Robbie Keane - Fans memories of a striker with a trademark goal celebration

He was the striker who was an instant hit thanks to his speed, eye for goal and trademark cartwheel celebration.

Sunday, 14th March 2021, 5:00 pm
Robbie Keane celebrates scoring for Leeds United against Sunderland at Elland Road in September 2002.
Robbie Keane celebrates scoring for Leeds United against Sunderland at Elland Road in September 2002.

Robbie Keane proved a sharpshooter after signing for Leeds United from Inter Milan initially on a half season loan.

He made an impressive start at Elland Road scoring nine goals in 14 starts for the club.

They included two goals from the bench against Manchester City at Maine Road and a stunning overhead kick winner, against Coventry City the club he left behind, at Elland Road.

Robbie Keane scores the winning goal - a spectacular overhead kick - against Coventry City at Elland Road in January 2001. PIC: Varley Picture Agency

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That move became permanent thanks to a £12 million deal in May 2001 which made him David O’Leary’s second biggest signing after Rio Ferdinand.

The following season proved not so bright, and Keane found himself dropping down the pecking order. He only managed nine goals in 33 appearances.

Three of them came at Filbert Street in the Worthington Cup as a man of the match performance destroyed the Foxes.

He also scored the crucial goal in the Stade de L'Aube to put Leeds through to the third round of the UEFA Cup after the Whites survived a severe scare at the hands of Troyes.

And he came off the bench in April 2001 to unlock a stubborn Chelsea defence making sure they left Elland Road singing the blues.

When Leeds sunk deeper into debt and were forced to sell players Keane joined the exodus after being sold to Tottenham Hotspur just before the 2002/03 transfer deadline for a fee of £7 million.

Your YEP has asked the Elland Road faithful to share memories of a Leeds number 7 whose 126 Premier League goals for six different clubs, ranks him as the 15th-most successful goalscorer in the history of the competition.

Responses included:

Les Deighton - "He was often described as not a great goal scorer but a scorer of great goals .Which I think was very apt."

Stuart Connolly - "My dad and myself were sat close to the cheese wedge versus Chelsea in 2001. Keane stepped up off the bench in the 81st minute and scored the opener five minutes later, he done his trademark cartwheel celebration in front of us in the East Stand."

Gary Smith - "Overhead kick versus Coventry."

Philip Tegerdine - "When he flattened Beckham at Old Trafford."

Paul Gray - "Ipswich away 2001/02 season he dummied it, Kewell played like a half volley pass through to Keane and he slotted it past the keeper!"

Richard Wiggs - "Remember the screaming free kick from all of 25 yards that hit the back of the next but was ruled out as it was taken to quickly."

AL Bryans - "Loved the way Robbie celebrated his goals. Top man."

Russ Stevenson - "Class player."

Steve Preece - "Class player but too many forwards in that season."

Mark Shipley - "Scorer of great goals."

Tony Bune - "Scored a great goal against Chelsea when we won 2-0."

Peter Hepworth - "What a player."

Ben (@benlovesleeds) - "Should have stuck with him over signing Fowler."

James Munroe (@jmunroe2001) - "I was so pleased when he joined his boyhood team Leeds from his other boyhood clubs Wolves and Coventry. Must have been a dream to play for the other clubs he supported as a kid such as Liverpool, Spurs and Celtic."


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Laura Collins