20th – Richard Keogh
After yesterday fantastic battling win at Ipswich, its another topical post; this time focusing on biblical Rams centre half, Richard Keogh.
You all know Keogh’s story and I am not going to tell you anything new here. However the renaissance of the man and the player is just so epic, I decided it would be criminal not to include Richard in this series of articles………like you say.
One of my largest and longest standing customers at work is a massive Cov fan. When we signed Keogh to replace Shacks, he was full of praise for Keogh and even now still loves him. As an aside his comment when we signed Cyrus was “best of luck”!
Keogh’s start to life at Derby was decent and many people felt he was a good replacement for Shackell. With his commitment to the cause and unique 120% passion for defending it was easy to see why the Cov fans loved him so much.
However, as captain, his high intensity style of play and highly strung body language didn’t always sit well with some Rams fans, especially when the chips were down.
Like you say, after Wembley this view became more populist with every slight error being greeted with groans, every goal conceded being blamed on Keogh and even some booing of his name.
As the Rams season fell apart and the defence became more of a shambles by the week, Keogh, as captain and often the guy trying to make a last ditch attempt to keep the ball out the net, became the target for everyone’s frustration (along with some wankers abusing his wife on twitter). The fact he had a succession of morons either side and behind him and mostly no-one in front of him (apart from waves of opposition midfielders) wasn’t the point.
I’ve written before that there was no question Keogh was gone this summer and the plan was to play Pearce and Shacks. However Clement knew Keogh from a brief coaching stint with Eire and immediately called him back from Departures.
Without the burden of the armband and playing alongside the experience, class and calmness of Shackell, Keogh is a man re-born. Bravery, headers, blocks, tackles, playing out and his trademark forward rampages are regular features of every game, like you say. Whilst Shacks is a picture of calmness and quiet efficiency, Keogh is everywhere, demonstrably straining every sinew in his body to keep the ball out of our net and to ensure the Rams win the game.
When you think of the journey he has been on there can not be any right minded rams fan who doesn’t get goosebumps everytime the south stand sing his name. Now also a regular for Eire, he fully deserves the honour of playing in the Euros this summer.
Player of the Year? There’s not even any point having a vote…………like you say.