Vic Keeble - 1930-2018
Everyone at West Ham United has been deeply saddened to learn of the passing of 1958 promotion winner Vic Keeble at age of 87.
The prolific centre forward scored 51 goals in just 84 senior appearances in Claret and Blue, including 19 in the Hammers’ 1957/58 Second Division title-clinching season.
A powerful, robust striker with a hard shot and dominant aerial ability, Essex-born Keeble played for Arsenal, hometown club Colchester United and Newcastle United, where he won the FA Cup in 1955, before joining West Ham for £10,000 in October 1957.
The new boy announced his arrival in style, scoring on his debut at home to Doncaster Rovers before bagging a hat-trick in a 5-0 thrashing of Stoke City at the Boleyn ground on just his fifth appearance for the Club.
Another treble followed in an FA Cup third-round thumping of Blackpool and, by the end of his first season in east London, Keeble had netted 24 goals in just 33 games.
The most important of those came at Middlesbrough on the final day of the 1957/58 campaign, when he netted the third goal in West Ham’s title-clinching 3-1 Second Division victory at Ayresome Park.
Having been promoted to the First Division, the rise in standard held no fears for Keeble, who marked his first top-flight appearance for the Hammers with a goal in a 2-1 victory at Portsmouth in August 1958.
And they continued to flow as Ted Fenton’s side finished sixth in the top flight, with the centre forward netting 21 times.
For much of his West Ham career, Keeble shared the forward line with Scotsman John Dick, with the pair combining to score 101 goals between October 1957 and May 1959.
A back injury forced him into retirement at the age of 30, with Keeble’s final appearance for the Club coming in a First Division fixture at Leeds United on 16 January 1960.
Having hung up his boots, he moved home to north Essex and returned to Colchester United to serve as commercial manager and later worked as an administrator at Chelmsford City.
Keeble also visited West Ham regularly, most recently attending a Premier League fixture with Hull City at the Boleyn Ground in February 2010.
The thoughts of everyone at the Club are with Vic’s loved ones at this sad time.