06 Jul 2018
Eamonn O’Keeffe played football, badminton, snooker, table tennis - and endless Garage and Jungle tapes - at St Andrew’s in the 1990s. A number of his very successful St Andrew’s football team came from the Abbey side, which famously beat Notts Forest 6-0. He vividly remembers St Andrew’s coach Steve Leacock, with his infamous team talks, and the badminton coach, Pat’s 3 word training instructions: ‘Up there’ and ‘Easy’.
Now in his late 30s, Eamonn has always lived in Pimlico. The Club was somewhere he, his sisters and nephews connected with others from different areas and schools. His first-generation immigrant parents worked all hours to keep the family afloat.
Ten years ago, after earning a lot of money ‘in all sorts of ways’, he decided he didn’t want that kind of life. So, encouraged by his partner, he offered to help Jim Bull, leader of Churchill Gardens youth club. As a DJ and then working for the entire summer holiday programme.
Over the next six years he took NVQs and then a degree covering youth work, community development and management. Eamonn now leads the Harrow Club Senior youth programme, and has been heavily engaged with local community activity, particularly following the Grenfell fire that tragically killed 5 club members.
What is his message?
There are no limits. Grab the opportunities life throws at you. The only failure is in not trying and make the most of the all the support the Club leaders can give you.
If you are a former member of the Club and would like to share your story of what the Club meant to you, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eamonn in 1990/91 aged 10 being presented Player of the Year by Tony Gale, also a former Club member and then famous footballer from Pimlico who played for West Ham at the time and went on to win the Premier League with Blackburn Rovers in 1996.Tony is now a football pundit on Sky.
"This Abbey team pic was from Saturday 20 April 1991 as it was the same day Chelsea lost 7-0 to Nottm Forest and it was taken in Nottingham somewhere as that's where we played them that morning before the game. I am in the middle at the back, blonde hair, with my arms around two of the boys".