Harvey, Keith

Birth Date

25th December 1934

Birthplace

Crediton, England

Occupation

Half-Back

Biographical Text

Born on Christmas day in 1934, Keith Harvey grew up to become a true City Legend by playing in over 500 league and cup matches for the club.

In-fact only one other player has appeared in more games for the club - Arnold Mitchell - and they were to partner each other in City sides for many seasons.

Signing professional terms in August 1952, Keith made his league debut for the Grecians in a goalless draw at Bristol Rovers just one month later.

Making just a handful of league appearances in his first two years at the club, it wasn’t until season 1954-55 that he won a regular place in the side, taking over the centre-half spot from Fred Davey.

Safe in the air and a firm tackler, Keith was never one to hold back and soon became a favourite with the St James Park crowd, while also drawing the attention of other clubs, including Lincoln City, who tried to sign the robust defender in September 1956.

The board rejected the deal, and after making his first 100 appearances for the club Harvey had a joint benefit match with Mitchell in April 1957 when Exeter City played against a Manager’s All Star XI.

It was not all plain sailing though, with a broken leg in October 1958 and also a broken ankle in a pre-season match in August 1962 depriving City of one of their key men. However it was not one bit if a surprise to those who knew Keith that he fought back on each occasion to take his place back in the side.

Perhaps his finest moments as a Grecian came in1964, where he was an ever present in the line up as City went on to win promotion for the first time in our history.

He was also a popular winner of the Player of the Year award in 1965-66.

Appointed trainer at Exeter in July 1966, he still continued to play but gave up the position after just one year to concentrate on his game.

He returned to the role after his own playing career came to an end in 1969, working with players at the club over two spells until he finally ended a twenty year association with the Grecians in 1972.

On leaving the club, he became a postman in his home town of Crediton. He then worked for the post office in Worthing from 1981.

In 2017/18 Ben Strange spoke to Keith Harvey about some of his First, Best and Worst moments with the club.

First...

...appearance for City

Yes, that match came in 1952 which was in the league. It was against Bristol Rovers in a goalless draw.

...memory of the City fans

They were very good, I didn’t encounter any problems. I used to enjoy playing in the local derbies. In my first match against Bristol, of course, it was a bit of a derby and it had a good atmosphere. The club had a good following with a strong amount of people coming to watch.

...footballing idol

Well, the one I used to like happened to be at Exeter City! A local lad, and he was already at the club when I joined after moving from Plymouth Argyle. Ray Goddard was a very good friend of mine, we got on very well. He taught me a lot of things. Ray was a centre half which was a position that I eventually took over, he could read the game well.

Best...

...friend at the club

He’s sadly passed away now, another long-lasting City player, Arnold Mitchell. He had 15 years with the club, like me, and I had three years as a coach.

...coach you worked under

There’s lots of good ones, and it was always changing over the years. I would probably say Frank Broome, he was very good, he did everything. I wanted to take a coaching course but I didn’t get around to do it. Whilst I was there I enjoyed helping out with the coaching staff when I could over three years.

...player you played with

There were so many players and it’s difficult to pick one out. Perhaps, a player that came to us later in my time and that was Alan Banks. He used to play as a forward, he came down from Liverpool and he was a very good player. He had some very good times with club scoring lots.

Worst...

...injury

Well, I broke my leg on two occasions. It was a collision with an opponent, my leg went one way and I went the other. It was unfortunate because it put me out for at least 12 months.

...defeat you’ve been involved in

We had a 5-0 defeat once. I couldn’t tell you who it was against but I can remember the feeling of losing the match. It was a very bad day at the office!

away trip

We did a lot of travelling, we went up north to the likes of Grimsby Town and Workington. They were very long trips.
.
Keith died on 4th October 2018.

Appearances

517

Goals

28

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