Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Farewell Harry - one of the greats

How sad to hear Harry Keough had passed away. I was lucky enough to interview him along with another legend Tom Finney in the run-up to the 2006 World Cup and I never forgot his warmth and generosity.

I probably took up more of his time than I should have done, and the interview only ended when his wife Alma reminded him that he needed to get his cleats on and referee a girls' school match, at the age of 78. Harry encouraged me to call again, as he could have talked all night.

He was always modest about his role in that most triumphant match in 1950. As Geoffrey Douglas' book 'The Game of their Lives' and the subsequent film recorded, the light of history shone on some unlikely heroes that afternoon in Belo Horizonte.

Despite coming home to no fanfare and unassuming lives, Harry and the rest of the team were duly commemorated beyond St. Louis and the football community in later years as the game grew in popularity following USA '94.

Even here in England, the inventors of the game whose inaugural World Cup ended in humiliation thanks to Harry and friends, those who know their football history will doff their cap to an American soccer legend and a true gentleman.

-Sean O'Conor


Jamie said...

Great article and interview, Sean. Thanks!

Bryan said...

Nice tribute, Sean. Guys like this should be celebrated.