Buckingham Town legend dies aged 57

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One of the best goalkeepers to have represented Buckingham Town, Keith Baker, died last Thursday, aged 57, after a long illness.

Baker represented Oxford Schoolboys and England Schoolboys before becoming an apprentice with Oxford United and going on to sign professional forms with them. Though he did not make a Football League appearance for Oxford, he did make one for Grimsby Town at Gillingham in 1975 while on-loan.

Baker joined Witney Town the following season and was part of their 1977/78 Southern League First Division North Championship winning side.

After playing for Aylesbury United between 1980 and 1987, he moved to Banbury United, where he made 94 appearances and went on to the role of player/coach.

He joined Buckingham Town in 1989, helping them to win the Southern League Southern Division Championship in 1990/91, in a season where he went 972 minutes without conceding a goal.

He then succeeded Phil Lines as manager and led them to the quarter-finals of the FA Vase.

Baker’s manager at Buckingham Town, Phil Lines, said: “Keith Baker was a fantastic ‘keeper and one of the best of his era. He was probably ahead of his time in terms of the way he prepared for games; he was meticulous.

“Keith made such a big difference to the younger players when he came to Banbury and had a big impact.

“When we won the Southern League at Buckingham we went eight games without conceding a goal until the last game of the season and most of that was down to Keith’s performances.

“He was a little bit different from other keepers in that he never went out for a warm-up before games but just sat in the dressing room in his own zone.

“But he always worked hard in training and made sure in every session that he spent 15 minutes kicking.

“He never came for crosses and corners but always told his defenders that anything they missed he would save. And he usually did!”