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KEVIN KEEGAN IN MOLDE; NORWAY: The first superstar in English football. PHOTO: Ivar Thoresen FOTBALLTRENEREN
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Keegan’s life long learned lessons – You deserve the team you get.


Monday, 20 March 2017, Kevin Keegan came to Molde to meet with his fans and academics. One hour before the lecture, people filled up Scandic hotel’s lobby in suits and Liverpool scarfs.nIt was evident that many of the people who came to meet Keegan were his fans from childhood. The crowd was mostly men over 40 years old.

At seven o’clock, everyone had taken their seats and were eagerly waiting for Keegan to enter the hall. Sparebank 1 Nordvest’s employee, and host of the night, Siw Bergsås, “Steve” as Keegan calls her, came onto the stage and gave people a brief introduction of Keegan. She mentioned, “I was star struck before meeting him, I simply didn’t know how I would address him and what I would tell him. Sir, Mr. Keegan, or Kevin, but from the moment we said hi to each other, it was great. He is such a humble, warm, and a giving man.”

It was obvious why Kevin Keegan was the first superstar in English football to catch media attention and be under the spotlight as a celebrity. He light-heartedly mentions a problem you face when you become famous. There are 42 other books written about him, he personally only wrote one of them and knows three of the authors. This tells you how big a superstar he was during his playing days. From the second he got onto the stage, his charisma, energy, and humour were astonishing.

So, who is Kevin Keegan? Born in 1951 in Doncaster, England. He played for renowned clubs such as Liverpool, Hamburger SV, Southampton and Newcastle United. During his playing career; two-times Ballon d’Or winner, inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame, won English Premier League, German Bundesliga, two UEFA cups, one European cup and most admirable of them all, he was given the honour of Officers of the Order of the British Empire by the Queen. It is simply difficult to write down everything he accomplished during his player career; he had a total of 592 club appearances and 63 international appearances for England.

His managerial career was also with very well known clubs such as Fulham, England, Manchester City and Newcastle United.

He recognizes how good Norway is when it comes to skiing and shares a joke on how Eddie the Eagle got famous for all the wrong reasons. “It's a sad thing but he became famous, that if you are not really good at something, you might as well be really bad at it to be famous.”

He also happened to be the captain of the England side that lost to Norway in the 1981 World Cup qualifier, a game Norwegian commentators and fans won’t let slip. He admitted the Norwegians though physically superior on the day, beat them quite bad with a scrappy goal.

Taking a swipe at FIFA and running us through several top-level names at the organizing body that had either been banned or arrested, Kevin as he has always been called, suggested we might as well change the name from FIFA to THIEFA. He then put the audience through some of the companies he has worked with and pretty much most of them had gone bankrupt, pointing out that sometimes in life, not everything goes as planned. Realizing how influential he was in England, he was certainly not only famous for football; he inspired a whole nation of cyclist, rugby, athletes, and boxers.

Not surprisingly, the way he articulates his thoughts both on football and business are nothing short of brilliance. He relates football to our everyday business decisions by expressing that just as you need six good leaders to win a tournament, the same can be said for the businesses we work in. He lamented, “The problem for England is that we only had two or three good players at a time, you need six to win a competition.” You might win a couple of games but you can’t win all the time, certainly not in football and it is the same in our businesses.

Football is an incredible thing that can take you around the world if you have got a vision. But don't get it twisted, he also wants us to find something we love doing and then get someone to pay for it. It doesn’t really get any better than that. Football wasn’t as easy to ride for Kevin like his achievements and records might suggest, even as a kid, he was never an outfield player until he was nine years old. In the 1960’s, training grounds were not as it looks today and they used bins as posts. At a later point, he got turned down by Doncaster FC for being too small, sometimes he says that's what empowered him to prove to them that they were so wrong.

At age 15, he went to trials at Coventry City and was one of two players out of the 220 boys who were picked to have six weeks further training. He was eventually turned down for not being good enough. In life, you need to meet people who inspire you with their knowledge. It can be your coach, boss, teacher, parent or a friend. Referring to what he was told to do on his debut when he was finally signed by Liverpool, where he made his name, he was asked by his manager to go out and drop hand grenades all over the pitch and cause trouble.

He talked about managing clubs and how difficult the job is by emphasizing that 9 out of 10 cases, managers are only out to get a job if there is a problem within the team and they don’t get into clubs doing amazingly well.

Besides all the success Kevin has chalked, you could easily see the man behind the fame, the brand and the success. A warm-hearted man who shared a lot of funny moments. Whiles admitting his utmost respect for Sir Alex Ferguson, almost everyone in the room laughed when he said: “there is nothing I would not do for him, there is nothing he would not do for me so we do absolutely nothing for each other”.

Keegan’s understanding and perspectives on a broad range of issues within and outside football are amazing. At age 66, the energy and stamina he showed even after his wonderful presentation was incredible.

He talks about 12 key points we need to be successful in our field of work. He recounted many amazing moments during his career and related them to these essential characteristics needed.

Equating the English alphabets from A to Z to numbers from 1 to 26, Kevin added up the each of these key attributes to their calculated percentages.

  1. 95% Empower Often It’s the Deepest Pain, Which Empowers You to Grow into Your Highest Self.
  2. 97% Knowledge – “Power is gained by sharing knowledge, not hoarding it”
  3. 98% Leadership – “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way”
  4. 98% Trust – “Takes years to build, seconds to break and forever to repair.”
  5. 99% Resilience – Toughness is in the soul and the spirit, not in the muscles
  6. 100% Discipline – “Discipline is the key” if you don’t discipline yourself, the world will do it for you
  7. 100% Attitude – “A bad attitude is like a flat tire, if you don’t change it you’ll never og anywhere”
  8. 100% Standards – “Set high standards and few limitations for yourself” In other words, don’t ever think you can’t do something
  9. 100% Reputable – “Build a reputation by helping other people build theirs” You are only good as the people who feeds you. He met Alan Shearer when he was 10 years old. Shearer paid him 10 pounds to train with him, but then years later Kevin had to pay 15million pounds to get him back years later. He says help each other to build a reputation, that's how you will get ahead.
  10. 100% Spirited – “Believe you can and you’re halfway there”
  11. 100% Deliver - “Many people say they will do things but never deliver, Alex Ferguson, is the perfect example of a person who delivers”
  12. 100% Luckiest – Kevin believes, sometimes physically you can give everything you have got, try the hardest you can but things don’t go your way. Therefore, you need luck, everybody needs a bit of luck.” He believes he had been very lucky.

These 12 attributes are relatable to all aspects of life, not just football management. Kevin says that “work hard, follow these rules and with a bit of luck you will get successful at anything you do”. 

Also read this article from Fotballtreneren issue 3, 2015 - "Hadde ikke blitt proff i dag".

Writers of the article - Altug Ozturk og Bright Baffour Antwi

Keegan2Bright and Altug together with Kevin Keegan

Altug Ozturk is a 25 years old student, born in Turkey but moved to Canada all by himself for high school. Then he moved to Australia for a bachelor of business in sports management. He is taking a Master of Science in sports management at Høgskolen i Molde. He is also a grassroots/junior coach at Træff SK as well as the leader of ESN Molde, an organization which provides services to the international students at Molde University College.

Bright Baffour Antwi is currently pursuing a masters in Sports Management after completing a masters in Sustainability at the University of Oslo. He is passionate about sports for development and has been following grassroot football for several years in Ghana. As a former school teacher, he plans to establish a football academy in Ghana. 



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