Kevin Keegan, the 72-year-old ex-England manager, scoring 21 goals in 63 appearances, is back in the spotlight. He has recently shared his opinions on a contentious topic: female pundits analysing men’s football.
For those who’ve been living under a rock, Keegan, once a mainstay on our telly, has been noticeably absent recently. He has made a grand return, embarking on a speaking tour across our green and pleasant land. At an event in Bristol, ‘An Evening With Kevin Keegan OBE’, he sparked controversy.
“I’m not as keen, I’ve got to be honest, and it may not be a view shared,” he began, addressing the packed room of around 250 eager listeners.
“I don’t like to listen to ladies talking about the England men’s team at the match because I don’t think it’s the same experience. I have a problem with that.”
However, Keegan was quick to doff his cap to some of the leading ladies in the game, adding, “The presenters we have now, some of the girls are so good, they are better than the guys. It’s a great time for the ladies. But if I see an England lady footballer saying about England against Scotland at Wembley and she’s saying, ‘If I would have been in that position I would have done this,’ I don’t think it’s quite the same. I don’t think it crosses over that much.”
For those not in the know, Jill Scott, Karen Carney, and Alex Scott are just a few of the female greats who’ve been showcasing their expertise on men’s matches. Not to mention, Chelsea’s gaffer, Emma Hayes, who’s won plaudits left, right, and centre for her sharp insights. And Lucy Ward? Well, her voice has become as common as a cuppa during the halftime break.
Keegan shared a story from his experiences, highlighting the rise of the women’s game.
“When I was England manager I went to coach the England ladies and I had this perception of what the quality would be like and they were so much better than I thought they were going to be.
“I joined in and then I thought, ‘I’m getting out of this.’ I couldn’t get the bloody ball and one of them nutmegged me, that finished me off.”
Yet, it wasn’t just female pundits who found themselves in Keegan’s line of sight. He reckons modern pundits, regardless of gender, are far too chatty. “I worked with Brian Moore who was the best.
“At a World Cup final he would say ‘Kevin, don’t talk too much let the pictures do the talking.’ A lot of the pundits now talk too much. Don’t keep talking, talking, talking. They don’t want people like us any more, our day is gone, it’s time for the next generation.
In a final twist, Keegan ended on a high note, saying, “There are some very, very good lady presenters and I’m working with one in two days’ time, Terry Yorath’s daughter, Gabby [Logan].”