Our Fellows Park goals hero looks back on his entire career…
Oh Ned! You really should’ve signed for Bayern…
Legend, it ay a coincidence that my eldest daughter is called Kelly
Perhaps he could replace Marcus Stewart?
I never considered the names of Marcus or Stewart for my daughter, nuff said
Like Marcus Stewart, Ned knew where the back of the net was.
I wouldn’t mind him coming back to coach the strikers - without the Billy Davis clause!
OTD in 1986…
Remember that well. Dave Bamber getting pelters. Of course.
34 years ago. Jeez.
Mid table third division and getting nearly 6,000 spectators. The subsequent 34 years have seen the vast majority of other clubs increase their attendances regardless of their league status. Ours have dwindled substantially (25%?) despite the intervening period containing what for many others have been catalysts for a positive step change most notably a ground move.
From the archetypal third division club with second division aspirations to a mid table fourth division club in every respect.
I remember there was an interview with him in Match magazine with him not long after he signed for West Ham. One of the questions was “Biggest Disappointment” and he answered “Not being given a chance by Buckley”
Memories for me of me and Dad making our way round from the Cow Shed through the Street End with a few minutes left for a quick get away, and Kelly getting a late winner from the bench. Probably didn’t happen as much as I remember to be fair. I always thought if he could have just been ready a few seasons earlier to play with that 1983/84 team what they could have achieved. Having someone as deadly as Kelly in a team that creative. Fair enough O’kelly and Ally Brown were great players for us but neither was as prolific as Kelly went on to be,
I remember that 3-0 game at Coventry he talked about. We had lost the first leg 2-1 but that second leg we murdered them. Probably an even better performance that when we beat Arsenal. 3-0 Flattered Coventry. Pretty sure a young Paul Jones played and scored that night too.
I almost always agree with your posts, but I think there is a bit of looking back through rose tinted glasses towards the days at Fellows Park. Rightly so because football was better then for most of us that are old enough to remember, for reasons that have been talked about a thousand times.
Regarding attendances though, I’m not sure they have changed as much as you might believe. The game in question v Swindle, was as mentioned on the back of a good run of results. The average attendance that season was 5,313 up 500 ish from the previous season. The next season which we got promoted almost 5600 which all but a couple of hundred matches up with the 1998/99 Ray Graydon Season. The following season the 16 straight defeats relegation one the average was 6100, where as the Ray Graydon relegation season of 99/2000 was 6,789. Taking in to account that we were in it until the last game with Graydon where as the 1988/89 season we were almost down by February.
I could go on with these examples, if you look at the gates in the 1983/84 season where we got to the Milk Cup semis, okay cup games don’t count towards the average, but we were top of the league or in the top 3 for most of that season and there was one game v Southend I think it was where there was some kind of voucher system for the Liverpool home game and we had a huge gate. Only 5,017 that season. The point I am trying to make is that the gates follow a very similar trend depending on how well we are doing. If we are doing well we can manage between 5 and 6 thousand. Doing okay 4 to 5 thousand, doing really badly and we drop below 4000. I don’t think that has changed much. The Merson seasons being the ones that kind of broke the trend, we had pretty good gates while he was manager for whatever reason.
Sign him up, crowd fund his wages
My point is as much about our relative position as it is about the actual numbers. In 1986 an average crowd of between four and five thousand was right in the upper echelons of the third division.
Now,the same crowds are very fourth division.
Somehow, most clubs have grown their support base over that time, regardless of playing fortunes. Ours have as you say at best stagnated. When I look at the below, I recall always thinking we would always have bigger crowds than the likes of Doncaster, Lincoln, Rotherham and Shrewsbury. I was sadly wrong.
Yeah you have to hand it to those clubs, they have come on a bundle. Lincoln have had their struggles mind. Rotherham being the stand out one I think, they really have progressed to another level. The irony of Bonser’s infamous outburst still not lost.
It does feel an awful long way back for us at this moment in time.
Thing is there will always be a Rotherham, Bournemouth or Luton. Today it would be Stockport, Notts County and Chesterfield. People go “well, at least we are not them”. But even they, for all their woes in the case of Notts get around the same and the other two get even more fans than they did all those years ago. And per the examples of Shrewsbury, Lincoln, Doncaster a trip down there can act as a bit of a slingshot because it requires some serious soul searching of what you are about and why you exist at all.
Then you get the “giants next door” being a barrier. Firstly, we’re talking about clubs that are big but not giants and secondly the likes of Tranmere and Rotherham seem to have grown nicely in the shadows of their own giants.
The failure in leadership at our place has been the failure to capitalise on the rare waves of opportunity. The ground move, the second division years, Millenium and Wembley. At least one of those things have seen the clubs who have passed us seeing the opportunity and grabbing it with both hands. Even Wolves, who’s attendances during the mid 80’s are always worth a look, will point to the Sherpa Van trophy final as a catalyst. Lincoln had a cup run and a couple of promotions. Shrewsbury and Donny are like different clubs since they moved.
Surely there is something wrong with Wolves attendances in div4 85-86 I’ve met that many Wolves fans that were there then
Ned Kelly is one of the best players I have ever seen in a Walsall shirt.
Would be in my best 11 of players since 1970.
Great partnership with Christie and Nicky Cross.
I remember us losing 4 or 5-1 at Wigan one midweek and he stood out.
The aforementioned Coventry cup tie 3-0 (yes Paul Jones did score).
The back heal against Notts County in the play off semis.
A brilliant player, shame he was sold following our promotion to the 1st Division.
I find that the wolves fans either go quiet or quickly change the subject when there 80s attendances are mentioned.
One of the greatest goals ever, not just for Walsall. Most ‘great’ goals usually have one or two identical copies somewhere else in footballing history, but I can not think of a similar goal to that one by anyone else.
The commentary on one of the video clip claims “Kelly scored a complete fluke” when you see quite clearly he looks straight towards the goal after he did it. You are quite right piece of genius.
Brian Taylor on his debut against (I think) Port Vale in 1971 or 1972 was very similar. Bernie Wright’s debut too if I remember right he got the other one in a 2-0 win.