Player profile

Kevin Keegan

Kevin Keegan

Birthdate: 14 February 1951
Birthplace: Armthorpe, England
Other clubs: Scunthorpe (1967-71), Hamburg SV (1977-80), Southampton (1980-82), Newcastle United (1982-84), Blacktown City Demons (1985)
Bought from: Scunthorpe
Signed for LFC: £33,000, 03.05.1971
International debut: 15.11.1972 vs. Wales
International caps: 63/21 (29/7 at LFC) - 05.07.1982
Liverpool debut: 14.08.1971
Last appearance: 25.05.1977
Debut goal: 14.08.1971
Last goal: 03.05.1977
Contract expiry: 03.06.1977
Win ratio: 54.8% W:177 D:88 L:58
Games/goals ratio: 3.23
Honours: League Championship 1972/73, 1975/76, 1976/77; FA Cup 1974; European Cup 1977; UEFA Cup 1973, 1976; FWA Footballer of the Year 1976
Total games/goals opposite LFC: 7 / 1
LFC league games/goals: 230 / 68
Total LFC games/goals: 323 / 100

Player profile

Keegan joined Scunthorpe as an apprentice in 1968 and made his name as a midfield player in the Fourth Division playing 120 League games. He was signed when Liverpool were busy preparing for their FA Cup final date with Arsenal at Wembley. Shankly knew he had signed a player of exceptional potential whom he supposedly envisaged replacing Ian Callaghan on the right flank as the veteran had serious ligament problems. The 20-year-old Yorkshireman was left behind when Liverpool flew off on their traditional pre-season tour. Four days before the 1971/72 season was due to open, Shankly picked Keegan for the first team in a full-scale practice match at Melwood, normally a game where fitness is more important than the result. But Keegan created havoc that day and Shankly had no hesitation in giving him his debut against Nottingham Forest at Anfield the following Saturday when the League season opened. Keegan scored after 12 minutes and after netting three times in the opening five League fixtures, it was clear that he was in the first team to stay. In fact, Keegan never played in a single reserve fixture during the whole of his seven seasons at Anfield! 

Defeat at Derby and a controversial draw at Arsenal in the last two first division games of Keegan's debut season cost Liverpool the title. But he only had to wait another 12 months to achieve that and added a UEFA Cup winners' medal too when his early strikes in the re-arranged home leg of the final against Borussia Mönchengladbach were the platform for the club's eventual aggregate victory, the club's first in a European club competition. He also received the first of numerous international caps during that season when picked for a World Cup qualifier with Wales in Cardiff on 15 November 1972. In 1973/74 Keegan played in every single one of the 61 competitive matches Liverpool had in the League and three cup competitions, contributing 19 goals. Six of those came in the successful FA Cup run, including two crucial strikes against his hometown club Doncaster Rovers, bottom of the old Fourth Division at the time, who threatened to make one of the biggest upsets in the cup's history when they took a 2-1 interval lead at Anfield, only to be pegged back by Keegan's second-half equaliser. Ever the man for the big occasion, he produced a sensational volley past Peter Shilton in the replayed semi-final victory over Leicester City at Villa Park and then netted two goals in the one-sided Wembley showdown with Newcastle United.

The 1974/75 season started badly for Keegan, perhaps the lowest point of an illustrious career. He was sent off during a pre-season match against Kaiserslautern in West Germany and also received his marching orders four days later after clashing with Billy Bremner in the Charity Shield at Wembley. Perhaps because the traditional curtain-raiser to the season was being played at the national stadium for the first time but also because both he and Bremner took off their shirts as they left the field, both men received lengthy bans and although Keegan was allowed to play in the opening League match at Luton, he didn't play in the First Division again until October. But he quickly found his old form and played in the remaining 33 first division fixtures as the Reds finished runners-up to Derby County. With goals hard to come by that season, how crucial his absence was, especially when the team was beaten three times in four games during September. In 1976 Liverpool repeated their League and UEFA Cup 'double' of 1973 and again Keegan was prominent, only missing one first division game and scoring in both legs of the European final against Bruges. "Mighty Mouse" was voted the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year in 1975/76, and then gave a season's notice, announcing he was moving to West Germany. At a time when it was almost unheard of for English players to try their luck abroad, this caused some friction but nobody could doubt Keegan's commitment to the cause in his farewell season. He was the club's leading scorer in the League and contributed valuable goals as the team reached the finals of both the FA and European cups. With the Championship clinched in the penultimate League match, a historic treble triumph beckoned but Manchester United ruined that dream and it was just a question of whether the players could lift themselves for one last effort in the European Cup final only four days later. In Rome, Kevin played his heart out and ran himself and Berti Vogts into the ground. Eight minutes from time, he started a typical run from forty or so yards out, which was only ended by Vogts' foul in the penalty area. Phil Neal converted the spot-kick to seal probably the most famous triumph in the club's history. 

£500,000 was a record fee for a British footbal!er and Keegan was the most expensive player in the Bundesliga. He soon stamped his authority on the Bundesliga, winning the championship in his second season at Hamburg SV and and won incredibly two consecutive European Footballer of the Year awards, after being the runner-up his last season at Liverpool. In his last season Keegan featured in the European Cup final against Nottingham Forest but lost 1-0. After staying three years in Germany the 29-year-old Keegan was on his way home. Liverpool had first option on him but he moved to Southampton for £420,000. In Keegan's second season at the Dell he was the first division's top-scorer with 26 goals in 41 games and voted Player of the Year by his fellow professionals. After two years at Southampton he was on his way to second division Newcastle for £100,000, where he stayed until his retirement in 1984, after playing 85 matches and scoring 49 goals. Eight years later Keegan became manager of Newcastle, leaving after a five-year spell after winning the first division title and finishing runners-up in the Premiership as his highlights. Keegan was one year in charge at Fulham, before taking over as England's manager in February 1999. He was England's supremo for one and a half year before being sacked after England failed miserably in Euro 2000. In May 2001, Keegan was appointed manager of Manchester City, winning the first division title and even though he never reached the heights he had hoped for with City he still tried to entertain the audience as he did as a player. Keegan wanted to retire from management and left City in the 2004/05 season. He made an unexpected return to Newcastle in January 2008, a highly popular appointment as the Geordie fans saw him as their Messiah. Only eight months later Keegan left Newcastle claiming owner Mike Ashley wasn't providing him with the financial support that he had promised.

Keegan was an incredible player, tireless in showing off his talents and his enthusiasm invariably made his teammates more determined to succeed. He was a smashing success at every club he played. Dangerous in the air despite a comparative lack of height, he had a wonderful understanding with big John Toshack during his early seasons at Anfield and his speed of thought created numerous goals for his colleagues with his intelligent runs and passing. He was the first pin-up boy Liverpool had really ever had and made the number seven shirt so famous. Kevin Keegan should rightly be remembered as one of the finest players ever to wear a Liverpool shirt.

Appearances per season

Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 230 28 23 40 2 323
1971-1972 35 3 1 3 0 42
1972-1973 41 4 8 11 0 64
1973-1974 42 9 6 4 0 61
1974-1975 33 2 3 3 1 42
1975-1976 41 2 3 11 0 57
1976-1977 38 8 2 8 1 57

A more detailed look at the player's appearances

Total Opponent
16 Leeds United
15 Tottenham
14 West Ham United
14 Ipswich Town
13 Derby
13 Everton
13 Leicester City
12 Newcastle United
12 Manchester City
11 Manchester United
11 Stoke City
11 Arsenal
10 Birmingham City
10 Coventry City
9 Sheffield United
9 WBA
9 Burnley
9 Wolves
8 QPR
8 Middlesbrough
8 Norwich City
7 Southampton
7 Carlisle United
6 Chelsea
6 Crystal Palace
4 Bristol City
4 Aston Villa
4 Dyn. Dresden
3 Gladbach
3 Hull City
2 Huddersfield Town
2 Sunderland
2 Luton Town
2 Hibernian
2 Bayern Munich
2 Doncaster Rovers
2 Ferencvaros
2 Nottingham Forest
2 Zurich
2 Jeunesse d'Esch
2 Real Sociedad
2 Bruges
2 Barcelona
2 Crusaders
2 Trabzonspor
2 Frankfurt
2 AEK Athens
2 Red Star Belgrade
1 Strømsgodset
1 York City
1 Slask Wroclaw
1 Dynamo Berlin
1 Saint-Étienne
1 Servette
1 Oxford United
1 Oldham Athletic
Total Started/substitutions
323 Started
0 On the bench
0 Substitute
5 Substituted
Total Competition
230 League
28 FA Cup
23 League Cup
22 UEFA Cup
12 European Cup
6 European Cup Winners Cup
2 Charity Shield

Goals per season

Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 68 14 6 12 0 100
1971-1972 9 2 0 0 0 11
1972-1973 13 0 5 4 0 22
1973-1974 12 6 1 0 0 19
1974-1975 10 1 0 1 0 12
1975-1976 12 1 0 3 0 16
1976-1977 12 4 0 4 0 20

A more detailed look at the player's goalscoring

Total Started/substitutions
100 Started
0 Substitute
Total Competition
68 League
14 FA Cup
7 UEFA Cup
6 League Cup
4 European Cup
1 European Cup Winners Cup
Total Goal minute period
11 1-15 minutes
14 16-30 minutes
19 31-45 minutes
10 61-75 minutes
25 76-90 minutes
1 91-120 minutes
Total Open play/Penalty
89 Open play
11 Penalty

Milestone Appearances

# Date Against Stadium Competition
1 14.08.1971 Nottingham Forest Anfield League
50 05.09.1972 Carlisle United Brunton Park League Cup
100 17.04.1973 Coventry City Highfield Road League
150 23.02.1974 Newcastle United St James' Park League
200 15.03.1975 Sheffield United Anfield League
250 28.02.1976 Derby Baseball Ground League
300 05.02.1977 Birmingham City Anfield League

Milestone Goals

# Minute Date Against Stadium Competition
1 12 14.08.1971 Nottingham Forest Anfield League
50 90 27.04.1974 West Ham United Upton Park League
100 15 03.05.1977 Manchester United Anfield League

Related Articles

Rigore!

We are pleased to welcome columnist Declan Sloan aboard at LFChistory.net. He takes a look at important penalties for Liverpool throughout the years.More

Liverpool's thrilling football excites Keegan

Kevin Keegan believes Brendan Rodgers has returned the club to the attacking football played by Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley. From BBC Radio 5.More

Kevin Keegan’s place in Liverpool FC legend will never be forgotten

Dominic King on Kevin Keegan's legacy at Liverpool on 6th March 2010.More

Gerrard and Owen show City door marked exit

The Telegraph report on Liverpool - Manchester City on 11.02.2004.More

Super spireites

Match report from British Soccer Week on Liverpool - Chesterfield on 22.09.1992.More

Kevin Keegan on a dustbin

Kevin Keegan waited for Shankly on a dustbin to complete his move to Liverpool.More

Magnificent Keegan!

The Liverpool Echo on the FA Cup final Liverpool 3 -0 Newcastle on 4 May 1974.More

Toshack and Keegan as Batman and Robin

John Toshack and Kevin Keegan were the quintessential strike pair.More

King Cole on a roll

Match report from 21.11.1993 on Newcastle - Liverpool from British Soccer Week.More

Liverpool reject Real Madrid’s bid for Kevin Keegan

A newspaper article from 28 June 1976 from the Daily Express.More

Related Quotes

"Kevin's sheer enthusiasm, bravery, fearless attitude and desire forced him in to the team. First game of the season we beat Nottingham Forest 3-1 at home, and he was never out of the side after that."

Ray Clemence on Mighty Mouse Keegan

"If he does not want to play for Liverpool then we can forego the option. If he had been keen to come back to Liverpool then we would have thought about it."

LFC had first option on Keegan but he decided against a return to Anfield and signed for Southampton - Bob Paisley

"Kevin Keegan was signed and made an unbelievable impact. He was the first superstar that Liverpool had. Kevin was a great player for Liverpool and I've nothing but admiration for him."

Ian Callaghan’s opinion on Kevin Keegan

"The lap of honour was fantastic. I am so pleased for them. Tonight was great and tomorrow for the homecoming will be tremendous. This was the perfect ending for me. I have played my last game for Liverpool. I have no regrets. It is a fantastic way to finish. I have only stayed on for this season because the club chairman asked me to stay to help to try to win the European Cup. I have kept my side of the bargain."

Kevin Keegan after the European Cup final 1977

"Myself and Kevin Keegan worked up a good understanding and as a partnership we flourished. We seemed to hit it off from almost day one and then got better and better as time went by."

John Toshack

"The next morning, I had my picture taken by the pool with the European Cup by my side. Kevin Keegan came sporting a black eye. He had been larking about in the pool with Phil Neal who had accidentally caught him in the eye. Of course, the Press immediately linked Kevin’s eye injury with the fact that he was leaving the club. Rumours swept around Rome that either myself or Jimmy Case had given Kevin a belt. It sounds a great story, but it’s completely untrue."

Tommy Smith

"I was just as sure of Keegan as I was of Denis Law and I never had cause to think again about Denis. These two players are so much alike in number of ways. Keegan is an exciting boy all right."

Keegan and Shankly developed a close friendship during their time at Liverpool as Keegan remembers: "I always carry a picture of him, he comes into my conversation a lot. I learned a lot from him and owe the man a great deal."

Shankly could see straight away he has signed a true gem as he revealed in late August 1971.

"The self-appointed representative of the Kop came on the field to greet me. He gave me a kiss, and the smell of booze on his breath almost knocked me off my feet. He needed a shave as well as his beard was rough. The police accepted this ritual whenever there was a new player. This Kopite was a nice old fellow with no harm in him. He kissed me, then kissed the grass in front of the Kop and went back to join his mates in the crowd."

Kevin Keegan

"I'm not a Scouser and I've never pretended to be," he explained. "I've never made out to feel as passionate about, for example, derby matches as true Scousers do but at the same time I still hold the club very close to my heart. The fans are brilliant, they always supported me and even when I decided to move abroad I think they understood my reasons for doing so. Bill Shankly had gone and I just felt there was another mountain for me to climb somewhere. As it happens they didn't do too badly out of it because they went out and bought Kenny Dalglish. Having sold me for £500,000 and then paying £440,000 for Kenny. They banked £60,000 which was a great piece of business."

Kevin Keegan had his reasons for leaving Liverpool

"Toshack was a wonderful player to play alongside. His aerial ability was fantastic and I always knew that he was going to win the high balls. From then on it was just a question of me reading which way the ball was going to go and from those situations we created many chances. I always admired Tosh's honesty as a player. He was a nice approachable lad and he did a really great job for the club during his time here."

Kevin Keegan on his striking partner, John Toshack

"He was inspirational. If he told you, you were going to hell, you would look forward to the trip."

Keegan on Shankly in 2008

"With the litheness of a contortionist he twisted one way and another several times, with the ball bobbing between his feet, while Bobby Moncur hopped from one foot to another like someone jumping into the bath when the water is too hot, until he was knotted as adeptly as if a boy scout had roped him up."

Kevin Keegan's goal in a 5-0 win vs Newcastle in March 1972 was so described by Liverpool Echo

What an exciting time the 1970s were. The Kop buzzed and Keegan was the embodiment of that restless energy that cascaded down from the terraces. He chased, he harried, he gave everything. We loved him. And then he left and none of us could comprehend why. The challenge, he said. Just tell us the truth and say the money, we wept. Had we known his parting gift was going to be Kenny Dalglish we would have pushed him out the door long before.

Tony Evans from Times online on Kevin Keegan

Scrapbook

Other Clubs

Club Season Club rank League apps League goals Total apps Total goals
Scunthorpe United 1968-1969 England Fourth Division 33 2 35 2
Scunthorpe United 1969-1970 England Fourth Division 46 6 54 9
Scunthorpe United 1970-1971 England Fourth Division 45 10 52 11
Hamburg SV 1977-1978 Germany 1 25 6 33 12
Hamburg SV 1978-1979 Germany 1 34 17 35 17
Hamburg SV 1979-1980 Germany 1 31 9 43 11
Southampton 1980-1981 England First Division 27 11 32 12
Southampton 1981-1982 England First Division 41 26 48 30
Newcastle United 1982-1983 England Second Division 37 21 41 21
Newcastle United 1983-1984 England Second Division 41 27 44 28
Blacktown City Demons 1985-1986 Australia NSL 2 1 2 1
Total 362 136 419 154
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