A THROWBACK TO WHEN AN ICON OF LIVERPOOL AND NEWCASTLE STACKED IT IN FRONT OF THE WORLD.
1976 was a simpler time. A time when it seemed a good idea to allow one of the best footballers on the planet to compete in a gameshow that involves riding a push bike at speed on a dusty gravel running track. 1976 was a time when BBC’s Superstars reigned. And we loved it.
Scroll down to watch Keegan’s crash landing
This wasn’t some unknown footballer looking for a bit of air time, this was Kevin Keegan. Kevin Bloody Keegan. This was a man who spearheaded Bob Paisley’s first title-winning Liverpool team that year; a man who captained England; a man who would go on to win the Ballon d’Or as a Hamburg player in 1978; a man who would eventually manage his country.
But there he was, in 1976, with rippling muscles, sitting on a bike, and ready to race in front of the world.
As the race begins, it’s unclear as to whether Keegan actually knows how to ride a bike.
‘He’s wobbling all over the track,’ says an anguished Ron Pickering, as Keegan teeters across the gravel.
Then, as they reach the first bend, Keegan’s race comes to an abrupt end. He’s cut off by his rival, and goes down like a sack of shit.
‘And Keegan’s gone,’ screams Pickering, sensing a moment of television gold is unspooling in front of his eyes. ‘Keegan touched the back wheel and he’s gone across the track. Covered in dust, that is a terrible crash.’
Despite lying on his back as the dust settles around him and a couple of deeply-concerned spectators huddling over him, not knowing quite what to do, Keegan plays off the smash like it’s just a bump. What of it?
He’s got some punchy gashes on his shoulder from the fall, and he insists on re-racing. Keegan went on to win to qualify for the final and eventually win the programme.
Of course none of what followed was as entertaining as his catastrophic bike crash, but fair play.
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