John Keeley has decided it’s time to get off the road after 44 years as a player and coach.

And young goalkeepers in Sussex could be among those to benefit.

Keeley is opening his own specialist goalkeeping school at two sites in Worthing.

It is something he planned to do a while ago before the chance to join Paul Cook’s coaching team at Ipswich Town proved too much of a temptation.

Cook was sacked by the Tractor Boys earlier this season and Keeley handed in his notice soon after.

Now it is all systems go as he prepares to work with small groups at Worthing and Worthing Town football clubs from next month.

Keeley said: “I’ve had this in my mind for a long time but I couldn’t resist going back to work with Paul Cook.

“I really enjoyed the season I had with him at Portsmouth.

“He is a very good manager and the guys he brought in with him are great lads.

“I honestly thought we were going to have such a good couple of seasons and then I’d finish.

“But it didn’t go that way.

“Once I had made a decision to pack it in, I just wanted to come home.

“I had spent long enough living away from home, travelling.

“There’s a lot of time sitting in hotels, sitting in the coach.

“After 44 years I think that’s enough!

“I’ve set up a goalkeeping school.

“It will be for up to 16-year-olds but I also want an older group.

“My idea is to have smaller groups, eight in a group.

“They will all get good coaching.

“I’ve seen places where they have 20, 25 kids and that’s not fair.

“I’ll reduce the groups and let my coaching be the judge.

“I’m looking forward to it and we have had good response already through Facebook.”

Keeley will do Monday and Friday evenings at Worthing FC from February 21.

He will coach at Worthing Town FC in Palatine Park on Tuesdays and Thursday.

As part of that link-up, two of the club’s goalkeepers will join each session, effectively making Keeley the Worthing Town goalkeeping coach.

The former Albion goalkeeper has a wealth of experience in the pro game, having coached at the Seagulls, Blackburn and Portsmouth.

He is now doing some work with Harrison Male, the former Leeds youngster who is impressing for Isthmian League leaders Worthing.

The two work together on Thursday nights and in the warm-up to home games.

It turns out Keeley’s last protege at EFL level was an Albion goalkeeper in Christian Walton, who was on loan at Ipswich.

Keeley was delighted to see the 26-year-old impress after a rather unsettling start in which the Tractor Boys lost 5-2 at home to Bolton on his debut.

He said: “I was off with Covid that day but the score could have been ridiculous.

“He made some really good saves.

“It was just one of those things.

“He came in, the team has an absolute nightmare and five goals go in.

“But he recovered and was amazing.

“He has been a really good team player - making saves, taking crosses.

“Just absolutely first class.”

Booking or enquiries for John Keeley’s goalkeeping school can be made via 07592-438471, by emailing johnkeelo1@hotmail.com or HERE via Facebook.

The initial schedule for Worthing FC is as follows.

February 21: 4-5pm 8yrs & 9yrs; 5-6pm 10yrs & 11yrs.

February 25: 4.30-5.30pm 12yrs & 13yrs; 5.30-6.30pm 14yrs & 16yrs.