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'Pool Sensation O'Keefe to Release Book



Liam Wood takes a look at Eamonn O'Keefe, with news that the former Blackpool man now has an autobiography ready for release.

First, the history bit!

A player who stood at just 5ft7, his footballing career was cut short through injury.

Buckle up as we take a trip down memory lane to take a look at Eamonn O'Keefe.

Eamonn joined from Port Vale, but his career started in the non-league at Stalybridge Celtic before moving on to Plymouth Athletic. He then played in Saudi Arabia with Al-Hilal before moving to Mossley. Despite there being little infomation about his time at them clubs, he obviously impressed enough to earn a move to top flight Everton. As a 26-year-old that's quite a feat but he went to star for three seasons playing 40 times and scoring six times at Goodison Park.

His moment of glory at Goodison came against Arsenal. A goal which some older supporters still talk about today. Eamon ran an amazing 40 yards, then smashed home a superb right footed shot against Pat Jennings. Howard Kendall would later recall: 'Goodison Park has witnessed many great goals and that must rank alongside the best.' A terrific tribute to a terrific player, who was about to move to Wigan Athletic, for a then club record fee of 65,000.

Moving to a lower division late at aged 29, would be seen by some as winding down your career. But for Eamonn it was more or less the start of his legacy and his lower league career is what made him a legend.

At Wigan he scored 25 goals in 58 games, sending them out of the old fourth division and winning them promotion. Then he did the same for Port Vale. A 25,000 signing he scored 10 goals in his first season. Playing his part in 37 games and helping them to to win promotion.

He was also a Republic of Ireland international playing five times and scoring once. His last game was as a substitute against England - his appearance coming the same week that Blackpool paid 17,000 for his services and in his time at the club (1985-87). He played 36 times scoring 23 goals winning admiration from the Bloomfield faithful and upon receiving his career ending injury he was awarded a testimonial.

Which according to Sam Ellis the club were 'delighted to offer Eamonn a testimonial as part reward for what he has helped this club achieve'.

Having revitalised his career at the seaside he scored 14 goals in the first 13 league games of his first full season. This took his tally to 18 in 19 games since joining the club from Port Vale. His goals secured a personal hat-trick for the player: a third promotion as Blackpool got promoted to the third division from the fourth.

Jimmy Armfield later wrote in his testimonial programme: 'players like Eamonn are hard to find, ask any manager'. But injury ended his career. It came at a the wrong time for the player who was entering the best form of his career and maybe had he not got injured against Chesterfield the club may have gone on to win promotion to the 2nd division.

Tony Quested would later suggest that 'Blackpool hadn't witnessed such a phenomenal goalscoring since Bob Hatton in his prime'. That for me is one of the best compliments for any player to have donned the tangerine shirt.

But Eamonn's influence wasn't just on the pitch many would later come to talk of it in his testimonial programme.

John Bailey claimed he 'was a great character on and off the field. He always gave 110%.'

His attitude in the dressing room is one of the many factors which helped the seasiders to promotion to division three. With Jimmy Armfield saying 'his ebuillience around the dressig room was alo important'.

He was a serial prankster and had a habbit of pulling pranks in the dressing room. However his timing was occasionally off. As one story, which was shared by team mate and best freind Mike Walsh in years after his time at pool.

Walsh wrote 'In what was to be his final game for Blackpool vs Carlisle, he came off with his injury just after half-time and went straight for a shower. We lost the game 1-2 and were on the end of a tongue lashing from the boss.

'Then feeling sorry for ourselves, we dressed only to find every pair of socks has been cut by you know who, who by now was under treatment. One or two of the lads did not see the funny side of it given the circumstances, and it ended up, his new suit was thrown into the bath by the offended party'.

There is no doubt that his comedy timing was occasionally off, but there is no doubting his footballing ability and whilst he may not have been prolific at Everton. But his work rate and influence of the pitch won over the fans.

He went on to win a hat-trick of promotions and proved to be a top player for many clubs. It was a shame injury ruined his career, because had he not suffered injury he probably would have helped the seasiders to division two and the club's history and progress from '87 would have been completely different.

Eamonn now has a new website, which you can see by clicking here >>>

The website gives details of O'Keefer's new book - a fantastic insight and witty look into the life of a footballer of that era.
The journalist

Writer: Editor Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday January 12 2010

Time: 6:38PM

 

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