Leeds United F.C. History
Leeds United F.C. History : Foreword
1919-29 - The Twenties
1930-39 - The Thirties
1939-46 - The War Years
1947-49 - Post War Depression
1949-57 - The Reign of King John
1957-63 - From Charles to Revie
1961-75 - The Revie Years
1975-82 - The Downward Spiral
1982-88 - The Dark Years
1988-96 - The Wilko Years
1996-04 - The Rollercoaster Ride
2004-17 - Down Among The Deadmen
100 Greatest LUFC Players Ever
Greatest Leeds United Games
Players' Profiles
Managers' Profiles
Leeds City F.C. History
Leeds City F.C. Player and Manager Profiles
Leeds United/City Statistics
Leeds United/City Captains
Leeds United/City Friendlies and Other Games
Leeds United/City Reserves and Other Teams

Kelly: Gary Oliver (Gary)

1991-2006 (Leeds Player Details) (Player Details)

Right Back

Born: Drogheda, Republic of Ireland: 09-07-1974

Debut: v Scunthorpe United (h) (substitute): 08-10-1991

58 10st 12lb (1983)

#44 in 100 Greatest LUFC Players Ever

From struggling Reserve-team front man to World Cup Full-Back. That was the remarkable rise of Gary Kelly in 1993-94. The uncle of Ian Harte, he was the youngest in a family of thirteen, he was signed in July 1991 from Home Farm, the Dublin club that had produced so many Irish Stars over the years, Johnny Giles among them. He was a striker in the juniors when he was pitched into first-team action as a seventeen-year-old substitute winger in a League Cup-tie against Scunthorpe United, having had only fifteen minutes of reserve-team football under his belt. Apart from brief substitute appearances, he did not re-emerge until the start of the 1993-94 season when Howard Wilkinson, recognizing his potential as a wing back, fielded him at right-back on the opening day at Manchester City. With Mel Sterland out of the picture Kelly made the Number Two shirt his own with a series of superb displays, his blinding speed and tenacity making him a daunting opponent for any winger. He had, however, been called up to the Republic of Ireland Under-Twenty-One side and made his debut for them, firstly as a substitute in a 1-2 defeat by Spain at Jerez on 17th November 1992 in a European Championship Qualifier, and then made his full debut in Dublin in a 0-1 defeat by Germany in the same competition on 9th March 1993. These were quickly followed by three more games in the same competition as the Irish went down 0-8 to Germany in the reverse fixture at Baunatal on 23rd March, managed a 1-1 draw with Albania in Tirana on 26th May and his fifth and final cap came on 12th October when Spain beat them 0-2 in Drogheda. He matured so rapidly that Jack Charlton awarded him his first full Eire Cap against Russia in March 1994 and within months was on his way to the World Cup Finals in the United States. Ever-present for two successive seasons he amassed one hundred and eighteen consecutive games, before an International call-up caused him to miss a game, he had still not scored for Leeds, but had managed to find the mark at international level, netting in a 2-0 win in Hannover against Germany. It was not until the 1996-97 season that Kelly found the net for United and then he did it twice in two months for his only League goals of his career, as he netted at Southampton in a 2-0 win on 23rd November 1996 and then at West Ham United on 21st January 1997. He did get two goals in the F.A. Cup, but towards the end of his career. He opened the scoring in the thirty-third minute in a 2-1 win at Selhurst Park against Crystal Palace on 16th February 2003His final Leeds goal and his only one in front of the fans at Elland Road came five minutes from the end of extra-time in a 3-3 draw at home to Wigan Athletic in a televised Third Round Replay on 17th January 2006, when United went out 2-4 on penalties after Kelly had made it 3-3. The season of 1998-99 was a bad one for Kelly as he never featured in a game after shin splint problems occurred in the pre-season games. Having overcome the shin problem, at the start of 1999-2000, he found that there was no place for him in the starting line-up, as the newly-arrived Danny Mills was being given his chance. Mills started well, but then had a couple of poor games, and so Kelly was finally given the chance to restart his career. He was gave his usual solid performances, but had lost some of the pace he used to have. He countered that by using his experience to out-think opponents. His crossing and distribution improved, but at a time when the Leeds central defence was unsettled, communication seemed to sometimes break down. Eventually he silenced any critics by once again making the right back role his own. Another injury in 2000-01 gave Danny Mills the chance to reclaim a place in the starting line-up with the result that Kelly was back on the bench or only taking up the right-back slot when Mills was switched to the centre of the defence. In 2001-02, Danny Mills was clearly the first choice right back, and the Irishman found himself on the bench once more. However, Leeds suffered yet another injury crisis and that gave him the chance to come back into the side in midfield, where he played well and improved his crossing ability. Danny Mills ran into suspension due to his unstable temperament and Kelly re-establish himself in the first team while Mills sat on the sidelines, and his performances did enough to convince Mick McCarthy to pick him for the World Cup where he performanced well. He was awarded a testimonial in 2001-02, and he was widely praised for donating the proceeds of the match against Celtic to cancer charities, a cause close to his heart following the untimely death of his sister from the disease. Summer 2002 saw him linked with several clubs, Celtic and Sunderland among them, but he remained at Elland Road and fought to get back into the starting line-up. He played his fiftieth game fore the Republic on 16th June 2002 in a World Cup Final stages loss by 2 penalties to three, after it had been 1-1 at the end of extra-time against Spain in Suwon, and his final cap came on 16th October 2002 in Dublin in a 1-2 defeat by Switzerland in a European Championship Qualifier. Kelly had won fifty-two international caps playing for the Republic of Ireland, from forty-three starts and nine games as a substitute, before his retirement from international football. He represented his country at both the 1994 and 2002 World Cups and also played at Schoolboy and Youth level as well as making five appearances for the Under-Twenty-One team and one for the Under-Eighteens. With the injuries and player sales in 2002-03, Danny Mills was forced to fill in at centre back on occasion, so Kelly operated at right back once more, as well as sometimes playing on the right side of midfield. He was also only the tenth player to ever make over five hundred appearances for Leeds United, achieving the feat against Luton Town in Leeds' 2-1 victory at Elland Road on 25th February 2006. He is the only player from the non-Revie era to reach that milestone. Kelly played regularly in the first half of his sixteenth season at Elland Road, and with his high wage contract expiring at the end of the season, this became a point for argument. On 26th October 2006, new Leeds manager Dennis Wise revealed Shaun Derry was replacing Kelly as vice captain, ending Kelly's long reign in that position. After sixteen years of loyal service to the club, a presentation of a crystal cut vase was made to Kelly at the last home game of the 2006-07 season by other Leeds United legends of the past Paul Reaney, Allan Clarke, Mick Jones, and Frank Worthington. He retired at the end of the season, aged thirty-two.

AppearancesGoals
League 419/112
F.A. Cup 31/12
League Cup 28/20
Europe 35/10
Play-Off Finals 30