Sussex author puts football legend Kevin Keegan into sci-fi comedy adventure

A new book by Uckfield author Scott Innes transplants football legend Kevin Keegan to another planet.

Thursday, 21st May 2020, 9:17 am
Scott Innes
Scott Innes

Scott, aged 36, is in print with Galactic Keegan, published by Unbound at £9.99 and available from Amazon and Waterstones.

Scott, aged 36, said: “The novel is based on the Twitter account I created in 2014, @GalacticKeegan, which focuses on the adventures of former Newcastle United and England manager Kevin Keegan as he coaches a football team on the distant planet of Palangonia after earth is invaded by an imperialistic alien race called the L’zuhl.

“The few human survivors of the invasion have regrouped there within a large walled compound community and are trying to rebuild society. Keegan, aided by his loyal assistant Gerry Francis (formerly manager of Tottenham and QPR) and their robot coach Barrington12, discover there is a L’zuhl spy on the loose and decide to try to apprehend them and save the compound from L’zuhl annihilation.

“Because the Twitter account was telling an ongoing story rather than just being a collection of jokes, I’d wanted to turn it into a novel for a long time and to flesh out and explore this extremely daft universe I’d been creating over several years. I’m thrilled that I’ve now been able to do that.

“While of course the book was written long before the current lockdown situation came along, I do feel it’s a useful time for this novel to go out into the world. It was written to be a warm-hearted, positive tale about trying to do the right thing in difficult circumstances and that feels quite timely in its own way. Plus, it’s very much intended to make people laugh and that sort of thing could not be more welcome than at the moment.”

Scott added: “The book came from the Twitter account which itself came from a slow day at work about six years ago. My mind wandered and, in thinking about the televised match that evening – Newcastle v Stoke or something like that – I began to reminisce about those days when I was a teenager in the 90s when Newcastle under Kevin Keegan were far and away the most exciting team to watch.

“I was born and raised in Doncaster, which is also the hometown of Keegan, so he’s a much-beloved figure there and someone I’ve always had such a huge fondness for. I began to wonder what Keegan was up to these days, as it had been five or so years since his last brief job in management and you rarely ever seemed to see him pop up anywhere. ‘He could be in outer space now for all I know,’ I thought… and for some reason that weird idea stuck.

“I went home and, on a whim, created the Twitter account that evening and it gradually snowballed from there, starting out with just a handful of followers before it eventually came to the attention of Gary Lineker, who tweeted some very kind things about the account and brought it to a much wider audience. With the novel, I wanted to ensure that it wasn’t strictly a football book and for it to work for both sport fans and non-fans alike – really, the story is more of a sci-fi comedy adventure mystery, with a protagonist who just happens to run a football team. Very little actual football knowledge is required!

“Writing the book was such a pleasure for me. It was oddly comforting to immerse myself in the world of Keegan and Gerry and their spy-hunting mission. I found a lot of escapism in returning to add a little more to their world each day. I’m so pleased with how it’s ultimately turned out – it’s precisely the book I wanted to write. With both the book and the Twitter account, I’ve never wanted it to go down the road of spiky or cruel humour – it’s written very much as an affectionate tribute to the great man.

“The book is written to exist as a standalone tale with what I hope is a satisfying conclusion – but certainly it’s open-ended enough to allow for further adventures if there was interest in that. I know I’d be delighted to return to the world of Palangonia to see what Keegan gets up to next!

“I’ve been writing for almost all my life. I was a shy little bookworm of a kid and would immerse myself in stories from a young age and would of course then try to write my own.

“As I got older, I would try my hand at writing scripts for films to make with my friends or I’d write terrible novels and send them off to publishers and agents to see if I would get lucky.

“With the Galactic Keegan Twitter account, I got very lucky indeed – certainly it wasn’t the obvious way to get to this point, but I’m delighted of course!”

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