QPR stalwart Mike Keen was born in High Wycombe on this day in 1940. He made his 1st team debut, aged 19, against York City and went on to make over 400 appearances for the R’s.
Titled ‘Ten Years Later’, Sean Kilfeather paid tribute to him in 1968 in the March/April edition of the supporters’ magazine ‘Rangers Roar’:
Mike Keen has been at Loftus Road for so long now that people have been known to mistake him for one of the floodlight pylons. This impression is heightened by the fact that he has played 261 games in succession and 405 altogether in his ten years here boy and man.
Mike still has the same easy grace on the field which marked him down as a bright prospect at the age of sixteen when he joined the club ten years ago. It didn’t take long for the talent scouts to get to the head-shaking stage and wonder why they hadn’t spotted him themselves and the offers from other clubs up and down the country began to keep Alec Stock awake at night, and Alec claims he refused more offers for Mike than all his other refusals put together.
Then came last season. Mike played in every match in a memorable year which ended with him taking the Third Division Championship trophy and the League Cup home to Bourne End for his two sons to stamp their grubby fingerprints on them. Now the same grubby fingers have the Second Division Championship and First Division football within their grasp and Dad has something else to set his sights on.
At the end of last season I asked Mike what his views were on the challenge of Second Division football. He told me he was looking forward to the challenge and wondered if he would find the pace and different approach difficult to adjust to.
Now that he has answered his own doubts by working harder than ever he is the kind of player who will start asking himself the same questions about the First Division.
No player has given better service to Rangers than Mike Keen. When he takes his benefit match at the end of the season the people who have been entertained by his fluid running, his shrewd passing, his soaring goals, his example and his sportsmanship will have an opportunity to say: “Well done Mike”.
Mike Keen sadly passed away on the 12th April 2009 but will never be forgotten.
(The above pic was taken from the 1965/66 Club Handbook and the caption reads: ‘Skipper Mike Keen won the Supporters’ Club award as ‘Player of the Year’ last season – and his colleagues obviously had no argument with the choice as they hoist Keen on their shoulders after the presentation.’)