About Me

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Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom
I'm a director of Maidenhead United Football Club. For ten seasons one of my roles at the club was to produce the match programme. The aim of this blog was to write football related articles for publication in the match programme. In particular I like to write about the representation of football in popular culture, specifically music, film/TV and literature. I also write about matches I attend which generally feature Maidenhead United.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Special K

The return of Kevin Keegan to Newcastle has predictably been greeted by a media feeding frenzy, and why not? I believe when the football historians come to writing the English story of this period, Special K will emerge as a pivotal figure linking old and new football. A prescient character who foreshadowed much of today’s planet football, whilst at the same time providing a reminder of times past.

For those of you born in the 80s onward, imagine a player who embodied the style icon qualities of Beckham, the sheer joyous exuberant talent of Rooney, and the wholesomeness of Owen. A man loved by millions who continually rewrote the rule book on the path a player’s career should take.For sure he was mocked by the more knowing pundits who took up Duncan McKenzie’s line that Keegan was the “Julie Andrews of football”, but this was to miss the point of the bepermed footballing Janus who on one side embodied the roots of the game with his earnest hardworking performances loved by supporters for playing for the badge whilst at the same time always looking after number one. Yes Kev was the archetype of New Labour when the old variety was in power, touching the heart strings of those yearning for a strong community whilst ensuring his market value was at a premium.
His rise to glory with Liverpool via Scunthorpe United is well documented, but it was at his highest point with the Reds, a man of the match performance in the 1977 European Cup Final that project Keegan kicked in, as he jumped ship and like the Beatles before him headed for Hamburg.
At a time when the England national team was at a real low (a twelve year period with no World Cup Final qualification), Keegan illustrated that this was in spite of his talent as he won consecutive European Player of the Year Awards with his German club, fitting in another European Cup Final appearance for good measure.He didn’t only rely on England appearances to keep his profile up in the motherland, as he was a regular on all kinds of TV programmes including a Green Cross Code spot. Perhaps the most notorious appearance was in the Brut advert where Little Kev shared one of the most homo erotic scenes this side of Brokeback mountain with heavyweight boxer Enery Cooper.

Next up was an appearance on Top of the Pops singing Head Over Heels, a top 30 hit. The cover showed Keegan’s main contribution to style, the shaggy perm.
All this while guiding England back to some sort of respectability whilst shocking the football world with a return to England at Southampton then dropping a division to take the mantle of messiah by guiding Newcastle back to the top flight as a player. This ended his career (leaving St James Park by helicopter at his final game) until he returned to management with the Magpies, but that was a mere postcript to his role in creating the commercial beast that is football today, with its nouveau riche celebrity footballers, who are often criticised for lacking Keeganesque commitment thanks to an upbringing in the brave new individualist world Keegan helped to create.

1 comment:

DT said...

Ah yes ... Keegan was "The Incredible Endorsing Man", in the late 70's/early 80's it was impossible to buy anything without his mug on it.

Here is a candid interview with a young Keegan:-