Kevin Keegan: Love It!
Kevin Keegan was the special guest at the Sussex Cricket Foundation lunch at The Grand, Brighton. However, Kevin had to share top billing with the ICC cricket world cup trophy, so excitingly won by England in July. Thanks to the ECB for loaning such a converted trophy for the occasion.
The event was supported by over 300 people who were served up a feast of Keegan memories and amusing insights into his 50 years in the game, celebrated last year with a new book – My Life in Football.
Having been welcomed into the room by a standing ovation. Kevin later went on stage to deliver one of the best football career speeches I have witnessed in 40 years of comedy. Using a lapel mike with a power point presentation displayed on two large screens either side of him. He went through a number of hilarious illustrations, with beautifully crafted material, complimenting his style alongside dollops of self-deprecating humour which had the crowd in stitches. Even the suit he was wearing came under the comic Keegan fire. Former Sussex cricketer Tony Cottey a seasoned professional at sportsman’s dinners, now Corporate Relationship manager at the club said ‘The best sports speaker I have ever heard’.
The lunch re-united Kevin with Rob Andrew Chief Executive of Sussex cricket club. Both worked at Newcastle in the 90’s. Kevin manager of the football club (Magpies) and Rob Director of the Rugby club (Falcons). All part of a Newcastle dream at the time to create a Sporting club which also included a basketball team (Eagles) and an Ice Hockey (Vipers) club. Kevin took the trouble to place some topical material on the pairs time together, showing the amusing difference between Football & Rugby. Such touches further enhanced his set, as well as dealing with the occasional aside from an audience member like a seasoned comic.
Those too young, to recall the former England captain and manager, enjoyed the humour just as much as those who could. Indeed, it was refreshing to see a young knowledgeable female win the ‘Heads & Tails’ competition. All the questions centered on Kevin’s football career, putting to shame the grey hair 1970’s fans who were probably too busy swopping soccer bubble gum cards and discussing Subbuteo tactics.
These events give those who remember Kevin at his peak a chance to share personal memories with him. Often having frozen their backsides off on a Wembley terrace or screamed at a 70/80’s TV screen. One would think this ‘Mighty Mouse’ as the Germans called him would have had his fill of this. No way! Always willing to chat while posing for a photo or signing someone’s menu, listening as his right- hand scribbles across the page, adding his own wit to what he hears.
Down to Earth
Keegan has always been comfortable with his celebrity, enjoying the attention without ever being arrogant, behaving in a manner fitting for someone of his football status. He has that wonderful ability to remain genuinely grounded, while maintaining his stature. But with an inner toughness that has seen him take on the best. In my time in showbusiness only the late Actor Roger Moore could compete in this social area.
Compere Ian Richards kept proceedings moving with a successful auction, which included signed paintings and quality photographs of the guest, helping the Foundation to further support the many charities and good causes, it already does through its excellent work in the community. For all Sussex Cricket Foundation events click the link.
To book Kevin Keegan for future events contact Comicus firstname.lastname@example.org
All Photos by Stephen D Lawrence
Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He lectured at Southampton Solent University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences, he has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.