why we hate ...
... martin keown

Originally featured in MEHSTG Issue 11 - December 1999

Well, just look at him. When everything was handed out, poor old Martin was at the end of every queue there was. His appealing features are few and it is surely only Arsenal fans and his mother who love him. After initially leaving Arsenal, he could really swing it at Aston Villa or Everton, so returned to the comfort of the familiar surroundings of Highbury to try and ape his previous success there.

A story on Danny Baker’s Talk Radio football chat show springs to mind when I think of Keown (and what a terrible thought that is !!). It concerned how the ordinary Joe in the street had come into contact with professional footballers and especially those who had been into the house of one, but this one had a twist in the tale. Over the ether came a story of how the chap had been working for a company who had made to measure a set of curtains for the Arsenal back man. Unfortunately, the caller was called upon to visit the Keown family home to take back the curtains, because they had not been paid for. Yet another case of the England defender losing possession !!

Edmundo and Martin hit the town

Keown is really a throwback to the olden days of football, when cavemen used to regularly take on the dinosaurs and lose, because they lost their heads. Keown carries this tradition on to this day.

His choice to play at centre-half for England is particularly confusing. When you have Tony Adams and Sol Campbell, why do you need another six footer in the back four ?? Unless you are taking on a side with a forward line resembling a herd of giraffes, that is. So, instead of picking more of the same, why not select someone whose talents would complement those of the central defenders ?? The fact that he is keeping the consistently excellent Chris Perry out is one that constantly boggles my mind.


In these enlightened days, we all denounce the monkey noises which were prevalent in the 1980’s, but when they are nowadays aimed at Keown, perhaps there is some justification for their return. He constantly loves to play up to his hard man image and will stand for no monkey business. Consequently, he can regularly be found frightening young children acting as ball-boys - or in the case of the England v Belgium match at the Stadium of Light, a young ball-girl who did not return the ball as quickly as he liked.

It is not just in such cases that his success with the fairer sex is lacking. At one time his unique looks hampered his love life to such a degree that he resorted to the Internet to find solace. He was so infatuated that he made himself an exotic virtual girlfriend ... she was a lap-top dancer !!

His profile is set to improve (No, he isn’t having plastic surgery) with a contract modeling for Burton’s Menswear. He will be showing off their new range of clothes and will specialise in suits for the man with the shorter legs and the longer arms.

Unfortunately, Martin is coming to the end of his years in the top flight and his timing is as late as the sending off he received at White Hart Lane. He has managed to avoid his one nightmare trip in football. No, not a trek to Moscow in the deepest, coldest Russian winter. Not a gruelling battle against the organisational brilliance of a crack German Bundesliga side. Nor a trip into the hell of a Turkish away tie. No, Keown’s very own hellish moment would have come in a midweek away Cup match at Hartlepool - especially if the “Monkey-Hangers” were drawn in the quarter-finals !!

Des Morris

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