Although I went with my dad pre-1959, I always say that year was the start of me supporting QPR. For the next ten years or so, the one person that always seemed to be on the pitch was Mike Keen. He was tall for a mid-field player, over 6ft, but looked quite elegant. He had a long striding run and was good at carrying the ball. Strangely though, he was one of those players that took time to win the crowd over. Every crowd needs someone to moan at, and although Mike Keen gave 100% effort, it was ‘his turn’. Although a mid-field player, he was often called on to play centre half or centre forward many times, always giving the same effort.
After Tony Ingham retired in 1963, Mike Keen became captain and had five great years in that role. When he broke into the team in 1959, it seemed that no’s 4, 5 and 6 were Keen. Rutter and Angell, to me anyway, but when they became Keen, Hunt and Sibley, things started to take-off. In amongst the ‘characters’ like Allen, Lazarus and Marsh…and maybe the Morgan twins, Mike Keen got on with his job as captain, leading by his quiet example and chipping in with many assists and goals. He wasn’t one for ranting and raving at team mates and I imagine he had great respect.
Having played in nearly 450 games for us probably underlines that thought and 286 of which I believe were successive ! His departure in 1968 was sudden, especially after winning so well as captain, similar to Alec Stock at the same time. Although in Alec’s case it was not handled well at all ! Mike went on to have very good careers at Luton and Watford as a player and also went into management. He came back to us briefly in the Youth department.
When the 1967 Double Team were on the pitch a couple of years ago, Mike Keen still looked tall, elegant and very smart. In the 41 years since he was transferred from us to Luton, we have had many great captains, Venables, Francis, McLintock, Roeder, McDonald etc. A couple of seasons ago we had six captains in one season ! The thing is, Mike Keen to me personally, is the only captain to win and hold up a major trophy for us, on that great day at Wembley in March, 1967. He was a great captain, a big man, 100% and a gentleman. R.I.P Mike Keen, again 100%.