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Team 33 | "Now, you imagine Kevin Keegan signing for Leeds United... it would have transformed the place"


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Somewhere out there a parallel universe probably exists where every fork in the road and decision can live on in isolation.

Maybe there's one where Alf Ramsey doesn't get the England job in 1962, potentially depriving England of a World Cup win they still hark on about. Or maybe they still would have won in 1966, only with a different man at the helm.

This week on Team 33, we learned all about Jimmy Adamson, the man who turned down the England manager's position in 1962 when he was offered the job by the FA.

The 1962 Footballer of the Year was part of the Burnley side that won the league a couple of years earlier and grew up on the same street as former Ireland manager Jack Charlton and Manchester United legend Bobby Charlton in the North East of England. 

Success on the field aside, Adamson, who passed away in 2011, suffered personal tragedy off the pitch with his mother taking her own life, his difficult relationship with his father and the loss of his daughters.

But the high hopes he had as a manager would also be dashed, having taken over as Burnley manager in 1970 with the expectation that a young group of players would develop into the team of the decade, only to fall out with chairman Bob Lord.

He would later manage Leeds in the late '70s, only to become a lightning rod for fan anger which boiled over in at times a deeply unpleasant way. He would never manage again after that, coupled with an estrangement from his beloved Burnley following his 1976 departure.

Dave Thomas, author of 'Jimmy Adamson: The Man Who Said No To England' joined me on Team 33 to tell me Adamson's story and also revealed a turning point at Leeds that isn't all too well known.

"The big story is that he could have signed Kevin Keegan before Keegan went to Southampton," Dave told me.

"Adamson and his assistant were talking to Kevin Keegan and also to Peter Withe with a view to signing them both. 

"Now, you imagine Kevin Keegan signing for Leeds United and having the same effect that he had at Southampton. It would have transformed the place. But the directors wouldn't find the money.

"And I think that's the point when Jimmy thinks to himself, 'Well, what am I doing here? Why am I bothering?' So he goes into his shell and by then of course he's drinking. He did have a drink problem."  

You can listen back to the full interview with Dave Thomas on the podcast player or stream/download on iTunes:    

We also had a passionate debate about the merits of this current Real Madrid side and whether they can truly be regarded as an all-time great side or merely just a very good one: 

Recent interviews on Team 33 include former Man United cult hero Andrei Kanchelskis, ex-England international Carlton Palmer, former Newcastle and Everton left back Alessandro Pistone, Chelsea legends Bobby Tambling and Paddy Mulligan, Dutch legend Johan Neeskens, ex-England striker Darius Vassell, Liverpool legend David Fairclough, former Ireland midfielder Mark Kinsella and former Everton forward Tomasz Radzinski. Plus our in-depth chats with Tony CotonPackie BonnerNobby SolanoRon Atkinson and Alan Curbishley are still available on iTunes. You can find them all in one place by subscribing to Team 33 on iTunes.


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