It came as a great shock when I heard that Mike Keen had died after a short illness. His family attended the Sheffield Wednesday match at Loftus Road and at their request there was a minute’s applause in his memory. As far as the match was concerned, it must be noted that the R’s came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 as they did at Wembley in 1967 !
On Monday, the first person I met in the car park was Mark Lazarus and soon after ‘Topper’ (not sure if I know his real name but that’s what many R’s fans know him as) came over with our ex-keeper, Mike Kelly. There was a very large turnout in the Milton Chapel, Chilterns Crematorium, just outside Amersham. The entry music was Johnny Cash’s ‘Orange Blossom Special’ and it was standing room only for many of the mourners.
His sons, Mike and Kevin, himself a well known footballer for West Ham of course, paid tribute to their Dad. We were told about other aspects of his life, all very moving and very sad. The Reverend Martin Courtney asked us to reflect on his life as another piece of his favourite music was played, a very poignant song in the circumstances, The Carpenters, ‘Yesterday Once More’, I thought about some of those amazing times in the 60’s when he was our captain.
‘Lookin’ back on how it was
In years gone by
And the good times that I had
Makes today seem rather sad
So much has changed.’
The final hymn was a football hymn, ‘Abide With Me’ and the final song was Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’. There were many from the football world present including from the 60’s era, Mark Lazarus, Rodney Marsh, Tony Hazell and Mike Kelly. Representing the Club were, Gareth Ainsworth, Terry Springett, Keith Ryan, Steve Gallen and Dave Robinson. Also paying their respects were Gianfranco Zola, Paul Parker, Martin Allen, Paul Goddard and many others.
Many thanks to Liz Finney for doing the flowers.
MICHAEL THOMAS KEEN
1940 – 2009