South East Wales

Fred Keenor: School plaque for FA Cup winner

Image caption Keenor was injured in WWI and told he would never be able to play again

The man who lifted the FA Cup for Cardiff City in 1927 has been remembered with a plaque at the primary school where he captained the 1908 football team.

Cardiff City Supporters Trust unveiled an £85,000 bronze statue of Fred Keenor outside their new stadium last year after fund-raising campaign.

But the appeal was so successful that around £1,200 was left over.

The money has been spent on the plaque for Stacey Road Primary in Adamsdown.

A number of options of how to spend the surplus were considered, but as trust chairman David Craig explained, a memorial plaque at his school emerged as a firm favourite.

Image caption Fred Keenor (R) shakes hands with the Arsenal captain before the Bluebirds win the FA Cup at Wembley in 1927

"I think I'm speaking for most people in the trust when I say that, before we embarked on the campaign for the statue, we knew about what Fred Keenor was, but very little about who he was," he said.

"I for one have learnt so much about the man behind the player over the last few years, and we'd love for the plaque to serve as a talking point at his school so that the stories will be passed on for decades to come.

"We discussed all sorts of ways of using the leftover money to create a real legacy for the campaign, and I think almost everyone felt that this was a great means of inspiring the next generation with Fred's legend."

Active service

The son of a bricklayer from the Roath area of the city, Keenor signed for Cardiff in 1912.

During his 19 years at the club, the Bluebirds were losing finalists and winners of the FA Cup, won the Charity Shield and were First Division runners-up.

Keenor also won 32 caps for Wales, leading them to Home Nations' Championship titles in 1920, 1924 and 1928.

Speaking at the unveiling of Fred's statue last year, his nephew Graham Keenor said his uncle achieved all this despite being injured on active service in World War I.

"In common with so many professional footballers of the day, when war broke out in 1914 Fred joined up with the 17th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, who were nicknamed the Football Battalion," he said.

"He took a serious leg injury from shrapnel at the battle of the Somme, and doctors told him that he'd never be able to play again.

"But Fred had other ideas. He never knew when he was beaten.

"When Cardiff lost the 1925 FA Cup final, he told reporters that he was proud to have got so far, and that supporters shouldn't be down-in-the-mouth as he could confidently say that Cardiff would go one better sometime soon - and he was right."

The plaque, which is being unveiled by current Cardiff manager Malky Mackay, is in the blue style previously issued by Cadw and English Heritage.

After its purchase Mr Craig says there will just about be enough left in the appeal to pay for the Cardiff City Stadium statue's first annual clean and overhaul, after which the fund will be officially wound-up.

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