Derek Tennyson Kevan.
West Bromwich Albion July 1953 – March 1963
In March 1953, new manager Vic Buckingham, made the long journey back to his old club Bradford Park Avenue, to purchase the services of a man who was to become an Albion ‘icon’ , a true legend in every sense of the word. Derek ‘the Tank’ Kevan, a huge man even as a raw 18 year old stepping through the Hawthorns doors for the very first time, thus living up to his nickname, would become the ‘darling of the terraces’, in his 10 year stay at the club.
1953-27.08-Derek Kevan2-Wilkes West Bromwich Albion
Big Kev, was an inspiration to all those young fans who followed his and Albion’s progress, and had a heart the size of the very footballs he used to ‘bury’ in the opposition net. He made his debut for the Baggies, along with another true legend, Don Howe, at the Hawthorns on 24th August 1955, scoring both goals in the 2-0 defeat of Everton. Derek, went on to amass an astonishing 173 goals in 291 appearances for the club, begging the question “How much would he be worth in today’s market?”
He also notched up a total of 14 England caps, scoring 8 goals, played 4 times for the under 23’s and several outings for the Football League X1.
1961-10.10-Derek Kevan-Ken Kelly Pic
Sadly Derek fell out with establishment at the Albion in 1963, and when the ‘Doc’ (Tommy Docherty) then manager of Chelsea, came calling, the lure of London, and a change, was too much to resist, and the ‘Tank’ was on his way to the ‘smoke’ for a very handy £50 grand….netting a nice profit for the club. His initial transfer fee from Bradford being just £3,000. Unfortunately, that move wasn’t one ‘made in heaven’ for the big man, which he openly admitted himself. After falling out with the ‘Doc’, he was on his way again, this time to Manchester City, just a few short months after joining Chelsea. In a two year tenure at Maine Road, Kev created a new post war goal scoring record for the club, with 30 goals in the 1963-64 season.
From City, Derek moved onto Crystal Palace, Peterborough United, Luton Town, Stockport County, Macclesfield Town and finally Stourbridge and Ansells FC before hanging up his boots in 1975, at the ripe old age of 40. During the course of his complete League career, Derek ‘the Tank’ Kevan, notched up and total of 235 goals in 440 appearances. Now that is what you call a ‘true legend’ of the game, Association football.
1962-World cup-Howe, Kevan and Robson
Laurie Rampling – 02.03.2010