A SELL-OUT crowd of more than 250 people packed into the Trinity Club in Dorchester on Friday for a special night of fundraising and award-giving with football legend Kevin Keegan.
In the end, more than £3,000 was raised at the Sportsman’s Dinner held in aid of Dorchester Town Ability Counts FC, whose two teams had superb debut seasons.
Keegan, the former Liverpool, Hamburg, Newcastle, Southampton and England striker, who also managed his country, handed out awards to all of the players, as well as some extra accolades to those that really stood out last term.
And although he may have been held up in traffic in getting to Dorchester, Keegan certainly made up for any time lost by signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans all night.
Speaking to Echosport, Keegan said: “It’s been fantastic and very inspirational, and it’s great for the lads who got all of their awards.
“It’s a great crowd of people who obviously love football. It’s a hard place to get to but when you get here it’s worth it.”
Keegan’s first ever visit to the county town saw him regale those in attendance with stories from his career when he played under such great managers as Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley and alongside the likes of John Tosh-ack, Alan Ball and Tommy Smith.
And organiser of the event, Shaun Hearn, who helped form Dorchester Town Ability Counts FC, was delighted with how the night went.
“I thought it was fantastic and I was quite overwhelmed by it,” he said. “It was great to see everybody there and really make a big effort.
“Kevin was an absolute gentleman. He was mobbed by people but dealt with it really well and put a bit of money back into the pot which was nice of him.
“I’d like to thank my wife, Sharon, and Kate Taylor for doing all the food and Fiona House for the raffle.
“The people at the Trinity Club were brilliant for letting us have the venue and I’d like to thank everyone else who made it such a successful night.”
Hearn and his wife are in the process of setting up Kix Start, a community interest company which will try to get even more people from all walks of life involved in football.
On his experience in the world of disability sport, Hearn added: “For me, it has been quite humbling.
“Dealing with these young kids and vulnerable adults is so rewarding, and when they cross the white line to play football their problems go away.”
Dorchester’s teams excelled in the Dorset & Wiltshire Ability Counts League under manager Calvin Brooks.
The firsts won the Champ-ionship and the seconds were runners-up in League Two, a finish which saw them promoted to League One.
Friday’s awards went to:
Players’ Player of the Year: Jake Conway
Manager’s Player of the Year: Brendan Butcher
Most Improved Player: David Poyser
Clubman of the Year: Danny Kiy
Best Trainer: Darryl Topp
Golden Boot (first team): Jake Conway
Golden Boot (second team): Matthew Dale