Legendary Town player managed our friendly opponents.
- Huddersfield Town vs SC Heerenveen on Saturday 29 July 2023
- Tickets still available online – buy in advance!
- Town player Bob Kelly went on to manage the Dutch side
There are not many historical links between Huddersfield Town and Saturday’s pre-season friendly opponents, Dutch side SC Heerenveen – but there is one surprising tale!
Bob Kelly was one of several great players to feature for Town when they were one of world football’s true powerhouses. Although he arrived at the club just after the mighty ‘Thrice Champions’ team of the early and mid-twenties, he was still a formidable forward, and was named in the 100 ‘Fans Favourites’ book produced by the club in the 2008 Centenary year.
His six-year spell at Town was only a chapter in his 600+ game career, and he had already achieved legendary status at Burnley – and impressed for Sunderland – before moving to Town from the North East in 1927.
Bob quickly impressed, becoming our first ever player to net a hat-trick on his debut for the club. Alongside Town’s greatest ever goalscorer, George ‘Bomber’ Brown, they drove the team on to the 1928 FA Cup Final, only to fall at the final hurdle – echoing what happened in the league that year too.
Town and Kelly reached another cup final and further impressive league finishes under Clem Stephenson’s management as the thirties came.
Bob eventually left Town for Preston North End in 1932, having scored 42 goals in 213 league and cup games.
However, his career in management was just as colourful and impressive. Having moved to the dugout at his final playing club, Carlisle United, in 1935, a spell at Stockport County preceded unlikely management spells at Portuguese side Sporting CP and Swiss side St Gallen.
Next on his travels? Becoming manager of SV Heerenveen in 1951!
Now 57, Bob was appointed by the board after an eight-game losing streak had put paid to the previous incumbent. Things weren’t easy for Bob, with the KNVB bringing together the leagues into a national format having been previously regionalised for the 1951/52 campaign. Heerenveen struggled to compete with the sides from the west of the Netherlands and, although they finished high in the league early on, Kelly left in the autumn of 1955 after failing to keep the club in the top division.
Kelly stayed in the country and managed AZ Alkmaar before finishing his managerial career in Wales at Barry Town.
Avoid the queues at the Ticket Office and get your ticket for Saturday’s pre-season friendly against SC Heerenveen online now – click HERE!