Ex-Files: Brian Keeble

Ahead of Saturday’s FA Trophy tie between the Mariners and Darlington, here’s an interview I did with Brian Keeble, a Lincolnshire-born defender who turned out for both clubs. Brian is famous for lobbing goalkeepers from distance before David Beckham was even born!

JB: How did you get started at Grimsby Town?

BK: I had been at Holbeach when I was youngster but then I got called up for National Service in the Army. I kept my football going by being an amateur here at Grimsby and the day I left the Army was the day I signed professional terms.

JB: We enjoyed a promotion campaign in your time at Blundell Park; what are your memories of that season?

BK: I was an ever-present in the side. Tim Ward was the manager and we had an indifferent start to the season. I think the key was that we always had goals in the side. There were plenty of players who could pop up with a strike when your backs were against the wall.

JB: You made a switch from right back to left back in your playing career; did you find any difficulties in changing flanks?

BK: It was early on in my career that I made the change. I had actually started out as a centre-half, so I played all along the back line. I am predominantly right-footed but comfortable with my left as well. You always used to work on kicking with your weaker foot because you never knew when you might be called upon.

JB: You scored a famous goal for the Mariners that was from the halfway line; what do you remember of that?

BK: It was my only goal for the club! It was against Northampton and I saw the goalkeeper on the edge of his penalty area. I was about 50 yards out and hit the ball towards goal. Ron Rafferty went up with the ‘keeper and they both missed the ball and it went flying into the net.

JB: Didn’t you do a similar thing at Darlington?

BK: I did and that was from even further into my own half, before David Beckham made it famous! It was against Walsall and I hit the ball forward, the goalkeeper came out to claim it and slipped on his backside and it trickled into the goal.

JB: How would you compare your spells at Darlington and Grimsby?

BK: I loved my time here at Grimsby. I had six great years and won a promotion so they were great times. When it came time for me to move on I wondered whether I would experience those times again but I was fortunate enough to have four good years at Darlington. I can’t complain with ten years in the league. One thing that did stand out though was when I was at Darlington, whenever I came back to Grimsby or they came to us, they were never able to beat us!

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