Kevin Keegan, legendary football player and manager, tells all in his new book My Life in Football. The book examines his illustrious career, which took him from playing for the Pegler Brass Works reserve team to managing England. In this interview, Kevin discusses why this was the right time to write a book, his thoughts on the sport today, and his future plans.
Kevin on his motivation for writing My Life in Football
Well the biggest motivation is it’s called My Life in Football and I think my life in football is over now, after the last episode at Newcastle United, so it’s a good way to finish. I’ve done other books before but obviously there’s a lot missing from those now and as the years have gone on I’ve taken on other jobs. So that’s really why, just to kind of put a line under it and say well this is what I did, this is what I thought, these are the people that helped me and these are the problems I had, and just put it all down for people to read and hopefully motivate people.
Kevin on his most life-changing moments
Strangely enough when I did the book . . . I realised, more important than anything, how lucky I was, the little breaks that went my way at the right time. And there’s so many of those in the book, you know, people say “Oh you must have been good at football”, you know there’s a lot of people good at football, but I had the lucky breaks at the right time and that’s what really came through. I thought wow, I never realised but how lucky I was I to meet that guy who suggested we do this and, way before I got into football, people who changed my life.
Kevin on his favourite player to play with
My favourite player to play with was John Toshack because when I met him at Liverpool we just went into another stratosphere. I did as a player, I think he did as well. It was one of those things where we were both looking for the kind of player that we each were.
Kevin on Bill Shankly
Meeting Bill Shankly was the biggest thing. He changed my life because he just believed in me and he passed that on to me. He wasn’t scared to say, “You know what son, you’ll play for England one day”, and after just two days training that’s what he said to me and I knew I would.
Kevin on modern football players
If I was given a club today and they said you can buy any player in the world to come into your team, I would take Eden Hazard at Chelsea. I think he’s the right age, I think he’ll get better and I think the best is still to come for him, he’s still learning the game but wow, is he learning it quickly.
Kevin on the most significant challenge facing football in the 21st century
I think the biggest challenge is that they don’t let the commercial side of it make fans feel that they don’t count anymore. And I’ve felt this way for at least two and a half to three years, maybe even longer, moving games to suit TV audiences and then not thinking about the poor fan who travels from Manchester or London on a Monday night . . . I think that is the biggest challenge. Put some of the money back into football in the right way. Yes I understand the TV money, the commercial side, that all makes sense to me and I always understood that, but don’t treat the fans as if they’re just someone who’ll keep turning up no matter how you treat them.
Kevin on his teams’ entertaining style of play
I think because I’m a forward I always looked at the positive things in the game, how do you score goals, how do you make goals, how do you create something, because that’s what you have to do as a forward.
Listen to the full interview below: