Trevor Jones of Ledbury Road, Hereford, remembers Eric Keen’s short but still fruitful time at Hereford Bulls

First published in Letters

TO remember Eric Keen as Hereford United's shortest term manager does him scant justice.

Appointed in the summer of 1939 Eric started his professional career with Newcastle United before being transferred to Derby County, making 219 first team appearances scoring four goals, being capped four times for England and also representing the Football League.

Under his management a strong team was assembled to compete in the Southern League for the first time playing four games which comprised of one win and three draws before declaration of war caused the league programme to be aborted.

Friendly matches were played and in the third one against Cheltenham Town, Eric was sent off for retaliation on September 30, 1939.

Regional football then commenced with United having a record of seven wins, four losses and one draw with a goal difference of 40 scored and 20 conceded in the Southern League (West) but Eric did not appear as a player until March 31, 1940, when he inspired his team to a three-nil away win against his old enemies, Cheltenham Town.

Three days later he joined the forces and said goodbye to Hereford. After the war he had brief playing spells with Leeds United and Hull City finishing his playing career with IFK Norrkoping.

Born on September 4, 1910, Errington Ridley Liddell Keen died in 1984 and we can only surmise how successful he may have been if circumstances had been different.

Perhaps there is a clue in that a young lad he signed in 1939, Jimmy Blair, went on after the war to play for Blackpool, Scotland, Bournemouth and Leyton Orient. Eric clearly had an eye for a good player.

TREVOR JONES, Ledbury Road, Hereford.

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