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September 15 , 2010

...I Only Wanted To Play Football


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… I Only Wanted to Play Football – Eamonn O’Keefe’s memoir – tells it all!  From one of six children in a North Manchester family to a successful professional footballer who played around the world, this book lays bare all that goes into the game.

Eamonn O’Keefe recalls in his humorous memoir his notable football career in England, Ireland and Saudi Arabia as he moves from club to club.  His exploits include being arrested after a practical joke badly backfires - and he was told by a Saudi prince that the prince was in love with him, whereupon O’Keefe quickly fled back to the “safety of England.”

“I first met Eamonn when we played together for the Republic of Ireland. His football exploits around the world were common knowledge within football circles – but were not well-documented publicly. It should be a great read!”   Frank Stapleton, ex-Manchester United and Republic of Ireland International player

“Many of today’s footballers live their lives like Hollywood film stars. The story of Eamonn O'Keefe’s life could be the script of a Hollywood film but there would be only one problem – nobody would believe it was a true story! I can assure you it is. You couldn't make it up if you tried!”  Howard Wilkinson, Ex-England manager and current chairman of the League Managers Association

“I’ve known Eamonn a long, long time and I wish him all the best with his book…  It’s quite a story!”               Denis Law, former Manchester United and Scottish International player - and Football Legend.

“…He was an inspirational footballer and one who genuinely looked as though he enjoyed playing for playing’s sake…”
Jimmy Armfield OBE, former England International and Blackpool player.

I was delighted to be asked by Eamonn to do a “blurb” for his book. He was one of our finest members starting with non league Stalybridge Celtic (neighbours of my home town, Ashton under Lyne) and going on to have a football career any youngster would aspire to at club and country level.
His football career proved his endurance and determination attempting to break into league football with Plymouth Argyle then coming back into the North West with Hyde United and Mossley and having the courage to venture out to Saudi Arabia playing for Al-Hilal.

Gordon Lee whilst at Everton showed his eye for a good player and signed him for the Toffees where Eamonn scored one of the finest ever goals for Everton versus Arsenal. He was then transferred to Wigan Athletic for a club record fee of £65,000, gaining promotion with Wigan before being transferred to Port Vale and also gaining promotion. His career spanned two decades and in the late 80’s, whilst playing for Blackpool, he scored 23 goals in 36 games – the Blackpool air did him good scoring 18 goals in his first 19 games and a hat trick of promotions as Blackpool were promoted to the 3rd division from the 4th.
For a player of small stature he had a great goal scoring record, a tremendous hat trick of promotions and a legend in the lower leagues. He was known as a great character on and off the field, but for injury curtailing his career, he would still have had a lot to offer.

Tony Quested described him as the most phenomenal goal scorer since Bob Hatton in his prime, having played with Bob Hatton myself that is one of the finest compliments and I am honoured to wish him every success with his book.
Gordon Taylor, Chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association (P.F.A.).

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