Richard Keogh: Derby sacking a ‘devastating blow’ and defender ‘in a really bad way’, his agent tells talkSPORT

4 Nov

Richard Keogh’s agent has opened up on the defender’s heartbreak after he was sacked by Derby County.

In an exclusive interview with talkSPORT, Cos Toffis said his client is ‘hurting’ and ‘in a really bad way’ after being axed by the club he served for seven years.

Keogh had his contract terminated by the Rams last week over his role in the drink-driving storm that rocked the Championship club – and their decision has drawn plenty of criticism.

The club captain was a back-seat passenger in the Range Rover driven by team-mate Tom Lawrence that crashed into a lamppost after a night out on September 24.

The crash left the 33-year-old with a serious knee injury which required surgery and is expected to rule him out for as long as 15 months.

Keogh was sacked last week with a Derby statement referencing ‘gross misconduct’
Getty Images – Getty

But he has now been left without a club and without the medical care he would have received at Derby as he battles back to fitness.

And, speaking to talkSPORT host Jim White, his agent Toffis said on Monday: “Richard is in a really bad way, it’s heartbreaking.

“I don’t think I can put into words how much he’s hurting and what his family are going through. Richard’s world has been absolutely rocked.”

Keogh, who has been at Derby since 2012 and played 356 games for the Rams, had 18 months to run on his £25,000-a-week deal.

And Toffis says he was ‘shocked’ Derby have ‘kicked him to the kerb’, saying his loyalty to the club and role in the Derby ‘family’ should have been taken much more into account.

“I was absolutely shocked that Derby sacked him,” he said.

“It was something we were paranoid about but at no point did we think it was going to happen.

“It was a devastating blow. It’s a decision I wish they didn’t take.


 

“Richard was family at Derby. He played 356 games for the club and whenever a player commits to a club the way Richard has, you become family. He will be in the Derby County family for the rest of his life; there won’t be many players who will play that many games over the next 50 or 60 years for one club.

“When players show that immense loyalty, dedication and commitment to a football club… he’s given everything to Derby. He’s only missed a handful of games, he’s fought in that shirt, he’s bled in that shirt, he’s cried in that shirt.

“He loves Derby County and he’s got an exceptional relationship with fans and the staff. He hasn’t even been able to go in to say goodbye to the staff.

“To be kicked to the kerb is a really difficult pill to swallow.”

The question that now remains is whether Keogh will play again.

When he completes his rehabilitation, which Toffis says could take place at the FA’s St George’s Park training centre, the experienced defender will be 34.

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But his agent has no doubts he will be back on the pitch, and reveals that they have been told by medical staff that Keogh is already ahead in his recovery.

“Will Richard play again? One million per cent,” he added.

“He is the most determined character I’ve come across in my life, and anyone who has met him will back that up.

“He’s ahead of schedule, so that’s one bit of good news we’ve had over this last week.

“In 12 or 13 months from now he’ll be putting his boots back on and getting back out there.”

Richard Keogh scored 12 goals for Derby from defence
Getty Images

Keogh has appealed Derby’s decision to end his contract, and it has been suggested there could be reconciliation between the player and club and he could play for the Rams again.

However, Toffis has suggested the club have burned their bridges.

“The decision was made by them and they closed that door when they made that decision.

“Since that decision had been made my phone hasn’t rung. If they ring I will answer and there will be a conversation, of course.

“But I’m not sure where we go from here.

“There’s an appeal process and we’ll have to get through that and deal with everything from there.”

Should Keogh lose his appeal, Toffis warns it could set a dangerous precedent for the game.

He added: “I think it could be quite a big can of worms. If this goes in Derby’s favour there will be a lot of players in difficult positions at their football clubs.

“Older players with less market value who are on a lot of money, these are scenarios you have at every football club in the world.

“Should they start wrapping themselves up in cotton wool to avoid any situations like this?”

Listen to the full interview with Richard Keogh’s agent, Cos Toffis, IN FULL above

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