Kevin Keelan

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Kevin Keelan
Personal information
Full name Kevin Damien Keelan
Date of birth (1941-01-05) 5 January 1941 (age 74)
Place of birth Calcutta, Bengal Province, British India
Playing position Goalkeeper
Youth career
1956–1958 Kidderminster Harriers
1958–1960 Aston Villa
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1960–1961 Aston Villa 5 (0)
1961 Stockport County 3 (0)
1961–1962 Kidderminster Harriers
1962–1963 Wrexham 68 (0)
1963–1980 Norwich City 571 (0)
1978–1979 New England Tea Men (loan) 54 (0)
1980 New England Tea Men 29 (0)
1980–81 Jacksonville Tea Men (indoor) 13 (0)
1981 Tampa Bay Rowdies 18 (0)
Teams managed
1981–1982 Tampa Bay Rowdies (assistant)
1982 Tampa Bay Rowdies (interim)
1991- University of Tampa (assistant)
1997 Tampa Bay Mutiny (assistant)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Kevin Damien Keelan MBE (born 5 January 1941) is an Indian-born English former professional football goalkeeper. He spent the majority of his career with Norwich City, though he also played for Stockport County, Wrexham, New England Tea Men and Tampa Bay Rowdies.



Born in India to a British soldier stationed in Calcutta, Keelan returned to England, settling in Kidderminster with his family, when he was seven. He began playing as a midfielder for the Kidderminster Harriers but moved to goal in 1956. In 1958, he signed with Aston Villa F.C. where he spent two seasons with the reserves.


In 1960, Keelan cracked the first team with Aston Villa, but was released in 1961. After a brief trial with Stockport County F.C., he rejoined Kidderminster Harriers. In 1962, Keelan signed with Wrexham In July 1963, he moved to Norwich City F.C. for ₤6,500 in what would later be described by manager Ron Ashman as "The bargain of the century." In total, he played 673 competitive matches for Norwich. It remains the club record to this day and is a record that is unlikely to ever be beaten. His first match for the club was on 24 August 1963 in a 3–1 defeat at Cardiff City. His final appearance for the club was on 9 February 1980 in one of the most extraordinary matches that Carrow Road has ever seen, which ended in a 5–3 win for Liverpool.

Because he was with Norwich City from 1963 through to 1980, he was part of some of the major events in the history of the club—the 1971–72 season that saw Norwich promoted to English football's top division for the first time, the League Cup final of 1973 against Tottenham Hotspur which was the club's first appearance at Wembley Stadium, another League Cup final against Aston Villa in 1975, as well as relegation from division one in 1974 and promotion again in 1975. In the 1975 League Cup Final he became the first goalkeeper to save a penalty at Wembley when he saved Ray Graydon's spot kick. Unfortunately, Graydon followed up the save to score the only goal of the game. He was twice voted Norwich City player of the year by the supporters, in 1973 and 1974.

His performances earned him favourable reviews from many quarters, and he later said that one of his managers at Norwich - John Bond - rejected an approach from Manchester United for Keelan's services. In 2002, Keelan was made an inaugural member of the Norwich City F.C. Hall of Fame.

In both 1978 and 1979, Norwich City sent Keelan on loan to the New England Tea Men of the North American Soccer League for the summer season. He was 1978 First Team All League.[1] In 1979 he had the main speaking part in a national television ad for Lipton Tea featuring several New England Players.[2] In 1980, Norwich City sold his contract to the Tea Men. He played the 1980 outdoor and 1980–81 indoor seasons. However, the Tea Men moved to Jacksonville, Florida in the fall of 1980 and were known as the Jacksonville Tea Men during the indoor season. While playing for the Tea Men, Keelan garnered the nickname "Cat" Keelan. The Tea Men released him in spring 1981 and he joined the Tampa Bay Rowdies for the 1981 season. At the end of the season, he retired.


While playing for the Tampa Bay Rowdies in 1981, Keelan also served as an assistant manager, a position he retained in 1982. In July 1982, he also served as the interim manager when Gordon Jago resigned.[3] In June 1991, the University of Tampa hired Keelan as the goalkeeper coach for the men's soccer team.[4] In February 1997, he replaced Peter Mellor as the goalkeeper coach for the Tampa Bay Mutiny of Major League Soccer.[5]

In an interview for the Norwich City matchday programme on 30 April 2006, Keelan confirmed that he runs goalkeeping schools in Cape Coral and Tampa Florida and coaches "pretty much every night". He also stated that for 20 years he has worked for a company that manufactures contact lenses and distributes them all over the world, but plans to retire at the end of 2006 to concentrate on his coaching. He is also a staff coach with the Florida Soccer Club.[6]

He spent time coaching on the Treasure Coast and contributed much to the success of the South Fork High School Soccer programs during their run of successful seasons in the 90's.


  1. ^ NASL All League Teams
  2. ^ Video on YouTube
  3. ^ ROWDIES' COACH STEPS DOWN Miami Herald, The (FL) - Friday, 9 July 1982
  4. ^ UT names Keelan as assistant coach The Tampa Tribune - Sunday, 9 June 1991
  5. ^ Mutiny gets start on season at camp St. Petersburg Times - Tuesday, 18 February 1997
  6. ^ Florida Soccer Club

External links[edit]


  • Canary Citizens by Mark Davage, John Eastwood, Kevin Platt, published by Jarrold Publishing, (2001), ISBN 0-7117-2020-7