Brian Jeeves and David Selby take a look back at the career of popular Chelmsford City goalkeeper, John Keeley.
Having been in the Maldon Town side beaten 2-0 by Chelmsford City Reserves in the final of the Essex Senior League Cup at the end of the 1984-1985 season, John Keeley signed for City in the summer of 1985.
He had already made 63 Football League appearances for Southend United after signing professional forms in July 1979.
Although he was replaced by Kevin Foster in the opening game of his first City season he was an integral part of the team that finished runners up to Welling United in the Southern League Premier Division and came the closest the Club has ever been to what is now the National League. The side also reached the second round of the F.A. Cup losing 2-0 at Wycombe Wanderers.
He made 63 appearances that season (the Club played 74 games in all) and at the end of that campaign he moved back into the Football League with Brighton and Hove Albion. He later played for Oldham Athletic, Oxford United, Reading, Chester City, Colchester United, Stockport County, and Peterborough United
On October 16, 1993, John was involved in a unique, and somewhat unwanted, Football League record. In a match against Hereford United at Edgar Street, Colchester United became the first league club to have both goalkeepers sent off. Keeley and Nathan Munson were both dismissed for professional fouls as the U’s slumped to a 5-0 defeat. They were replaced between the sticks by the U’’s player-manager, Roy McDonough, who of course went on to manage the Clarets.
After making more than 200 league appearances, Keeley re-joined City towards the end of the 1994-1995 season. This spell lasted just two games before he joined Stockport County
A year later he was back at City for a third spell but made his final appearance for City in a 2-0 home defeat by Baldock Town in September 1995, being replaced by Lee Ballard, who joined the club from Stambridge United.
Employed as a taxi driver in Sussex, Keeley later played for Canvey Island and Worthing, whilst he had a spell as goalkeeping coach at Portsmouth and Blackburn Rovers.
In all he played 85 games for City conceding just 92 goals and was on the losing side just 23 times. All of his appearances for the club were played during Joe O’Sullivan’s time as Manager.
Featured is the John Keeley’s collectors card from his time with Brighton & Hove Albion.
You can discover more about the history of Chelmsford City Football Club in the excellent magazine ‘The Chelmsford City Historian’ by David Selby (£2:50) Follow David on Twitter: @SelbyDavid
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