|Tuesday, 29 July 2008 20:18|
VALE JIMMY KELLY
The following article was written by Greg Stock.
One of Australia's former National Team coaches has died. Jimmy Kelly, who coached the Socceroos in 1964 passed away on August 10th after a brief illness. Born in Morpeth, England on August 11, 1931, he played his junior football with Blyth Spartans before signing professional terms with Watford in March 1949. He made 119 appearances as a Wing Half before transfering to Blackpool in October 1954, going onto make 198 apps with the famous team which included the late Sir Stanley Matthews.
Kelly got his first taste of Australia in 1957, when he toured with the Blackpool team, deciding to accept an offer to come here as coach of South Coast United for season 1961. His major triumph as player/coach he guided SCU to a Grand Final win against APIA in 1963, in front of a then record crowd of 30,158 at the Sydney Sports Ground. After 85 league appearances over 4 seasons, he returned to England at the end of the 1965 season to take over as manager of Workington, and promptly recruited a young unknown named Max Tolson who played two seasons there. Kelly returned in 1968 for one final year in charge at SCU, making 8 league appearances, before returning to England and a career as a Financial Adviser.
Kelly was appointed National Coach in 1964 and oversaw preparations for the two game series against the touring English club side Everton. Both matches marked the return of the Socceroos from the international footballing wilderness after the FIFA suspension had been rescinded. In both matches Australia were soundly beaten 2-8 in Melbourne and 1-5 in Sydney, but the encouraging factor was the crowd support of 32,453 and 40,000 in the two respective games.