Hammer Keen makes his managerial election speech
West Ham caretaker boss Kevin Keen mapped out his vision for the future of the club, despite the 3-0 home drubbing by Sunderland on Sunday.
It may not have been the most convincing of auditions, but Kevin Keen was undiminished in his ambitions, despite the crushing 3-0 home defeat by Sunderland on Sunday.
“I love this club,” said the 44-year-old after West Ham completed their Premier League programme. “I played for the club for nine years, I’ve been a coach here for another nine.
“It’s in my blood and I feel that I can really take the club on and contribute.
“I feel it is time for me to go and be a manager. I can coach players well, if you ask any of the players if they would like me to take the job, you would get a big affirmative from the majority.”
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He’s probably right. Those that will be staying next season, not only respect Keen, they are also confident of getting their chance in the first team if he is in charge.
Players fear change and the words of Keen would have been music to their ears.
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The caretaker boss certainly thought about his words carefully. His press conference was almost like a job interview as he spoke, not only to the press, but to the owners as well.
“I really believe in the young players that we have. The five that started today and if you put Mark Noble into that, if you put Junior Stanislas into that, I think we have got a fantastic set of young players,” said Keen.
“If we can keep hold of them, there is that foundation, that base to take this club forward and play the type of football that West Ham supporters want to see.”
It was more like an election speech than a press conference and Keen continued.
“We have the foundation and I believe the future of the club can be good and I think we can make a good start in the Championship next season and look forward to a future in our new home back in the Premier League – I really believe that.”
(Pause for round of applause and standing ovation)
Keen insists that the Hammers have to get back to their roots if they are to be successful again.
“Do you not think in the last couple of years with Avram Grant and Gianfranco Zola that we have gone away from our traditions and the way we used to play?” said Keen, who coached under both of them.
“I think those traditions have been lost over the last four or five years and we need to regain them.”
So how would Keen go about it if he was given the opportunity?
“Look, I’m not na�ve enough to say that I’m going to play a team of 11 kids next year because they have all come through from West Ham,” he said.
“We need to make sure that we keep hold of some of our senior players so there is going to be that element of making sure you do some good business.
“But I believe we need a nucleus of local boys. I think that’s the way to go and I think the supporters will go for it.
“If senior players are sold for money, perhaps we can use that to buy some players with Championship experience, or ones that I know are going to put in the effort to wear the claret and blue shirt week-in, week out.”
It all sounds plausible and it is likely to appeal to the fans as well as David Sullivan, but after Sunday’s dismal 3-0 home defeat, the chances of Keen being given the nod seem even more remote.
What does he think of his chances?
“I don’t know, what am I 10/1?” he said. “If the owners want to speak to me and sit down seriously and talk about whether or not I should be the manager, I’d love to do it.
“If I’m up against you boys saying Martin O’Neill, Steve McClaren, Sam Allardyce, Neil Warnock, you pull names out of everywhere, it is going to be a tough ask, because those boys have got massive experience.
“They have got a better record than my no wins and two losses in the Premier League!”
It would be a romantic notion to put the former Hammer in charge, but whether it would be the right move, is open to question.