Thursday 25 Jun
Updated Thursday 25 Jun 11:01
History

West Ham United's prolific promotion-winner - Remembering Vic Keeble

Vic Keeble

  

Vic Keeble, the prolific centre forward whose goals helped West Ham United win the Second Division title in 1958, was born on this day 90 years ago.

Colchester-born Keeble scored 51 goals in just 84 senior appearances in Claret and Blue, including 19 in the Hammers’ 1957/58 promotion-clinching season.

A powerful, robust striker with a hard shot and dominant aerial ability, Keeble played for Arsenal, hometown club Colchester United and Newcastle United, with whom 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.

Vic Keeble joined West Ham United in October 1957

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 scored 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 Keeble 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 non-league Chelmsford City.

Keeble also visited West Ham regularly, attending for the final time for a Premier League fixture with Hull City at the Boleyn Ground in February 2010.

He passed away in January 2018, aged 87, but, on what would have been his 90th birthday, Vic Keeble's contribution to West Ham United history will never be forgotten.

 

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