Tampa Tour: ‘All my prayers have been answered’ – City legend Keelan thrilled with Florida reunion
Kevin Wiatrowski/Visit Tampa Bay
He was the main man at Norwich City for 17 years and now Kevin Keelan’s prayers have been answered, after a reunion with the Canaries in the USA.
The legendary goalkeeper made 673 appearances for City between 1963 and 1980, then moved across the pond to play for New England, Jacksonville and the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Keelan was able to meet current Norwich number one Tim Krul and the rest of Daniel Farke’s high-flying squad at the Al Lang Stadium, the home of the Rowdies, during an open training session yesterday.
“The thing that worried me at one stage was, I looked at all these different clubs and they’re all having camps over here and over there, and I wondered when it was going to happen for Norwich City?” Keelan said.
“Low and behold, here we are, I’m here and they suddenly come in and I’m thinking, suddenly all my prayers have been answered somewhere! It’s great.”
City arrived in Florida top of the Championship table and Keelan has his fingers crossed that is where they’ll stay, so that he can watch more of the games involving his beloved former club.
“The big problem here is, in the USA they cover the biggest and the best – although it doesn’t always work out that way – and they only cover the Premier League,” he continued. “So I only see Manchester United and Chelsea, the big names, but once we get back into that you’ll get a lot of people watching Norwich City, which will be right up my street.
“To be with the club that you’ve served for 17 years and played nearly 700 games for, it would be nice to be sat back home and able to watch Norwich.”
Now aged 77, Keelan still does three sessions of goalkeeper coaching a week locally in the Tampa Bay area and was able to speak to City’s keeper coach Ed Wooton as well as Krul and young keepers Aston Oxborough and Jon McCracken.
Reflecting on his time with the Rowdies, now based in St Petersburg, he added: “That was when we were in Tampa, at the Raymond James Stadium and I was assistant coach to Gordon Jago when I finished, another Englishman – and funnily enough he’s just followed me and been made an MBE.
“This is home now, a wonderful place, I can’t leave here. My wife and I, our daughter, it’s great.”