When the news emerged today (Thursday) that Keogh had turned down the Seel Park job there was a general air of surprise.
Since he took over as caretaker boss in February, following Dave Wild’s decision to take a coaching post at Matlock, the assumption was that he would be properly appointed at the end of the season.
It was his assumption too — and the club’s. However, ten weeks of lockdown gave him plenty of time to ponder the pro’s and cons of management. When the call finally came he decided to say no.
“I enjoyed my short time as manager but it would have been easy to get carried away. Next season could have been a totally different kettle of fish when I had to start getting my own players and sorting money out,” said Keogh.
“If the job hadn’t come along as it did, would I have been looking for it? I realised I needed to be sure if I wanted to be a manager at this time. It would have been wrong for me to take it and then, say, get to November and decide it wasn’t for me.
“The fact is, you’re a long time retired and I feel I still have two years in me as a player, whether that’s at Mossley or somewhere else. After that I might feel differently.
“A non-league manager’s workload is ridiculous and I’d rather be playing. There’s also the problem that when you’ve been on the inside, as part of a team, it’s very difficult to suddenly move to the outside.
“Plenty of people have messaged me to say I’m stupid to turn the job down but it’s the way I feel. To be honest, I just want to enjoy what football I have left.”
The question now is who Mossley will appoint, and it would seem they’ll have make an announcement fairly quickly. In a normal year, non-league clubs would be only a month away from pre-season training with friendlies starting shortly after.
When the post became vacant, Seel Park vice-chairman Callum Irving said the club had received the top end of 30 applications, adding: “There’s a real spectrum. Some applicants have a strong pedigree and their names are well known in non-league. Some are up-and-coming, and there are people working in other areas of the game who want to coach. It’s a really interesting group.”
No clues were given as to who the applicants might have been. Speculation surrounded John Flanagan and Steve Halford, and there was talk about former central defender Adam Jones who is in charge at Stockport Town. However, Mossley revealed nothing.
Keogh said: “I realise the club need to get a move on. I let them know my decision as quickly as possible so they could get the wheels in motion.”