|Full name||Kevin Smith Drinkell|
|Date of birth||18 June 1960|
|Place of birth||Grimsby, England|
|Playing position||Centre forward|
|1991||→ Birmingham City (loan)||5||(2)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Kevin Smith Drinkell (born 18 June 1960) is an English former professional footballer and football manager. He was a striker, noted for his aerial ability and the number of headed goals he scored as a result.
Drinkell began his career with hometown club Grimsby Town where he scored 89 goals in 272 games. His goals got him noticed by other clubs and in 1985 Norwich City manager Ken Brown signed him for a fee of £90,000. Norwich were rebuilding their squad after relegation from the first division and had looked set to sign striker Trevor Senior from Reading, however when he opted to stay with the Royals they turned their attention to Drinkell. The fee was set by a Football League tribunal and the figure angered Grimsby, who considered his value to be much higher.
Drinkell quickly proved that Norwich had indeed got a bargain. In his first season at Carrow Road he scored 22 league goals as Norwich won the Second Division championship. With Norwich being Football League Cup holders, Drinkell would also have experienced UEFA Cup action that season had it not been for the ban on English clubs in European competitions arising from the Heysel disaster in May 1985.
It won him the Golden Boot for being the division's top scorer as well as the first of two consecutive Norwich City player of the year awards. His goalscoring form continued in the First Division. His most memorable goal for Norwich – by popular consensus among supporters – came in a match against Liverpool on 11 April 1987 at Carrow Road. Liverpool were reigning league champions and were looking to regain the title. The score was 1–1 late in the game, when Drinkell picked up the ball at the edge of the area and hit a fierce shot from a difficult angle past Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar. It ended one of the most famous statistics in football, as it was the first time that Liverpool had lost a league match in which Ian Rush had scored. Norwich finished fifth that season, but Drinkell and his colleagues were once again denied the chance of UEFA Cup action, as UEFA voted for the ban on English clubs in European competitions to continue for at least another season. He added a further 12 league goals in 1987–88, though Norwich finished in the bottom half of the table this time – a decline in form which had seen manager Ken Brown dismissed in favour of coach Dave Stringer in December 1987.
In total, Drinkell scored 57 goals in 150 games for Norwich.
Drinkell's exploits earned him a £600,000 move to Rangers, who signed him ahead of Tottenham Hotspur in the 1988 close season. He won Scottish League Championship and Scottish League Cup medals at Ibrox, but lost his place to new signing Mo Johnston for the 1989–90 season and played just four more games for Rangers before his return to England in October 1989 when he signed for Coventry City.
Despite scoring on his debut against his hometown team, Grimsby, in the Football League Cup, his goalscoring form deserted him at Highfield Road (he failed to score in any of his 15 league appearances in the 1990–91 season, and after a short loan spell with Birmingham City in the autumn of 1991 he began his coaching career in Scotland with Falkirk. He coached and managed Stirling Albion before becoming Montrose manager in 1998.
In 2002, Norwich City fans voted Drinkell an inaugural member of the Norwich City F.C. Hall of Fame.
Drinkell is now the assistant manager at Scottish second division side East Fife FC.
- Division Four Runners up, Promoted: 1979
- Division Three Championship winner 1980
- Supporters Player of the Year 1983
- Supporters Young Player of the Year 1977
- Division Two Championship winner (promoted 1986)
- Norwich City Player of the Year 1985–1986 & 1986–1987
- Inaugural member of Norwich City F.C. Hall of Fame, 2002
- Scottish Premier League Championship 1988–89
- Scottish League Cup 1988–89
- Division One Championship Winner (promoted 1994) 1993/94
- B&Q Cup Winners 1993
- Drinkell, Kevin. "Drinks All Round: The Autobiography: Kevin Drinkell ISBN 978-1-84502-327-0 – Books – Biography & True Stories – Biography: general – Biography: sport – Autobiography: sport". HistoryDirect. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
- "Tribunal to judge Fenlon gesture". The Scotsman. Johnston Press. 30 May 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
- Canary Citizens by Mark Davage, John Eastwood, Kevin Platt, published by Jarrold Publishing, (2001), ISBN 0-7117-2020-7
- Kevin Drinkell career statistics at Soccerbase – Lacking information at present (17 July 2006)
- electronicfishcake.com – Grimsby player profile
- sporting-heroes.net – Rangers player profile
- ex-canaries.co.uk – Norwich City player profile