Hughie Kelly

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Hughie Kelly
Personal information
Full name Hugh Thomas Kelly
Date of birth (1923-07-23)23 July 1923
Place of birth Valleyfield, Scotland
Date of death 28 March 2009(2009-03-28) (aged 85)
Place of death Lytham St Annes, England
Playing position Defender
Youth career
19??-1943 Jeanfield Swifts
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1943–1960 Blackpool 428 (8)
National team
195? Scotland B 2 (0)
1952 Scotland 1 (0)
Teams managed
1961–1963 Ashton United (player-manager)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (Goals).

Hugh Thomas "Hughie" Kelly (23 July 1923 – 28 March 2009) was a Scottish professional football player and manager. He played as a defender and spent his entire 14-year professional career with Blackpool.

Club career[edit]

Born in Valleyfield, Fife, Kelly began his career with Perth-based junior club Jeanfield Swifts. He joined English club Blackpool in 1943 as a 20-year-old, but due to the ongoing World War II, he didn't make his League debut for the Seasiders until September 1946. During the war, he guested for several clubs, including East Fife.

It took some time for Kelly to establish himself in Blackpool's half-back line, but by 1948–49, the trio of Harry Johnston, Eric Hayward and Kelly was becoming legendary. He played in both the 1948 and 1951 FA Cup Finals. However, in the final home league game of the 1952–53 season against Liverpool he suffered a broken ankle following a tackle by centre-forward Louis Bimpson and he missed the famous 1953 match-up with Bolton Wanderers, although the club asked the Football Association to produce a special winners' medal for his nomination as "twelfth man". Kelly later said, "I lived a great journey to Wembley. That's what fascinated me. And it was a privilege to know such a good crowd of players. They were lovely. Even though we'd lost the other two, it was great to have played on the sacred turf at Wembley and I have fond memories."[1]

The 1950s was the most successful decade in Blackpool's history to date, and Kelly was at the club playing top division football throughout, as were goalkeeper George Farm, defender Tommy Garrett, right winger Stanley Matthews, forward Jackie Mudie and outside left Bill Perry.

In 1955–56 he took over as Blackpool skipper from Johnston and helped the club to their highest-ever league finish, runners-up to Manchester United. He remained club captain until his retirement from the professional game in 1960. At the end of 1959–60 he was given a free transfer, and Lancashire Combination side Ashton United came in for his services as their player-manager.[1]

International career[edit]

Kelly won one cap for Scotland, in a 6–0 victory over the United States on 30 April 1952. He also appeared twice for Scotland B.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Kelly was married in 1949 and had three daughters. After retiring he remained in Blackpool and was later on the backroom staff at Bloomfield Road. He also started a business in the North Shore area of the town as a grocer and ice-cream manufacturer. After a short illness in 2008, Kelly underwent an emergency operation in Victoria Hospital on 14 February 2009. He then contracted pneumonia and died in Clifton hospital in Lytham St Annes on 28 March.[1][3] His funeral was held at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, Blackpool, and he was cremated at Carleton Crematorium.[4]


  1. ^ a b c Young, Mike (31 March 2009). "A sad farewell to 'team man' Kelly". Blackpool Gazette. Retrieved 2009-04-01. 
  2. ^ "Hugh Kelly – A Squad". Scottish Football Association. Retrieved 30 March 2009. 
  3. ^ "Sad News". Blackpool F.C. 30 March 2009. Retrieved 30 March 2009. 
  4. ^

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]