FOOTBALLING royalty came to the County Ground as fans grabbed their chance to meet former England captain Kevin Keegan, writes Reece Chaplin.

'King Kev', as he was known by adoring supporters at Newcastle United, thrilled an audience of hundreds with his tales of management, rejection, playing in Germany and his famous televised 'I love it' rant at Sir Alex Ferguson in 1996.

Keegan, 68, started the evening by telling the crowd how he had first played at the home of Swindon Town 50 years ago and paid homage to club legend Don Rogers.

He quickly had the room in stitches when he showed some of his old adverts and haircuts – and even he couldn’t deny he has made some ‘dodgy’ choices over the years.

The ex-Liverpool forward, who went on to manage Fulham, Manchester City Newcastle and England, discussed growing up and his dream of wanting to play for his boyhood team Doncaster Rovers. But because of Kevin’s height, his dad Joe said he would be better suited as a jockey.

A young Keegan got his first taste of success in the game when he was invited for trial by then Coventry City manager Jimmy Hill, who picked him out as one of only two from more than 60 youngsters.

He opened up about how there were only a couple of people who has inspired him in his life – his dad and ex-Liverpool boss Bob Paisley OBE.

The twice-crowned European Footballer of the Year received a heart-warming ovation from the crowd and couldn’t leave without passing on some wise words of wisdom: “In life you need rejection, and then you will see how much you really want it.”

Former Swindon footballing great Phil King hosted the event and will welcome another Liverpool legend, Graham Souness, to the town later this year.