Kevin Keegan

Full Name: Joseph Kevin Keegan OBE

Date of Birth: 14/02/1951


Early Life

Joseph Kevin Keegan was born in Armthorpe, Doncaster, on Valentine’s Day 1951. A keen footballer from his youth, it was always his dream to play for the Doncaster Rovers. He trained with the Enfield House Youth Club but, as a teenager, the Rovers turned Keegan down; instead, Scunthorpe United took an interest in him in 1967, when he was 16. Within a year he was playing for the first squad.


Professional Career

In 1971 Keegan was signed to Liverpool for the sum of £35,000. He was transferred as a midfielder but ended up playing forward alongside striker John Toshack. The two of them struck up a famous partnership and quickly became well known and loved by commentators and fans. The “Dynamic Duo” attained superhero status and were frequently compared to Batman and Robin.

In his first game of the 1971-72 season, against Nottingham Forest, Keegan scored after only 12 minutes (although mainly by luck on this occasion). Liverpool won 3-1, changing their fortunes and launching Keegan’s career.

He played his first match for England at under-23 level the same year, making his full debut in 1973 – his first of 63 caps. Keegan scored his first goal for England in 1974, against Wales at Ninian Park. England won 2-0.

Meanwhile Keegan’s star was rising higher with Liverpool, whom he helped to win the League Title and the UEFA Cup. In 1974, the team also won the FA Cup. In addition, they played the Doncaster Rovers – the club who had turned him down at the beginning of his career. He relished scoring both goals of the 2-2 draw.

In 1976 Liverpool won both the League Championship and the UEFA Cup. Keegan scored twice in Liverpool’s 4-3 final victory over FC Bruges. He came to greater public attention still when he took part in the BBC program “Superstars”, winning even after injuring himself when he fell off his bike in the cycling event.

In total, Keegan made 323 appearances for Liverpool and scored exactly 100 goals in his time there. Before he left, he helped secure the team’s first European Cup win, 3-1 against Borussia Moenchengladbach in Rome.

In 1977 Keegan made a surprise transfer to SV Hamburg – this time for a price of £500,000. Despite some initial difficulties he soon won the heart of his German fans, turning a mediocre club into a triumph. They won the German league and reached the final of the European Cup, losing out to Nottingham Forest. As a result of his time there, he would twice be named European Player of the Year in 1978 and 1979.

After three seasons he returned to England in 1980, this time to play for Southampton – another unexpected move, as Southampton were a comparatively small club at the time. Keegan’s talent and appeal temporarily raised the team to the top of the league table. In 1982 he was voted PFA Player of the Year. He was also given an OBE for his services to Association Football.

Keegan was named for the England Squad for the World Cup tournament the same year. Due to a recurring back injury he was unable to play in any of their group games. Knowing this was his last chance to participate in a World Cup, he sought help from a German specialist, driving there from Spain in a last-ditch attempt to be match-ready. He was able to come on as a substitute in a second round pool game. However, he will always be remembered for the point-blank header at an open goal that he missed, meaning that the match ended 0-0. It was his last England game. After an angry outburst to the press and a change of England manager, he was never selected again.

Later in 1982 Keegan made another surprise move, this time down to the second-division Newcastle United, after he fell out with Southampton coach Lawrie McMenemy. Once again he worked his magic, drawing them up the league table. Over the course of 78 appearances he scored 48 goals.

In 1984 he announced his retirement. After the last match of the season, at St James’ Park, he left the grounds by helicopter and moved to Spain with his family.


Management Career

After eight years of retirement, Keegan returned from Spain in 1992 to manage the club he had last played for. At the time, Newcastle United were struggling and expecting relegation. Assisted by Terry McDermott – a post funded from his own pocket – Keegan came on board with 19 games left in the season and proved as adept at turning things around as a manager as he had been as a player.

He stayed there for a successful five years, retiring early in 1997 and moving to Fulham that autumn. Much to Fulham fans’ disappointment, he left only 18 months later to replace Glenn Hoddle as England manager. Initially a hit, helping England to qualify for Euro 2000, he later fell out of favour and resigned after England lost 1-0 to Germany.

From 2001 to 2005 Keegan was manager for Manchester United. Although retiring in March 2005, he has since been rumoured to have been offered management of Israeli club Beitar Jerusalem. More recently, there have been rumours that he turned down a position in the Newcastle management.

Keegan now claims that he has left professional football behind for good. He told the BBC, I haven’t watched a game of football live since my last game at City and I can’t even remember what game that was now. So I don’t think that’ll happen but I do get offers to go back into football. But I made a decision that I would do something different. He currently runs the interactive Soccer Circus attraction at Xscape in Glasgow.


Personal Life

Keegan is married to Jean. He has two daughters, Laura Jane, who was born in Hamburg, and Sarah Marie, who was born in Southampton.

Keegan is famous for his odd quotes about football, many of which were recorded during his work as a football pundit in the 1990s. These include gems like Gary always weighed up his options, especially when he had no choice and England can end the millennium as it started – as the greatest football nation in the world.


The Toon come calling

Kevin Keegan made a dramatic return to football management amid euphoric scenes on Tyneside in January 2008. The former Geordie boss was installed as manager of his beloved Newcastle for a second time. Keegan may well be joined by his former striker, Alan Shearer, who indicated to Gary Lineker on Match of the Day that he would be interested in joining King Kevin at St. James’ Park.


Player Statistics

Senior Club and National Team Statistics
Period Team Appearances (Goals)
1968 – 1971 Scunthorpe United 124 (18)
1971 – 1977 Liverpool 230 (68)
1977 – 1980 Hamburger SV 90 (32)
1980 – 1982 Southampton 68 (37)
1982 – 1984 Newcastle United 78 (48)
1985 Blacktown City Demons 2 (1)
1972 – 1982 England 63 (21)


Player Achievements

Awards and Honours
Award Year(s)
World Player of the Year 1978, 1979