During a twenty-five-year managerial career, Danny’s teams have won trophies, promotions, and celebrated last-gasp relegation escapes. Danny managed over a thousand games for Barnsley, Sheffield Wednesday, Bristol City, Milton Keynes, Hartlepool United, Swindon Town, Sheffield United, and Chesterfield. Prior to that he had an extensive playing career, pulling on the shirt for Wigan Athletic, Bury, Chesterfield, Nottingham Forest, Scunthorpe United, Brighton & Hove Albion, Luton Town, Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley, as well as representing Northern Ireland.
A popular character wherever he went, Danny’s journey is littered with hilarious stories of some of the game’s biggest names, including Brian Clough, Ron Atkinson, Viv Anderson, Chris Woods, Jimmy Case, Mick Harford, and Steve Foster.
I Get Knocked Down is a truly fascinating insight into the life of a true football man,
(Publisher: Morgan Lawrence Publishing Services. October 2022. Paperback: 256 pages)
The final Saturday in August sees me in Lincoln to visit my Mum for the weekend. Football wise, Sincil Bank, the home of Lincoln City is a ground I’ve been to umpteen times, in fact it is my second most visited stadium behind theBridge. Just up the road from Lincoln is Scunthorpe, and the Sands Venue Stadium, (I have always known it as Glanford Park) the home of Scunthorpe United and it is the destination for my eighth match of this season. With Carlisle United the visitors it will be the second time in four days I have seen the Blues on the road – a hardcore Cumbrian fan!
I have a soft spot for Scunthorpe United. I’ve mentioned in earlier articles my dad’s trials at Chelsea and Arsenal, but whilst he was signed on for Arsenal, he was still in the Air Force and stationed in Lincolnshire. He signed part time terms with Scunthorpe United – I wish my dad had spoken more about his football career, too modest I suppose. I can’t find any evidence of him playing for the Iron but one of his stories was about the time he got called back to play full time for Arsenal, but he decided to stay in the Air Force as it paid better in those days. If he had played for Scunthorpe, he would have run out at the Old Showground, their previous home from 1860. As for Scunthorpe’s current ground (since 1988), it’s a nice touch, as with a number of new grounds, that its address is named after a former player, in this case Jack Brownsword, the Iron’s all-time appearance record holder, who played between 1947 and 1965 and would have been at the club the same time as my dad.
Safely in my seat opposite from the main stand ahead of kick-off and with the teams warming up, the brilliantly named Iron mascot, Scunny Bunny, goes through its pre-match routine. Soon the teams are out with Scunthorpe in claret and light blue – apparently the design and colours are a tribute to when Sir Ian Botham played for the club – and Carlisle, who as in midweek, are in their change strip of, what their kit manufacturer Errea describe as After Eight – whatever has had happened to kit colours!
When the game gets underway, the Iron make the early running with good chances in the opening fifteen minutes. First, Yann Songo’o, has a header which is cleared off the line, and is quickly followed by a chance for Matthew Lund, but his shot ends up well over the bar. Abo Eisa then has a header which goes narrowly wide. Scunthorpe continue to dominate the first-half but can’t turn the pressure into goals, as decent chances come and go for George Miller, Andy Butler and Regan Slater. And as a result, at the break the game is goalless. The Iron were to rue their missed chances when on the hour mark, Ryan Loft, who had come on at the start of the second-half as a substitute for Carlisle finds himself with time and space to fire home at the near post. Scunthorpe though dig in and go in search of an equaliser but are susceptible to Carlisle on the counter-attack and are grateful to ‘keeper Rory Watson who is out quickly to thwart Harry McKirdy as he burst through midway through the second period. As the game goes on, Scunthorpe continue to push and think they have levelled from a Matty Lund goal-bound header, only for Adam Collin to produce a spectacular save. The Iron continue to hammer away at the visitors goal, but at the whistle it is the visitors Carlisle who take the points with a 1-0 win.
Depending on your age, Kevin Keegan is either a Liverpool legend, a Newcastle legend or that guy who called out Sir Alex Ferguson in a live interview that has become the stuff of legend. But whether you think you know Kevin Keegan or not, reading his autobiography will almost certainly make you think again. Not only does it reflect on the early years before his fame and his unconventional route to the top, but it also shows in a starkly frank way the situations Keegan found himself in behind the scenes, especially as a manager, and they make for very interesting reading. He opens up on the characters, clubs and stories behind some of the most iconic moments in his career. Not surprisingly, he doesn’t hold back when he feels there are injustices that need to be accounted for, but, admirably, he’s quick also to acknowledge his own failings. Indeed, if there is one thing that this autobiography is it is honest – often unflinchingly so.
Despite only having been out of management over the last ten
years, Keegan’s portrait of the world of football offers a very different
vision to the sport we know now, and, especially in respect of the early
decades of his career, there is a very clear sense of how times have changed.
For those who can’t remember Kevin Keegan’s playing days, the autobiography
also serves to highlight his footballing ability – he was the third ever
Englishman to win the prestigious Ballon
D’or, after legendary figures Stanley Matthews and Bobby Charlton, and the
only Englishman to have ever won it twice. In terms of his managerial career,
the bulk of this is given to his two spells at Newcastle, including that
difficult second period, but the autobiography also recalls his successes, not
least securing promotion with Manchester City from the First Division to the
Premier League, which in many ways became the springboard for their later
Reading the autobiography gives a very clear picture of who Kevin Keegan is both as a man, a footballer and manager, and just like that infamous interview, it’s apparent he’s lost none of that forthrightness and tenacity.