Ken MONKOU

Ken Monkou - Chelsea FC - Biography of his football career at Chelsea.

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 01 March 1990

Click on image to enlarge

    • POSITION
      Central Defender
    • DATE OF BIRTH
      Sunday, 29 November 1964
    • PLACE OF BIRTH
      Nickerie, Suriname.
  • CLUBS
  • Chelsea FC
    • Club Career Dates
      1989-1992
    • League Debut
      Monday, 1st May 1989 as a sub in a 2-1 win at home to Stoke City (Aged: 24)
    • Club Career
      92 League apps (+2 as sub), 2 goals
  • Southampton FC
    • Club Career Dates
      1992-1999
    • League Debut
      Monday, 24th August 1992 in a 1-0 defeat at home to Manchester United (Aged: 27)
    • Club Career
      190 League apps (+8 as sub), 10 goals
  • Huddersfield Town
    • Club Career Dates
      1991-2001
    • League Debut
      28th. August 1999 in 7-1 home win over Crystal Palace.
    • Club Career
      Played 21 games. scored 1 goal.
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Ken MONKOU - Chelsea FC - Biography of his football career at Chelsea.

 

Ask a supporter of any other club to name the first Dutch player to have been crowned Chelsea's Player of the Year and it is almost certain that Ruud Gullit will be the most likely name offered. Indeed the immaculate Gullit did win the accolade at the end of his first Stamford Bridge campaign, 1995/96, but you would need to turn the clock back a further six years to find the answer to the question: Ken Monkou. Born in Surinam but raised in Holland, the former male model spent four seasons with Feyenoord before signing for the Blues in March 1989 for a bargain £100, 000 fee. The supporters were keen to see their new foreign signing but were restricted to just fleeting glimpses as Monkou made two substitute appearances in May 1989, the first coming on the opening day of the month as a Chelsea side that had already won the Division Two title sealed a 2-1 victory over Stoke City. The departure of Joe McLaughlin that summer opened the way for 'Super Ken' to make his mark in the team and he took the opportunity with both hands. Campbell preferred to play with five men at the back and the Dutchman slipped in alongside David Lee, with Graham Roberts sitting just behind, as the Stamford Bridge side made an impressive return to the top-flight. Tall and a little ungainly, Monkou was particularly impressive in the air but also relished the opportunity when possible to step out of defence with the ball at his feet. Sadly the latter trait was soon coached out of him by insular managers but he nevertheless embarked on a long and successful career in England.

 

To say that his first season at the Bridge went well would be a gross understatement. He made 34 appearances - scoring once, with a looping header in a 2-2 draw with Southampton - as Chelsea finished fifth in the old Division One, and was a member of the side that won the ZDS Cup at Wembley with a 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough (the photo above was taken during the game). As the season ended he became the first black player to win the club's Player of the Year trophy. Coming just eight years after Chelsea's first black player, Paul Canoville, was booed by a large number of his own supporters when he made his debut, Monkou's award, voted for by the club's supporters, was a huge breakthrough for a club that had worked tirelessly to rid itself of the racist element amongst it's following. The departure of Graham Roberts towards the end of the 1989/90 season had given Ken the opportunity to form a potent partnership with the pragmatic Erland Johnsen in a conventional back four and when the Norwegian fell from favour early in the new campaign, manager Bobby Campbell called on powerfully-built youngster Jason Cundy to play alongside Monkou. Sadly for Ken his season was interrupted by injuries, but two man-of-the-match performances in 3-2 league victories over Manchester United at both Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge gave him something to take from a frustrating campaign. The fact that it was his towering header that proved to be the winner in the second of those victories over United made it all the sweeter. (Kelvin Barker)

 

 

 Ken Monkou pictured playing for Chelsea on 21st September 1991.  Photo G. Herringshaw.  ©

 

 Bobby Campbell was replaced in the managerial hot-seat by Ian Porterfield in the summer of 1991 and the Scotsman was quick to snap up Celtic's majestic centre-half, Paul Elliott, in time for the new season. The Chelsea supporters relished the prospect of a Monkou/Elliott defensive partnership but sadly it was to prove a disappointment. The two big men began the season together but the Chelsea defence shipped goals regularly throughout the first two months of the season culminating in a four-match spell which saw the Blues concede ten goals, including three second-half goals at Highbury as Chelsea squandered a two-goal half-time lead to Arsenal, and three more as Tranmere dumped them out of the League Cup. Jason Cundy was recalled to play alongside Elliott in place of Ken for three games and the Blues kept clean sheets in all three. Monkou replaced the injured Cundy for the next match but Chelsea crumbled to a 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Norwich City. Cundy spent six weeks on the sidelines but once he regained fitness he was immediately thrust back into the side alongside Elliott, and Monkou was again the one to miss out.

 

An experiment of playing the Dutchman at left-back in place of the recently-departed Tommy Boyd lasted precisely 66 minutes, and it was only after Porterfield took the astonishing decision to sell Cundy on transfer deadline day in March 1992 that Ken returned to the side. Chelsea's final seven matches of the campaign yielded just eight points and the last match of that season, away to Everton, proved to be Monkou's last in the blue shirt. But if Chelsea's season petered out with barely a whimper, Ken's Chelsea career ended in uproar as he became the victim of a quite staggering example of refereeing incompetence. Shielding a ball back to keeper Dave Beasant with Peter Beardsley in close attendance, Monkou was the victim of a petulant kick on the calf by the England man. Referee John Deakin, taking charge of his last game before retirement, ignored the kick but when the affable Dutchman tapped Beardsley on the head and wagged a finger in his direction, the official stopped play to show him a red card and, incredibly, award Everton a penalty. Chairman Ken Bates stated afterwards that the referee 'went out in a wave of mediocrity'. He also went out in a wave of newspaper headlines, which was probably his intention. Ken Monkou, for his part, went out of the Stamford Bridge revolving door that summer when he joined Southampton for £750,000. (Kelvin Barker)