Inspirational as Martin Keown explains how Newcastle United fans made him fall in love with football
Martin Keown won 10 major trophies in his playing career.
This included three Premier League titles, three FA Cups and a European Cup Winners Cup.
Also, the central defender won 43 international caps for England.
However, the former Arsenal and England star has revealed that without the intervention and inspiration of Newcastle fans, it is all but certain none of this would have happened.
Martin Keown explaining that he came from a family who weren’t into football, his parents running a mini-supermarket in Oxford when he was growing up.
Back in 1974 he was seven years old and Martin Keown said his life was turned upside down when in May that year, two Newcastle fans came into his family’s shop.
The pair were going to watch the FA Cup that afternoon and bought up the entire stock of Newcastle Brown Ale in the mini-supermarket.
Martin Keown says ‘Their excitement was infectious’ and so later that day he watched NUFC get hammered 3-0 by Liverpool.
The later to be Premier League winner and England international took two massive things from that day, man of the match Kevin Keegan (scored two) was then his ‘childhood hero’ and the Newcastle (and Liverpool) supporters…’I was taken aback by the passion of the fans. From that moment on, I knew what I wanted to do in life.’
I remember myself as a kid watching that 1974 final on TV, Liverpool dominated the game but on the terraces the Newcastle support was incredible, absolutely drowning out the Liverpool fans despite what was happening on the pitch.
It was a similar story when I was able to be at Wembley myself in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Beaten by Arsenal (including Martin Keown…), Man Utd and Chelsea BUT the noise from the NUFC fans was superb.
Looking back at everything that has happened since May 1974, Martin Keown sums up that closing doors moment in his life: ‘Imagine if those two guys had not visited the shop and snapped up all our ale…But I’m so glad all that happened, because that was how I fell in love with football.’
Martin Keown talking to The Mail:
‘In a 1987 Q&A for a magazine, I was asked who my childhood hero was, and I said Kevin Keegan. That was because he played a part in me getting into football in May 1974.
I was seven at the time, and my mum and dad ran a mini-supermarket that also sold alcohol in Oxford.
One day, two Geordie chaps came in, and bought all the Newcastle Brown Ale we had on the shelves. They cleared us out of the stuff!
It was to drink while they supported their team in the FA Cup final that afternoon. Their excitement was infectious and, at the time, I was the only member of my family with an interest in football.
Later that day, my mum put BBC One on our television for me, and I got to watch Liverpool face Newcastle.
I watched every minute of it, from the build-up, to the players walking out in front of 100,000 at Wembley, to Keegan scoring twice for Liverpool in a very one-sided 3-0 win.
I was taken aback by the passion of the fans. From that moment on, I knew what I wanted to do in life.
I told anyone and everyone that I would become a professional footballer and play in a final like that, in front of all those people, someday.
‘Yeah, yeah, of course you will,’ I’d get back. But that match became my inspiration, and Keegan became my hero. He was the star of the show, and I was officially hooked.
Imagine if those two guys had not visited the shop and snapped up all our ale…But I’m so glad all that happened, because that was how I fell in love with football.’
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