Keen To Return

Kevin Keen, a key member of two Hammers promotion-winning teams in the early 90s, is coming back to West Ham United in a full-time coaching capacity.
The 35-year-old Keen has been appointed Under-17s Academy Coach, replacing the recently retired Peter Brabrook.

Announcing the appointment, Academy Director Tony Carr says: "It was always going to be difficult to replace Peter but, in Kevin, we feel we've got the best man for the job.

"He's young, enthusiastic, has gained his A Licence in coaching, having worked with both youth and senior players at Macclesfield, and of course he is steeped in West Ham United."

Keen, who begins his new role on August 1, is returning to the place where his own playing career began almost 20 years ago. Ironically, he will now come under the direction of the man who guided him on his first steps up through the Upton Park ranks in the early 80s.

"That's right, but let's say I did go into coaching at a young age!" laughs Tony, who added that the club received many applications for the job and that Keen emerged at the top of a short list of impressive candidates.

"We looked at the two manin criterion when making this appointment and Kevin has both the coaching credentials and the character essentials we were looking for," adds Tony. "Having spent 10 years at West Ham as a player, Kevin obviously knows the club through and through and, most importantly, what we stand for, our ideals, everything.

"Having progressed through our youth system himself, he knows what it takes for a youngster to make the grade here, which is very important."

After making his first team debut for West Ham at home against Liverpool in September 1986, former England youth international Keen made steady, if unspectacular, progress under John Lyall before winning over the fans and securing a regular place in the Billy Bonds era.

As a hard-working winger or midfielder, he won a promotion-winners' medal in 1991 and again two years later when, under Bonzo and assistant Harry Redknapp, 'Keenie' was an ever-present as Hammers again returned to the top flight.

It was a bitter-sweet time, though, for Kevin, who was out of contract at Upton Park. He moved on to Wolves in a £600,000 deal that suited all parties but after just a year at Molineux, he rejoined former Hammers boss Lou Macari at Stoke City in 1994.

In the summer of 2000, Kevin took up his first coaching role when he joined Macclesfield Town,becoming player/coach of the side Glenn Roeder's men knocked out of the FA Cup last season.

Renowned for his 'entertainments officer' role at both West Ham and Macclesfield, where he organised the board games that helped bored players while away the long coach journeys to away games, Kevin revealed his coaching ambitions in an interview with Hammers News Magazine just over a year ago. When referring to his friendship with another former Hammer, Martin Allen, a prophetic Keen said: "You never know, in two or three years time, one or both of us could be back at West Ham doing something with Tony Carr".