Wednesday, June 27, 2007

100 Person Who Shock The Kop - NO 8: Kevin Keegan


Voted in at number eight in our ’100 Players Who Shook The Kop’ countdown is Liverpool superstar of the seventies, Kevin Keegan.
Four years after our ground-breaking '100 Days That Shook The Kop', we are delighted to invite you to enjoy our new '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' series – the definitive countdown of the 100 players who have made the biggest impact at Liverpool.

Over 110,000 supporters have all nominated their own personal Top 10 players in order of impact made and now the definitive top 100 countdown is underway.

Every player who has made the top 100 – and there are some surprises in there - will be honoured on this website via the e-Season ticket console with a specially produced video clip, including archive footage and exclusive interviews.

Since 1892 hundreds of players have represented this club but everyone has their own particular favourites so don't expect this list to be based solely on talent. The greatness of a player can be measured in many ways – obviously, his ability on the pitch is the most important, but 100 PWSTK is much more than that. It's about the impact the individuals chosen have had on this club, be it for a variety of reasons. Maybe it was because of their unique rapport with the crowd, a specific incident that has never been forgotten or anything else that has left a lasting impression.

Name: Kevin Keegan

Years at Liverpool: 1971 to 1977
Position: Forward

Date-of-birth: 14/2/1951
Birthplace: Armthorpe

Signed from: Scunthorpe United (May 1971)

Games: 323
Goals: 100

Honours: First Division Championship (1972/73, 1975/76, 1976/77), European Cup (1977), FA Cup (1974), UEFA Cup (1973, 1976), Charity Shield (1974, 1976)

Kevin Keegan, superstar of the seventies, owner of the most famous 'bubble' perm of his day and a dynamic attacking force that helped inspire Liverpool to success during a glorious period in Anfield history.

Bought for a bargain £35,000 from the lower leagues in 1971, his high-profile departure in the summer of 1977 may have left a bitter taste but there can be no denying his stature as a true legend of this club.

In the six years he wore a red shirt, Keegan went from unknown rookie to an internationally renowned star, attracting a type of hero-worship that was almost pop idol-esque at times. Like Michael Owen two decades later, he became not only a Kop hero but also the golden boy of English football and a player who shouldered the hopes of a nation.

It seemed inevitable that one day he'd walk away and although it was not a universally popular decision when he did, he can look back with pride on what he achieved with the Liver Bird emblazoned across his chest.

One hundred goals, three League Championships, the European Cup, FA Cup and two UEFA Cup's, not to mention a multitude of magical memories mean he'll forever be revered in the red half of Merseyside.

'Robbery with violence' was how Bill Shankly described the capture of Keegan from Scunthorpe, such was the belief that he'd got himself a bargain buy to beat all others. And he was right.

Although he'd been signed with a view to replacing Ian Callaghan in midfield, the confident new recruit immediately impressed in an attacking role during pre-season. So much so that he was handed a surprise debut at home to Nottingham Forest on the opening day of the season – an occasion he marked by scoring in front of the Kop after just 12 minutes.

Revelling in his new-found fame, 'KK' didn't look back, formed an almost telepathic attacking partnership with John Toshack that would become one of the deadliest in the game and struck up an instant rapport with the fans.

Energetic, enthusiastic and one hundred per cent committed to the Kop cause, Keegan was a born winner who provided Shankly's second great side with the spark that ignited a renewed assault on the major honours.

His first season at the club may have ended trophy-less but the foundations had been laid and in 1972/73 Keegan fired the Reds to an unprecedented domestic and European double, topping the Anfield goalscoring charts in the process and netting what proved to be a crucial brace in the UEFA Cup Final first leg against Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Another two-goal Keegan blast clinched FA Cup success the following year as Newcastle, a club that would play a big part in his future life, were overwhelmed at Wembley. The effervescent number seven had already struck four times on route to the twin towers that season, including a perfectly lobbed effort over Leicester's Peter Shilton in the semi-final replay at Villa Park.

Fast, skilful and courageous, he was a handful for opposition defenders and was by now widely regarded as one of the finest attacking talents in the land. Despite standing tall at just 5ft 8ins, he was surprisingly adept when engaging in aerial combat and, as Leeds skipper Billy Bremner discovered to his cost, could also pack a punch.

Sent off for trading blows with Bremner in the 1974 Charity Shield, the first to be held at Wembley, Keegan caused further outrage by stripping off his shirt as he left the field. He was later slapped with an eleven game ban but emerged from this controversy more determined than ever.

On a personal level, the 1975/76 campaign was to be his finest as a Liverpool player, with his general all round play and crucial goals – notably away to Wolves and Bruges - proving instrumental as the League Championship and UEFA Cup came to reside in the Anfield trophy cabinet once again.

His efforts were rewarded when he was deservedly elected Footballer of the Year and, when he wasn't falling of his bike on TV show 'Superstars' or splashing Brut 'all over' with boxing legend Henry Cooper, he was thrilling Kopites week in, week out.

But, with the recently appointed England skipper's stock rising on and off the pitch, speculation mounted that several clubs from abroad were interested in signing him.

On the eve of the 1976/77 season every Liverpudlian's worst fears were confirmed when Keegan served notice of his intention to quit the club and join Bundesliga outfit Hamburg in twelve months time.

His decision was understandably met with disdain from certain sections of the Kop and his once soaring popularity dipped significantly in the months that followed as some fans questioned his loyalty.

Credit to him though, he knuckled down and got on with the job of aiding Liverpool's 13-year quest for European Cup glory. It may not have been a vintage campaign personally but it was to end on the ultimate high in Rome.

Four days after being made the scapegoat by some for the FA Cup Final defeat by Manchester United, which had scuppered dreams of the treble, Keegan won back the everlasting affection of the supporters with a dazzling performance against Borussia Moenchengladbach.

On a balmy night in the Olympic Stadium his tireless work-rate and close control bamboozled experienced German international Bertie Vogts to such an extent that he had no option but to bring him down for the penalty that sealed a momentous victory. There could have been no more fitting way for Liverpool's star man of the seventies to bring the curtain down on an illustrious career with the Reds.

Keegan may have gone on to be crowned European Footballer of the Year twice during his spell in Germany but it was at Anfield where he enjoyed his greatest success and spent his best years.

One of Liverpool Football Club's favourite sons, there'll always be a special place in the heart of the Kop for Kevin Keegan – an iconic figure of an era that no Liverpudlian who lived through it will ever forget.

Sold to: SV Hamburg (July 1977)

Claim to fame: Scoring twice in the 1974 FA Cup Final victory over Newcastle

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