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Eamonn O'Keefe
Personal information
Full name Eamonn Gerard O'Keefe
Date of birth 13 October 1953 (1953-10-13) (age 56)
Place of birth Manchester, England
Height 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Playing position Midfielder/Forward
Youth career
1974 Stalybridge Celtic
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1974 Plymouth Argyle 0 (0)
1974–1975 Hyde United
1975–1976 Al-Hilal
1976–1979 Mossley 111 (34)
1979–1982 Everton 40 (6)
1982–1983 Wigan Athletic 58 (25)
1983–1985 Port Vale 59 (19)
1985–1986 Blackpool 36 (23)
1987–1988 Cork City
1989 St Patrick's Athletic
1989–1990 Chester City 17 (4)
1990–1991 Bangor City 3 (0)
Total 324+ (109+)
National team
1979 England Semi-Pro
1983 Republic of Ireland under-21s 4 (4)
1981–1985 Republic of Ireland 5 (1)
Teams managed
1987 Cork City (player-manager)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Eamon Gerard O'Keefe (also referred to as Eamonn O'Keefe) (born 13 October 1953) is an English-born Irish former professional footballer. He played as a forward, but in later years was moved into a midfield role.

Contents

Club career

Manchester-born O'Keefe started his career with non-league Stalybridge Celtic before winning a chance in the Football League with Third Division Plymouth Argyle in February 1974. Never making the first team he dropped out of league football to join Hyde United for the 1974-75 season. While there he scored six goals in one game, against Rhyl, in 1975. Later in the year he moved to Saudi Arabia to play for top-flight Al-Hilal.

He returned to Greater Manchester with Mossley in December 1976. Upon Bob Murphy’s return to Seel Park as manager a year later O’Keefe was moved to an attacking midfield position where his pace, power and eye for goal saw him help Mossley to the Northern Premier League and cup double in 1978-79.

O’Keefe was then snapped up by Gordon Lee at Everton for a £25,000 fee, going on to make 40 top-flight appearances for Everton scoring 6 goals. He was then transferred to Wigan Athletic for a £60,000 fee in 1981,[1] he played close to 60 games for the Springfield Park club, scoring 25 league goals.

In June 1983 Port Vale paid £10,000 for his services. With 11 goals he was the club's top scorer and Player of the Year in his debut season. The day after picking up his award he put in a transfer request because Vale had been relegated.[2] During the following season he played less regularly, but carried two children to safety when a perimeter fence collapsed during an FA Cup 2-1 win at Macclesfield Town on 17 November 1984. On 25 March 1985 he refused to play for the Vale against Wrexham, on the advice of the PFA, because he was due to play for his country the following night.

Three days later he joined Sam Ellis's Blackpool.[2] He made his debut for the Seasiders towards the end of the 1984–85 campaign, in a 4–2 victory over Peterborough United at Bloomfield Road on 30 March 1985, scoring Blackpool's fourth goal. He went on to score five more goals in eleven games before the end of the campaign, at which point Blackpool won promotion to Third Division.[3]

The following season, 1985–86, O'Keefe scored seventeen goals in nineteen league starts (including a hat-trick in a 4–0 home win over Doncaster Rovers on 1 October 1985). He finished the season as the club's top scorer.[3]

After only two games in 1986–87, O'Keefe announced his retirement from professional football due to injury. His final game for Blackpool occurred on 6 September 1986, in a 2–1 home defeat by Carlisle United.[3] He was awarded a testimonial match as the summer wound down, with First Division champions Everton visiting Bloomfield Road.[3]

O'Keefe went on to enjoy a two-year spell playing and managing in Ireland with Cork City. In March 1989 he came out of professional retirement to sign for Chester City, under the guidance of his former Wigan Athletic manager Harry McNally. The signing was delayed due to lengthy negotiations with the Football League over his insurance payout from two years earlier.[4] His Chester debut came at his former club, Blackpool, on 18 March 1989, coming off the bench to score in a 1–1 draw, denying Blackpool two points in their battle against relegation. Although he appeared in every game until the end of the season and became the club's penalty taker, O'Keefe, who also worked as commercial manager at the club, only featured in three more matches in 1989–90 and drifted out of professional football circles, signing for Bangor City.

Blackpool F.C. Hall of Fame

O'Keefe was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Bloomfield Road, when it was officially opened by former Blackpool player Jimmy Armfield in April 2006.[5] Organised by the Blackpool Supporters Association, Blackpool fans around the world voted on their all-time heroes. Five players from each decade are inducted; O'Keefe is in the 1980s.[6]

International career

O'Keefe became an England semi-pro international, playing against Scotland and the Netherlands in a tournament in May 1979, scoring the winning goal against the Dutch in the final.

He won five caps for the Republic of Ireland, scoring one goal. He qualified for the squad thanks to his father.

Honours

Individual
with Mossley
with Blackpool

References

  1. ^ Mossley bio
  2. ^ a b Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. p. 218. ISBN 0952915200. http://www.amazon.ca/Port-Vale-Personalities-Jeff-Kent/dp/0952915200. 
  3. ^ a b c d Calley, Roy (1992). Blackpool: A Complete Record 1887-1992. Breedon Books Sport. ISBN 1-873626-07-X. 
  4. ^ Chas Sumner (1997). On the Borderline: The Official History of Chester City 1885-1997. pp. 106. ISBN 1-874427-52-6. 
  5. ^ Singleton, Steve, ed (2007). Legends: The great players of Blackpool FC (1 ed.). Blackpool: Blackpool Gazette. pp. 90–93. ISBN 9781845471828. 
  6. ^ "The Hall Of Fame - 1980's". Blackpool Supporters Association. http://www.bsaweb.info/HOF80.aspx. Retrieved 2 December 2009. 

Further reading

  • Calley, Roy (20 October 1992). Blackpool: A Complete Record 1887-1992. Breedon Books Publishing Co Ltd. ISBN 187362607X. 
  • Singleton, Steve, ed (2007). Legends: The great players of Blackpool FC (1 ed.). Blackpool: Blackpool Gazette. ISBN 9781845471828. 

External links

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