Beverley born goalkeeper Gavin Kelly came through the apprentice ranks at Hull City in the mid 1980s and made his first team debut in a Tuesday night Full Members’ Cup fixture in faraway Charlton, which went to a penalty shoot-out that saw City finish second. Ten months later in September 1988 Gavin deputised for Tony Norman in a league match at Oldham, a 2-2 draw, which bought to an end the Welshman’s record-breaking run of 226 successive league appearances that extended back to 1983. By the 1989/90 season Norman was gone and City’s first choice keeper was the erratic Iain Hesford. Gavin had already deputised twice for Hesford at the end of the 1988/89 season and in September and October 1989 Kelly played 9 consecutive matches after Hesford was left injured (and red-faced) after a 4-5 defeat at Bournemouth. Colin Appleton’s Tigers were a mess and though no blame can be laid at the young netminder’s door, they failed to win any of nine games Kelly spent between the sticks, Hesford returned from injury in early October and Kelly never appeared for the City first XI again, leaving the club in the 1990 close season.
Kelly spent the next four seasons at Bristol Rovers, mostly as second choice keeper though in 1992/93 season he did make 21 starts. In August 1994 he returned to the East Coast and signed for Scarborough, in two seasons with the Seadogs he made 39 appearances and was first choice netminder for much of the 1994/95 season.
Between June 1996 and August 1997 Gavin tried his hand overseas, joining Hong Kong side Golden. On his return he spent two months at North Ferriby United before signing for Harrogate Town. A season at Wetherby Road was followed by a season at Whitby Town, then in July 1999 he signed for Bradford Park Avenue. He won a Northern Premier League Division 1 winners medal with Park Avenue in 2001, then in December of that year he joined Bridlington Town where he played until the end of his career in 2007. In September 2005 he briefly signed non-contract terms for his former club Scarborough, where he was goalkeeping coach, when they had a run of injuries.
Following his playing career Kelly remained in the game as a freelance goalkeeping coach, running training courses for kids and working with a number of clubs in the East Yorkshire non-league scene and beyond. He also regularly turned out for various veterans’ teams.
Date/Place of Birth: 29 September 1968, Beverley
Hull City First Game: 10 November 1987, Charlton Athletic A (Full Members’ Cup First Round), 19 years, 42 days old
Hull City Final Game: 7 October 1989, Swindon Town H (Division Two), 21 years, 8 days old
Hull City (1985-1990), Bristol Rovers (1990-1994), Scarborough (1994-1996), Golden (1996-1997), North Ferriby United (1997), Harrogate Town (1997-1998), Whitby Town (1998-1999), Frickley Athetic (1999, loan), Bradford Park Avenue (1999-2001), Bridlington Town (2001-2007)
Hull City Record
Career: 13 apps, 0 goalsGavin Kelly
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