Gary Kelly: Fans memories of a one club wonder

He was a one club wonder of the modern era.

By Andrew Hutchinson
Sunday, 16th January 2022, 4:30 pm
Gary Kelly jumps over Roberto Carlos of Real Madrid during the Champions League clash at Elland Road in November 2000. PIC: Getty
Gary Kelly jumps over Roberto Carlos of Real Madrid during the Champions League clash at Elland Road in November 2000. PIC: Getty

Gary Kelly remains the only Leeds United player of the post Don Revie era to join the exclusive 500 appearances club.

His distinguished tour of duty featured 531 appearances for the Whites during his 16 years, making him the eighth highest-ever club appearance maker, sandwiched between fellow Irishman and Home Farm product Johnny Giles, in ninth place with 523 appearances and Eddie Gray, who played 561 times for the Whites.

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Gary Kelly leads the singing with the travelling faithful after Leeds United had drawn 1-1 with AC Milan at the San Siro in November 2000. PIC: Varley Picture Agency

That Kelly managed that feat after coming to the club as an aspiring young striker, before being converted to a right-back of some repute, is tribute to his sheer professionalism and dedication and above all dependability.

His milestone 500-up appearance arrived in the second tier, against Luton Town in Leeds’ 2–1 victory at Elland Road on February 25, 2006 - a month or so after he netted his only home goal at LS11 against Wigan Athletic in a midweek FA Cup replay.

Your YEP has asked the Elland Road faithful to share memories of a player who was selected in the Premier League team of the season for the 1993–94 campaign and capped 52 times by the native Republic of Ireland.

Responses included:

Gary Kelly is joined by his children as kick-off approaches for this Leeds United testimonal against Celtic at Elland Road in May 2002. PIC: Getty

MistrustMusic (@mstrstmsc) - "When he came on as a sub in 91/92. (I lived just round corner at the time). Me & loads of other @lufc fans in there just looked up & said "who's he?" First anyone had seen of him! A few years later he became a club legend!"

Rob Baxter (@robbaxter2) - My best memory of Gary Kelly was at the end of the Milan Champions League game away ,when he led the singing of sit down if you hate Man U. What a night!"

NRM (@nrmarwood) - "That volley against Wigan in the Cup. It was an absolute belter."

Phil Hardaker (@philjh1975) - "Used to like a diving header to clear the ball when it was actually on the ground."

Gary Kelly celebrates scoring during the FA Cup third round replay against Wigan Athletic at Elland Road in January 2006. PIC: Getty

Andrew Chamberlain - "True servant to the club and never once saw him let us down."

Pete Marquis - "Was my idol and still is my favorite player for Leeds. I’ve always worn number 2 - played right back. All my usernames are relevant to Gary Kelly! I now coach In the USA and all at my club think he is the best right back to ever grace the green grass (which he is)."

Paul Blakemore - "I was at ER when he hit that fantastic strike to make it 3-3 against Wigan. Amazing noise from a half full ground showed the love and admiration for Gary Kelly!"

Ian Taylor - "My favourite memory of Gary Kelly is away at AC Milan after the game when Kelly led the best example of player/fan interaction I’ve ever seen when players and fans had the best song song ever celebrating getting through to the next stage of the Champions League."

Jonny Brown - "Quality player for Leeds."

Demo Clarke - "Great for club and country. Top man."

Dennis Randall - "A career that started as a striker and converted to become one of the best right backs in the Premier League. And a top bloke as well."

Craig Teasdale - "Played many great games for us. But leading the singing at the end of the game in the San Siro."

Tarquin Farquarson - "Got to be in the San Siro when he led the singing."

Rayg Krayney - "Went to his testimonial against Celtic, when I was a kid at ER, with my late uncle. Came out and chatted with everyone afterwards, top bloke."

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