Alan Keen: MP known for his passion for football


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The Independent Online

Alan Keen, who has died after a heroic fight against cancer, was the Member of Parliament for Feltham and Heston for more than 19 years since his election in 1992, when he wonthe seat from the Conservatives. Alan was a great MP, locally popular, diligent, and a great fighter for local causes. And he willbe remembered also as the MP who spoke up for sports, and especially football, more than anyone in the House of Commons.

In Parliament he was football's greatest champion and its greatest fan. In the Commons he did everything he could to open up the game to grassroots supporters. He also chaired the All Party Athletics Committee in the Commons.

Alan Keen was born in London but brought up in the Grangetown and Redcar area of the North-east of England, attending Sir William Turner's Grammar School in Redcar. He served in the Army for three years before joining the Fire Protection Industry.

He was a great footballer in his own right and a scout for his favourite club, Middlesbrough FC, for 18 years working with the then manager, Jackie Charlton. Among the footballers he spotted was Graeme Souness. The All Party Football Committee he chaired had 150 members, making it one of the largest all-party groups in Parliament, and he also headed two major enquiries into the condition of football in the country.

His road to Parliament startedwhen he served as a member of Hounslow Borough Council from 1986–90. He then unseated the sitting Conservative MP in 1992 and served on boththe Education Committee, from 1995–96, and the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committees (1997–99 and since 2001).

As Alan always said, serving thepeople of all his communities –Heston, Cranford, Hounslow West,Bedfont, Feltham and Hanworth – was his primary duty supporting all the different and diverse groups in his constituency. He held regular advice surgeries and was assiduous and conscientious at all times in speaking up for local needs.

I salute his bravery in facing cancer – fighting it as long as he could. Hewill long be remembered by all those who knew him as someone who taught us how to face illness. As Alan wasthe first to acknowledge, the NHScould not have done more to be of help and support.

Alan's wife, who he married in 1980, was Ann Keen, who served as the Labour MP for Brentford and Isleworth from 1997 until 2010.

David Alan Keen, politician and football scout: born London 25 November 1937; Member (Labour), Hounslow Borough Council 1986–90; MP (Labour and Co-op) Feltham and Heston 1992-; Member, Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport, 1997–; Chairman, All Party Football Group, from 2001; one son, one daughter; married 1980 Ann Lloyd (one stepson); died 10 November 2011.