Gary Kelly (footballer, born 1966)
|Full name||Gary Kelly|
|Date of birth||3 August 1966|
|Place of birth||Preston, England|
|1988||→ Blackpool (loan)||5||(0)|
|1994||→ West Ham (loan)||0||(0)|
|1982–1985||Republic of Ireland U19||19||(0)|
|1985–1989||Republic of Ireland U21||8||(0)|
|1989||Republic of Ireland U23||1||(0)|
|1990||Republic of Ireland B||1||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Kelly began his career as an apprentice with Arthur Cox's Newcastle United in 1982 becoming boot boy to legendary former England captain and European Footballer of the Year Kevin Keegan. Kelly signed professional in 1984 as Jack Charlton took over as manager and as Newcastle United earned promotion to Division 1. Gary went on to win the F.A Youth Cup in 1985 beating Watford 4-1 on aggregate in a Paul Gascoigne inspired Newcastle United. In 1986, Kelly made his senior debut in a 1-0 win against Wimbledon at St James' Park, also going on to win the club's Young Player of the Year Award that season.
Gary made over fifty league appearances for the Magpies which included saving two penalties in one game against Chelsea. He also saved a penalty against Liverpool at Wembley to knock them out of the Football League Centenary Finals in 1988. In October 1988, he went on loan to Blackpool for a month, as stand-in for Barry Siddall.
In 1989, manager Jim Smith sold Kelly to Bury, with whom he spent the next seven years. He made 236 league appearances for the Gigg Lane club in 1990, he reached the play offs for division 2 (Championship) losing 2-0 on aggregate to Tranmere Rovers in the semi final and losing 2-1 on aggregate to Bolton Wanderers in the semi final in 1991. Kelly was voted Bury FC Player of the Year in 1992. In 1993, he reached the division 3 (League 1) play offs losing 1-0 on aggregate to York City in the semi final. He was loaned out to West Ham United in 1994 reaching the quarter final of the FA Cup before losing 3-2 to Luton in a replay and being an unused sub in 16 Premiership games. He did play in the Bobby Moore Testimonial in a 2-1 win over a Premiership select XI at Upton Park.
In 1995, Kelly reached the division 3 (League 1) play off final after beating Preston North End 2-0 on aggregate in the semi final before losing 2-0 to Chesterfield in the final at Wembley Stadium.
Gary was voted into the PFA team of the year by his fellow professionals in 1995 after keeping 23 clean sheets that season. Kelly achieved promotion to League 1 with Bury in 1996.
Oldham Athletic manager, Graeme Sharp, came in for Kelly's services in 1996, and he went on to make 226 league appearances over seven years for the Latics. Gary swept the boards in the clubs Player of the Year awards in 1997.
Gary joined Neil Warnock's Sheffield United in 2003 reaching the semi finals of the FA Cup before losing 1-0 to Arsenal at Old Trafford. He also reached the play offs for the Premier League eventually losing the final 3-0 to Wolves at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff.
Kelly's career wound down with short stints at Conference National clubs Northwich Victoria & Leigh Genesis where he was Player/ Assistant Manager.
At international level Kelly played for the Republic of Ireland national under-19 football team that qualified for the 1983 UEFA European Under-18 Football Championships where despite remaining unbeaten in a group that included eventual winners France they were eliminated. Kelly also played in the 1984 UEFA European Under-18 Football Championships in Russia. Ireland, based in Leningrad, won their group stage before losing the semi final 2-1 against host country Russia in front of a 40,000 crowd in Dynamo Stadium, Moscow. Ireland lost the 3rd place play off 2-1 to Poland in front of a 60,000 crowd at the Lenin Stadium, Moscow. Kelly was voted goalkeeper of the tournament by legendary Russian goalkeeper Lev Yashin.
Ireland's exploits earned them qualification for the 1985 FIFA World Youth Championships in Russia and a first UEFA medal but Kelly was refused permission to be released by his club Newcastle United. Gary played in the first three games of the 1986 UEFA European Under-18 Football Championship qualification campaign, as Ireland topped the group before new UEFA age restrictions ruled him out of the remaining tournament.
Gary made his Under-21 debut in a friendly in 1985 against England at Fratton Park and played in the 1988 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship qualifiers. He also played in the Toulon Tournament in 1989 not conceding in any of his three games including saving a penalty against hosts France B in a 1-0 play off win.
Kelly played at Under 23 level for Ireland in a 3-0 win over Northern Ireland in 1989. He was also selected for Ireland at 'B' level on several occasions playing in a 4-1 win over England in 1990 at Turners Cross, Cork in front of a 10,000 crowd. This remains England's heaviest defeat at 'B' level. Gary was selected to represent the full squad on ten occasions never once tasting defeat. He was on standby for the 1990 and 1994 World Cup Finals as Jack Charlton went with an extra outfield player instead of the regulation three goalkeepers in his 22-man squad. His last selection was for the Euro 2000 Championship Play Off 2nd leg against Turkey in Bursa which Republic of Ireland drew 0-0.
Gary played Masters Football for Newcastle United winning the Northern Masters in 2003 and 2007 where he was voted player of the tournament. He was also runner up in the Dubai Masters in 2006 losing 1-0 to Liverpool in the final. Kelly achieved his UEFA 'A' Coaching Licence and UEFA Goalkeeping licence in 2007.