the competition.

In 1977, Keegan was instrumental in Liverpool's charge towards an unprecedented "treble" of League championship, FA Cup and European Cup, though he rocked the boat midway through the season when he announced his intention to leave in the summer to try his luck on foreign soil. Nevertheless, Keegan was irrepressible as Liverpool clinched the title and reached the finals of both Cup competitions. Keegan's last appearance in a Liverpool shirt on home soil was a sad one, however, as Liverpool lost the FA Cup final to bitter rivals Manchester United, ruining the "treble" dream. The vintage Liverpool returned for the European Cup final in Rome against Borussia Mönchengladbach four days later and Keegan's last ever Liverpool appearance was a glorious one. He didn't score, but Keegan did make a run late which led to a foul inside the penalty area by Berti Vogts. This lead to a coolly dispatched penalty from Phil Neal which sealed a 3-1 win.

After 323 appearances and exactly 100 goals, Keegan left Liverpool as promised. He had been made many offers from clubs on the continent but chose to join Hamburg SV in Germany for £500,000. Liverpool replaced him with a Scotsman by the name of Kenny Dalglish.


With Hamburg, Keegan became a worldwide superstar and was twice named European Footballer of the Year. He played for them in the 1980 European Cup final, losing to Nottingham Forest, before returning to England to play for Southampton.


On 10 February 1980, Lawrie McMenemy called a press conference at the Potters Heron hotel, Ampfield to announce that the European Footballer of the Year would be joining Southampton in the forthcoming summer. The news caused shock-waves throughout the world of football and around the city of Southampton. The club's fans found it hard to believe that their little club had attracted a player of such pedigree. The club were beginning to become established in the top division, but this signing showed how persuasive their manager could be.

He made his debut at Lansdowne Road in a friendly against Shamrock Rovers on 23 July 1980. Keegan's speed and intelligence combined with fitness and determination enabled him to overcome his lack of natural ability. Keegan's two seasons at The Dell were the most enjoyable in the club's history, being part of a flamboyant team also containing Alan Ball, Phil Boyer, Mick Channon and Charlie George and in 1980-81 Saints scored 76 goals, finishing in 6th place, then their highest league finish.

In the following season, Keegan was able to produce some of his best form and at the end of January 1982 Saints sat proudly at the top of the Division 1 table. Keegan was voted the PFA Player of the Year. A run of only three wins from the end of February meant a rather disappointing 7th place finish. Keegan had scored 26 of the team's 72 goals and was voted the club's Player of the Year. Keegan had fallen out with McMenemy over the manager's failure to strengthen the team's defence (which leaked 67 goals in the season) whilst the team was at the top of the table. There were also rumours that McMenemy had charged the whole team of "cheating" after a 3-0 defeat by Aston Villa in April 1982 to which Keegan took great exception.

Although Keegan joined Saints pre-season tour he had already decided to move on to seek a new challenge and a few days before the start of the 1982-83 season he signed for Second Division Newcastle United for a fee of £100,000.

He continued to play for England, captaining them in the 1980 European Championships in Italy and then finally reached a World Cup when England got to the 1982 finals in Spain.

Keegan was duly named in the squad for the tournament but was suffering from a chronic back injury and was unfit to play in all of England's group games. In a last, desperate effort to play in a World Cup (he knew that he would not be around for the 1986 competition) he secretly hired a car and drove from Spain to a specialist he knew in Germany for intensive treatment. It worked to the extent that he came on as a substitute for a crucial second round pool game against the host nation which England had to win. Unfortunately, his few minutes of World Cup football will be forever remembered for a point blank header which he directed wide with the goal at his mercy.

When Bobby Robson became the new England coach after that World Cup, Keegan was left out of his first squad, a decision he learned of from the media rather than Robson himself. Keegan expressed his public displeasure and never played for his country again. He won a total of 63 caps (and almost certainly would have won considerably more had it not been for England's inability to qualify for three major tournaments during Keegan's international career) and scored 21 goals. He captained his country 31 times.


Keegan joined Newcastle United and spent two seasons there, during which time he was adored by the supporters. He played 78 times, scored 48 goals and helped them to promotion from the Second Division in 1984, within a team which also contained Peter Beardsley, Chris Waddle and Terry McDermott. Keegan announced his retirement prior to the end of the 1984 season and on the last day of the season left St James' Park ground by helicopter, still in his kit, after an emotional (and goalscoring) farewell. He moved with his family to Spain and lived an exile's life until the call came back from Newcastle and his career as a manager began.

Managerial career


In February 1992, after eight years of retirement and golf in Spain, Keegan returned to the game as manager of Newcastle United. Widely heralded by a loving Newcastle public as the "Geordie Messiah"[2], he, along with his assistant and close friend Terry McDermott - who Keegan paid out of his own pocket for the first year of their managerial partnership - led Newcastle to promotion to the Premier League as First Division champions in 1993.

Although Keegan was appointed Director of Football in 1994 and agreed a new deal that tied him to the club for next 10 years, he resigned as manager of Newcastle on January 8, 1997.

During Keegan's reign as manager, Newcastle finished runners-up to Manchester United in the Premier League in 1996, with that team christened "The Entertainers". England striker Alan Shearer was transferred from Blackburn Rovers to Newcastle for a then world record fee of £15 million.

It was during the 1995-96 season at Newcastle that Keegan had his famous rant on Sky Sports. Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson (famous for playing psychological games with opponents) had suggested that teams tried harder against Man Utd than Newcastle. After Newcastle's hard fought victory over Leeds United in their next match, an emotional Keegan was interviewed on Sky Sports. Seeming to be on the verge of tears, Keegan said:

“When you do that with footballers like he said about Leeds... I've kept really quiet, but I'll tell you something: he went down in my estimation when he said that - we have not resorted to that. But I'll tell ya - you can tell him now if you're watching it - we're still fighting for this title, and he's got to go to Middlesbrough and get something, and... and I tell you honestly, I will love it if we beat them - LOVE IT!.”

This rant came as Newcastle's previous 12-point lead at the top of the Premiership had been eroded. By then Man Utd had already got into a better position, and they won the title that season.


On leaving Newcastle, Keegan was appointed as chief operating officer at Second Division club Fulham, with Ray Wilkins as manager. When Wilkins was sacked as manager in 1998, Keegan took over his coaching role. He won the Second Division in 1999 in a record-breaking season, but left to manage England in an unpopular move amongst Fulham fans. Significantly, however, he signed Chris Coleman, who went on to be their manager.

English International team

Keegan was named new England coach in February 1999 succeeding Glenn Hoddle. He led the team for a winning start with 3-1 win over Poland to reignite England's Euro 2000 qualifying campaign.

After an initial popular period as manager, he began to come under fire for his perceived tactical naivety. This came to a head during the unsuccessful Euro 2000 campaign, as England beat Germany, but lost 3-2 to both Romania and Portugal, despite taking the lead in each game.

Keegan resigned as England coach on October 7, 2000, after England lost to a Dietmar Hamann goal for Germany in their first World Cup qualifier in the last game to be played at Wembley Stadium before its demolition and reconstruction.

When Sven-Goran Eriksson became England manager, Eriksson appointed the 64-year old Tord Grip as his assistant. This caused Keegan to complain that when he was England manager, the FA had told him that he couldn't have Arthur Cox as his assistant because at 60, Cox was too old. Keegan went on, "I wasn't allowed to bring in the people I wanted and that was wrong. Mr Eriksson was and I'm delighted for him because that's the way it should be." [3]

Manchester City

He was appointed manager of first division Manchester City on May 24, 2001 replacing Joe Royle. Keegan signed experienced international players such as Stuart Pearce, Eyal Berkovic and Ali Benarbia. In a breathtaking season City were promoted as champions after scoring 124 goals in all competitions, including 8 against Crewe Alexandra and Barnsley F.C., 9 against Burnley, 10 against Sheffield Wednesday and 11 against Birmingham City.

In preparation for his second season as manager (2002-03) he signed Nicolas Anelka, Peter Schmeichel and Marc-Vivien Foé. This season was again exciting as City won at Anfield and took four points off Manchester United, but conceded five goals at Stamford Bridge and at home to Arsenal, before finishing ninth in the Premier league.

For 2003-04, the club's first season at the new City of Manchester Stadium (Eastlands), Keegan signed more players including Paul Bosvelt, David Seaman and Michael Tarnat. Despite Keegan falling out with Berkovic, City started well and were 5th in the league on 5 November. However, a disappointing draw at home to Polish minnows Dyskobole led to their elimination from the UEFA Cup and a slump in form. City did not win again in the league until 21 February, and finished 16th in the league, although there was a reminder of Keegan's better times away to Tottenham Hotspur on 4 February 2004; despite going in at half time 3-0 behind and with ten men after Joey Barton was sent off, Keegan's team came back to win 4-3.

When the 2004-05 campaign began, Keegan was many people's number one candidate to be the first managerial casualty of the season. City's Premiership form improved that season, but Keegan quit as manager on the 10 March 2005 and decided to retire from football. The club went on to finish eighth under his successor Stuart Pearce, narrowly missing out on a place in Europe.


Club Performance
Club Season Total
App Goals
Newcastle United 1983-84 41 27
1982-83 37 21
Southampton 1981-82 41 26
1980-81 27 11
Club Season Total
App Goals
Hamburger SV 1979-80 31 9
1978-79 34 17
1977-78 25 6
Club Season Total
App Goals
Liverpool 1976-77 57 20
1975-76 57 16
1974-75 42 12
1973-74 61 19
1972-73 64 22
1971-72 42 11
Scunthorpe United 1970-71 ? ?
1969-70 ? ?
1968-69 ? ?
Total   559 217


Keegan was made an Inaugural Inductee of the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002 in recognition of his impact on the English game as both a player and manager.

Career honours

Honours as player



  • 1972/73 League Championship (Level 1)
  • 1972/73 UEFA Cup
  • 1973/74 FA Cup
  • 1974/75 Charity Shield
  • 1975/76 League Championship (Level 1)
  • 1975/76 UEFA Cup
  • 1976/77 Charity Shield
  • 1976/77 League Championship (Level 1)
  • 1976/77 European Cup

Runner Up

  • 1973/74 League Championship (Level 1)
  • 1974/75 League Championship (Level 1)
  • 1976/77 FA Cup

Hamburger SV


  • 1978/79 German Bundesliga

Runner Up

  • 1979/80 German Bundesliga
  • 1979/80 European Cup

Newcastle United


  • 1983/84 Football League Second Division (Level 2) Promotion

Honours as manager

Newcastle United


  • 1992/93 Football League First Division (Level 2)

Runner Up

  • 1995/96 FA Premier League (Level 1)
  • 1996/97 Charity Shield



  • 1998/99 Football League Second Division (Level 3)

Manchester City


  • 2001/02 Football League First Division (Level 2)

The future

Despite announcing his retirement from football on quitting Manchester City in 2004-05, the 54-year-old Keegan was linked with the manager of Scottish Premier League leaders Hearts in October 2005 following the sudden resignation of manager George Burley. Keegan's name resurfaced on 1 January 2006, when he was linked with a shock return to management with English Premier League strugglers Sunderland. In May 2006, Keegan was set to join Israeli club Beitar Jerusalem for a reported £1.5 million a year, but he pulled out following the news being leaked to the press.[4] In August 2006, Doncaster Rovers were reportedly wanting Keegan to be their new manager following Dave Penney's resignation on August 30. Kevin Keegan will not be returning to football management in the near future as his main occupation is running Soccer Circus at Xscape at Braehead in Glasgow. Opened in late Sept 2006, this interactive soccer experience is attracting old and new fans, young and old to be coached by the man himself.

In 2006 he was voted in at No.8 in the Liverpool F.C. poll of over 110,000 Liverpool fans, 100 Players Who Shook The Kop.[5]


Keegan was known as "Mighty Mouse" throughout his career.[6]


  • Keegan infamously advertised Brut aftershave alongside boxing legend Henry Cooper in the late 1970s. During his career he has also advertised Dentyne chewing gum and Sugar Puffs cereal.
  • One of the first real celebrities of the game, Keegan has famously never refused an autograph request from a fan.
  • Sang Head Over Heels in Love, a song written by Chris Norman and Pete Spencer released on 9 June 1979. A non-football song, it peaked as high as 31st in the charts.[7]
  • Released a second single, "England", on his return to England from Germany. This single failed to chart.
  • In the television comedy Red Dwarf episode - "Confidence and Paranoia" Holly, the ships computer, describes Keegan's book "Football, it's a Funny Old Game" as the worst book ever written. In fact Keegan never wrote such a book.
  • Keegan is married to Jean and has two daughters, Laura Jane, born in Hamburg, and Sarah Marie, born in Southampton.
  • He was awarded the OBE in 1982.
  • He speaks fluent German and Spanish.
  • Keegan was famous for having a mullet haircut.
  • Keegan is remembered for crashing his bicycle in a European Superstars race. Despite scraping himself up badly, he insisted on re-racing and secured second place in the event, before going on to win that edition of the programme.
  • After his transfer from Southampton to Newcastle in 1982, a helicopter that was transferred from HMS Newcastle to HMS Southampton was named Kev in his honour.


  • On his playing days: "The only thing I fear is missing an open goal in front of the Kop. I would die if that were to happen. When they start singing 'You'll Never Walk Alone' my eyes start to water. There have been times when I've actually been crying while I've been playing."[8]
  • "In some ways, cramp is worse than having a broken leg."[9]
  • "I came to Nantes two years ago and it's much the same today, except that it's completely different."[9]
  • Referring to Liverpool Players: "They compare Steve McManaman to Steve Heighway and he's nothing like him, but I can see why - it's because he's a bit different."[8]
  • While commentating at the 1998 World Cup, in the group match between England and Romania, 'There's only one team gonna win this now, and that's England.'[10] Romania won 2-1.

Managerial stats

Team From To Record
G W L D Win %
Newcastle United February 5, 1992 January 8, 1997 251 138 62 51 54.98
Fulham May 7, 1998 May 9, 1999 61 38 11 12 62.29
Manchester City May 24, 2001 March 11, 2005 176 77 60 39 43.75
Sporting positions
Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year
England football captain
European Footballer of the Year
1978, 1979
PFA Players' Player of the Year
Newcastle Utd Manager
Fulham F.C. Manager
England national football team manager
Manchester City F.C. manager


  • Duncan Holley & Gary Chalk (2003). In That Number - A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. Hagiology. ISBN 0-9534474-3-X. 
  • Jeremy Wilson (2006). Southampton’s Cult Heroes. Know The Score Books. ISBN 1-905449-01-1. 


  1. ^ a b BBC Sport. Fact file. Accessed 14 July 2006
  2. ^ Geordie Messiah, Alan Oliver, Mainstream Publishing 1997
  3. ^ BBC, Keegan's swipe at FA, accessed 25 April 2007
  4. ^ Sky Sports. Keegan's Israel switch off
  5. ^ Liverpool FC. No.8: Kevin Keegan
  6. ^ "Mighty Mouse" was voted Footballer of the year in 1975/76
  7. ^ Head over Heels in Love
  8. ^ a b Liverpool FC. Quotes. Accessed 10 January 2007
  9. ^ a b Kevin Keegan In Quotes. Accessed 10 January 2007
  10. ^ Only one team

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