Monday, 27 December 2010
239 Keith Hill
Played : 1996-97 to 2000-01
Appearances : 176
Goals : 6
Hmmm, what more can you say about this guy ? Keith was signed by Graham Barrow ( despite Mick Docherty's recent claims to the contrary ) in the summer of 1996 on a free from Plymouth. He started out with Blackburn Rovers ; a Blackburn fan at work (who knows him) told me he was a bit of a rebel with long hair who thought he was better than he was. Nevertheless he had become a regular in the side by the time they won promotion to the Premiership in 1992. However once they were up Kenny Dalglish preferred David May and after only one game away at Wimbledon, Keith and winger Craig Skinner were swapped for Plymouth's Nicky Marker. Keith made 123 appearances for Plymouth over 4 seasons before deciding to return north.
Keith was probably the best footballing centre half we've had. He could read the game, take the ball forward and pass it intelligently and sometimes burst through the middle to score. That's not to say he was the best defender. He was often taken for pace and three of his four red cards (the other was a ridiculous handball decision in the first minute at Leyton Orient in September 1997) were for taking out someone who'd given him the slip. In later seasons Keith got round this by becoming the master of the petty foul, the sort you don't get booked for such as just stepping into the run before the striker got into the area. He was less of a regular in his final season , notoriously being dropped for the home game against Shrewsbury which we lost 1-7 because Parkin thought his mate Simon Coleman carried more of a goal threat (which he did but not in the way Parkin meant) . He was released in May 2001.
Unbelievably he was then offered a three year contract by Cheltenham. He had played well against them but for a 32-year old it was an amazing opportunity. Keith played just 5 games at the start of the 2001-02 season and though the results weren't disastrous (two narrow defeats), allegedly he and keeper Carl Muggleton didn't see eye to eye and Keith was the one to make way. He did get on with his housemate Julian Alsop who made the eye-opening quote "he was my wife basically before Kathryn". Just three weks later he went on loan to Wrexham for two months appearing in both the temporarily unsponsored Football League Trophy and the FA Cup (a televised game at Hereford in which he looked quite shaky) so it was clear boats had been burned at Whaddon Road. He had to return there with a hernia injury but in August 2002 Keith was paid off and returned north to Morecambe with a hefty wad in his back pocket. He played 20 games up to Christmas picking up 2 red cards on the way then didn't feature and retired at the end of the season. Two years later he was invited back to Spotland by Steve Parkin to coach the youngsters and if you need to know what happened after that, what exactly are you doing here ?