Keeping Michael Image 3 Southampton 1928

Keeping Michael Image 3 Southampton 1928


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Milford-on-Sea, Hampshire born left back Michael Keeping had a successful career in the English Leagues before becoming manager of among others Real Madrid. He started his football career playing for local junior club Milford and signed as an amateur with Second Division Southampton for £25 in 1919, turning professional in December 1920, but had to wait to make his Football League debut at Hull City in October 1924. He gradually took over the left back position from Southampton’s ageing former England international Fred Titmuss. He soon blossomed into an outstanding left back who “oozed class and being fleet of foot could turn on the run to sweep the ball straight up the touchline to the waiting winger”. He was selected for an international trial in February 1926 and was selected for the F.A. Tour of Canada that summer.

He was an ever present in 1926-27 as Southampton went to the 1927 FA Cup semi final where they lost 2-1 to Arsenal at Stamford Bridge. He continued to impress over several seasons and e played for The Professionals in the 1929 FA Charity Shield, a match that The Professionals won 3-0 at The Den, Millwall. He won his only other representative honours when he played for the Football League against the Irish League in a 4-0 victory at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool in September 1931.

In February 1933 Southampton needed to raise cash and they sold Keeping and Johnny Arnold to Fulham for a combined fee of £5,000, with Arthur Tilford going to The Saints. He had played 281 times for Saints scoring 12 goals. He continued to play for Fulham until the outbreak of Second World War, by when he had made exactly 500 career appearances, and played wartime football until his playing retirement 1941. With Fulham he was a member of their 1936 FA Cup semi final team, losing 2-1 again, this time to Sheffield United at Molineux. Retiring after 7 goals in 219 games at Craven Cottage, he joined Real Madrid as manager in January 1948 staying until October 1950, then spending time in football management in Denmark with H.B.S. and Ermelo. He also managed Poole Town from 1959 to 1960 when he went to The Netherlands to manage Heracles Almelo from 1960 to 1961, and he also scouted for Southampton.

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