Kevin Keegan predicts Cobblers will avoid relegation

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Ex-England manager Kevin Keegan has backed the Cobblers to win their relegation battle.

The Newcastle United and Liverpool legend was at an after-dinner speaking event at Aspers Casino in Commercial Street, Northampton last night and said he believed the Cobblers’ passionate support could yet bring them to safety.

Keegan, a two-time European Player of the Year, said: “They say the passion at the big clubs is something special and of course it is, but it’s even more special at smaller clubs. I know that from being at Scunthorpe.

“Most of the players who start at the big clubs and then play at the likes of Scunthorpe think ‘Well, there’s only 3,000 supporters there.’

“Those 3,000 are probably more passionate and more dedicated than the Real Madrid fans, Barcelona fans and Man United fans.

“Some of them could go 10 miles down the road to a Premier League club but they don’t.

“But they’ve still got a fighting man’s chance and, backed by some great fans - and I’m looking around and seeing Torquay are below them with one more to go down - and they look to me like they can do it.

“They needed that little run they were on because they were in a lot of trouble.

“Looking at the league table, there’s still a lot of hope there to be honest with you. There’s not a massive gap for Northampton to make up.

“It won’t be easy, but there’s 21 points left to get.

“It’s very important for Northampton and any town that they stay up and good luck to them, I hope they do it.

“It was disappointing for Northampton that they didn’t bring in Akinfenwa but, for those Cobblers players, they’ve got a chance to be heroes.”

Keegan said that the impact of a relegation on a town such as Northampton would be felt more than in a city.

He said: “If the worst was to happen then that would have a massive impact on the town.

“Unfortunately the league below is not hard to get into but its very hard to get out of. If you look at the clubs now trying to get out, Lincoln, Luton Town. They can’t all get back up, so it’s a tough one. The best way is not to go down, obviously.

“It’s very important to the town that they stay up.”

The former England striker and manager gave a presentation about his life in football that was seen by 140 people, who enjoyed a three-course dinner and an auction organised by Comms Group and

Keegan reflected during his after-dinner speech at Aspers Casino that he had cause to remember Northampton, as NGH was where he was taken for treatment after the famous televised fall from his bike in 1976 during the a bike race on Superstars.

After two days at Northampton General Hospital, he recuperated in Roade, staying with a friend who worked for the plastic toy company called Mettoy, who he had a commercial contract with.

He also played several times at the old County Ground and took ex-Cobblers manager Graham Carr to Manchester City as chief scout.

The night saw fans pay to get photos with Keegan and autographs on memorabilia.

Items included a print signed by Paul Gascoigne and Vinnie Jones. A Kevin Keegan-signed Newcastle shirt, a Jack Nicklaus signed 2005 Open Championship presentation including the 18th par flag and special edition five pound notes signed by Nicklaus, and an ‘Escape to Victory’ shirt signed by Pele.

There was also an England World Cup 1966-style shirt signed by 10 of the victorious team.