Keith Armstrong (footballer)

Keith Thomas Armstrong[1] (born 11 October 1957) is a former footballer who played in the Football League for Sunderland, Newport County and Scunthorpe United,[2] and in Finland for a number of clubs, where he also coached.

Keith Armstrong
Keith Armstrong 2015.jpg
Personal information
Full name Keith Thomas Armstrong
Date of birth (1957-10-11) 11 October 1957 (age 63)
Place of birth Corbridge, Northumberland, England
Playing position(s) Winger
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1977–1978 Sunderland 11 (0)
1978 Newport County 4 (0)
1978 Scunthorpe United 0 (0)
1978–1981 Oulun Palloseura 57 (20)
1982 Koparit 14 (1)
1983 Oulun Palloseura 28 (6)
1984 FC Kuusysi 21 (12)
1985 Kokkolan Palloveikot 21 (2)
1986 Kemin Palloseura 18 (2)
1987–1988 Vasa IFK (11)
1989–1990 TP-Seinäjoki 23 (8)
1990 IFK Mariehamn (3)
1991–1992 Rovaniemen Palloseura (39)
Teams managed
1993–1994 Rovaniemen Palloseura
1995–1996 TP-Seinäjoki
1997–2001 FC Haka
2002–2007 HJK
2015 Ilves
2017–2018 FC Haka
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Born in England, Armstrong became a naturalised Finn in the early 1990s,[3] and enjoyed a long and successful coaching career in Finland with Rovaniemen Palloseura, TP-Seinäjoki, FC Haka and most recently HJK Helsinki. Armstrong is one of the most successful football managers in the Finnish league, having won five Veikkausliiga championships, two Finnish Cups, and two Manager of the Year awards.


Armstrong was born in Corbridge, Northumberland.[1] He began his football career as an apprentice with Sunderland, making his debut in the Second Division on 4 October 1977 as a substitute in a 1–1 draw at home to Cardiff City. He played regularly at the end of the 1977–78 season, and during the following season spent time on loan to Newport County and Scunthorpe United before being released.[2][4] He joined Newcastle United, but was promptly loaned out to the Finnish club Oulun Palloseura (OPS).[5] He played with OPS for two years, before moving to Koparit in Kuopio. Subsequently, he played in nine different clubs around Finland, appearing in 179 league matches, scoring 60 goals, and winning three championships (with OPS in 1979 and 1980 and with Kuusysi in 1984).

In 1993, at the age of 35, he retired from playing professional football and started out as the manager of his then club Rovaniemen Palloseura (RoPS). For the 1995 season, he moved to Seinäjoki and took the local club, TP-Seinäjoki into the Veikkausliiga. In 1997, he was offered a post at FC Haka, which he accepted, getting the club promoted from the second tier and winning three league championships in a row with the Valkeakoski team.[5] He received the Manager of the Year award in 2000, after Haka's second subsequent title.

In late 2001, he was signed by HJK, propelling the team to a league championship in 2002 and a league and cup double in 2003. In 2004, however, the club finished in mid-table.[5] In 2006 Armstrong received his second Manager of the Year award and led HJK to second place in the league. He was sacked in September 2007.[3]

He also works for Finnish television as a football pundit and studio commentator for Canal+ Scandinavia. Armstrong was part of Finland national football team's ex-manager Stuart Baxter's staff, working as scout.[3]

After working as sporting director of SJK for two years, on 24 October 2014 Armstrong was appointed as the new manager of Ilves Tampere for the upcoming season.[6] On 4 October 2015, Armstrong missed Ilves' match against SJK to present MTV3's Premier League coverage.[7] Two days later, on 7 October 2015, Armstrong was sacked by Ilves.[8]


  1. ^ a b "On This Day October". Sunderland A.F.C. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Sunderland : 1946/47 – 2008/09". UK A–Z Transfers. Neil Brown. Retrieved 31 December 2009.
  3. ^ a b c Peltola, Pasi (5 January 2005). "HJK sack manager Keith Armstrong". Helsingin Sanomat International Edition. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
  4. ^ "Player Details Keith Armstrong". The Stat Cat. Archived from the original on 30 September 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
  5. ^ a b c Peltola, Pasi (5 January 2005). "A very Geordie Finn". Helsingin Sanomat International Edition. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
  6. ^ "Keith Armstrong Ilveksen valmentajaksi". Suomen Palloliitto. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  7. ^ "Lex Hollo: Peli kovenee - kumpi valehtelee, Ilves vai Keke Armstrong?". (in Finnish). 8 October 2015. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  8. ^ "ILVES KIITTÄÄ ARMSTRONGIA HYVIN TEHDYSTÄ TYÖSTÄ". (in Finnish). FC Ilves. 7 October 2015. Archived from the original on 15 October 2015. Retrieved 7 October 2015.

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