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CCF Rebooted No.16 - Jake Kean
Wednesday, 15th Sep 2021 10:11 by AtThePeake

So we move into the glory of the 2011/2012 relegation season with the CCF reboot, starting with Dale's loanee goalkeeper in the early stages of that season, Jake Kean.

Position: Goalkeeper

Arrived from: Blackburn Rovers (loan)

Played : 2011

Appearances : 14

Goals : 0

Left for: Blackburn Rovers (end of loan)

Although it's hard to remember in the context of what would come next, there was a cautious sense of optimism surrounding Spotland when Steve Eyre replaced Keith Hill in the summer of 2011.

Of course, in hindsight, the manager that had finally taken the club into League One before leading it to a record-high finish leaving for Barnsley was always likely to have a negative effect, but the PR surrounding Eyre's arrival was very positive and the transfer business done by the club that summer did get tongues wagging.

One such bit of business was the loan signing of Jake Kean from Blackburn Rovers, who'd earned rave reviews during a 19 game loan spell at Hartlepool United the previous season.

In reality, Kean looked shaky throughout that spell, lacking in confidence despite his impressive stature and failing to save efforts at goal that wouldn't have caused any problems for previous loanee stoppers.

While not the worst signing made by Eyre that summer, he lasted only until late October before injury forced him out of the starting XI and he was unable to regain his starting berth once the experienced David Lucas had deputised for him between the sticks.

With just two clean sheets in his 14 appearances, Kean will hardly go down as one of Dale's better loanee keepers and indeed my only real positive memory of him was his excellent time-wasting technique in the 2-4 derby win over Bury, where he repeatedly kept coming to collect crosses before taking an age to fall to the floor and wait for the box to be cleared.

I also seem to remember him arriving with a mop of curly black hair but at one point just before he lost his place in the team, shaving it to the bone! Can anyone confirm or deny this memory?

He returned to his parent club in December and would actually end up being a stable back-up keeper for the Rovers in the Championship in the next two seasons, playing 18 in each of those campaigns before falling out of favour again in 2014/2015.

That season would include loan spells at Yeovil and Oldham, before a switch to Premier League Norwich City in the summer of 2015. However, Kean never made an appearance for the Canaries and again his only football that term came in short loan spells with Colchester United and Swindon Town.

In 2016, Sheffield Wednesday were the latest club to take a chance on Kean, but once again he would fail to make an appearance during a two-season spell at Hillsborough, with Mansfield Town and Grimsby Town the two clubs to take him on loan spells this time around.

After leaving South Yorkshire, Kean made a permanent switch to Field Mill but again only made one appearance and he has since moved to Notts County. Despite being just 30 years old, Kean's main role at Meadow Lane is as goalkeeping coach and although registered as a player, he's never made a league appearance for the club.

While the spell at Dale certainly can't have contributed to the downturn in his reputation since the most consistent spell of his career came in the following two seasons at Blackburn, Kean has played the role of back-up and loanee goalkeeper throughout a stop-start career and will perhaps hope for more consistency as a coach after a nomadic career.

Photo: Action Images

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