Record-breaker Andy Keogh is at Perth Glory to stay – and he’ll be left holding the baby when next season is in full swing. The Irish striker shattered the A-League record for the number of goals scored in consecutive games after his return to the club earlier this year.
His haul of eight came as the team was on a march to seven wins over that period, putting them in position to mount a late challenge for an AFC Champions League place.
The team's final spot of fifth and late campaign momentum would have been unlikely without the contribution from Keogh, who has come alive since his return to nib Stadium.Z
The 30-cap Republic of Ireland international has applied for citizenship and has his mother, father and brother living in Western Australia.
Keogh is also due to become a father again later this year, the first of his children to be born in the country.
He’s left now for a holiday to Ireland and then England, but Perth is fast becoming home.
“I’ve always had a great time in Perth. I’m looking forward to what we can do next season. It’s always nice to see the world and visit new places, doing something that you love doing" Keogh said.
“I’ve got two years left on my contract and, if I have another good run next season, hopefully, I can get an extension on that.
“The club is growing and the manager has made some useful signings all around me, so it’s been good. We were struggling a bit when I came back here, but we got through it.
“I’ve applied for residency here and I think I’ll probably end up finishing my career here. I’m nowhere near the finishing line yet, but it’s helping my game.
“I’ve got friends who have lived here for five years plus and now I have family who moved over, too. My mum and dad and now my brother are always around.
“They were already here when I came, so I’ve never felt isolated. When I got the offer initially, I thought long and hard before taking it and I’m delighted that I did.
“I’m married, my wife and kids are here with me and I’ve got another one on the way in October. I’m happy and settled here.”
Keogh’s consecutive goal haul saw him dubbed the ‘A-League’s Jamie Vardy,’ after the Leicester City star netted 11 games in a row to break a Premier League record as they became champions.
It’s up there with the richest vein of form the hard-working forward has been associated with during his 12-year first team career.
He’s enjoying working again with boss Kenny Lowe – an Englishman whose association to the game in Western Australia dates back to the 1980s – and was one of five additions in January.
Recent signings include Joseph Mills, an England youth international from the same Southampton academy that produced the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott and Gareth Bale.
Further new team-mates for next season include Rhys Williams, an Aussie who has never played at his homeland’s top level after spending 11-years in England with promoted Middlesbrough.
They’ll be helped to make the transition from soccer in blighty to down under by Keogh, Alex Grant, Shane Lowry, Chris Herd and Aryn Williams, who have all made the switch.
Former Fulham man Adam Taggart is another to join the club for a second spell in January, but was ruled out of playing until next season as he’d played for two teams during the last campaign.
Lowe and former Glory skipper and now general manager Jacob Burns have experience of England, the latter turning out for Leeds United and Barnsley.
“The gaffer has a good vision about what he wants to do and he’s brought in players that made a difference. The boys got some momentum and we went on that great run" Keogh said.
“It’s always great to be scoring in every game, the lads loved it and I loved it. The fans who knew me back in England probably couldn’t believe what had happened!
“You can’t pick and choose when you get into form and, sometimes, you just need that bit of luck when you’re doing the right things and getting into the right positions.”
Keogh is now enjoying a break, before reporting back for the start of pre-season training on June 20. He also has coaching aspirations to think about.
The experienced hit-man wants to give something back to the game when he hangs up his boots and next has his sights on the highest qualification available.
“I’ve done most of my coaching badges, I started them when I was 26 and the next step is my UEFA Pro Licence. I’ve already got my A-Licence" Keogh revealed.
“I’m doing little things on the side, just helping teams so I can get a bit of experience. After I retire, I could first see myself working at Under-21 level or lower.
“It’s enjoyable for me to watch players develop but, one day, I would love to be a first-team coach or manager. That’s what my plan is and I’ve set the ball in motion”.
*This story has been brought to you by Craig Birch who works at the Express and Star newspaper in Wolverhampton*