‘Bad luck always comes in threes and starts with a B’ is a variant on a popular old adage that could have been copyrighted by Kevin Keegan during his playing days. Bikes, Bremner and Belgrade: the Liverpool and England forward suffered a personal hat-trick of misadventures during the mid-1970s when he became the unwitting and unfortunate victim of three very different and very painful incidents.
In 1976 the perpetrator was a particularly wobbly bike during a guest appearances on BBC’s ‘Superstars’ programme. Never seeming in control as he pedalled down a track for 100 yards or so, Kevin’s precarious battle against gravity was finally lost and he crashed to the ground suffering severe cuts and grazes to his arm, shoulder and back. Two years earlier he had been on the wrong end of a physical battering from Leeds United in the Charity Shield at Wembley. Johnny Giles was to the fore in the tenderisation of the Liverpool man and when he whacked Keegan from behind at a corner, the forward’s considerable patience finally snapped. When Keegan turned round Giles had disappeared, so the angry Liverpool man assumed that Billy Bremner was responsible as he was the closest Leeds player in attendance. A punch-up ensued and both players were red carded, tearing off their shirts as they left the pitch in protest at the decision. There was wide scale condemnation and a lengthy ban for Keegan, but precious little comment about the lack of protection he had received from the match officials.