Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Former Player Bobby Kellard Has Died


The sad news reached us yesterday of the passing of another Hereford United former player, Bobby Kellard, who died on Sunday aged 77. Club Historian Ron Parrott has prepared the following tribute and full “pen-pic” of Bobby:-

“Although Bobby only ever played three games for us, on loan from Portsmouth, I was fortunate enough to see him in all three of those games and although in the twilight of his career, he was still a tenacious midfielder and loved a scrap! He was always a busy player, buzzing around from start to finish but he could be creative too. Bobby's debut for United came in a thrilling 2-2 at his former club Crystal Palace but he only ever played one game at Edgar Street, when he scored the first goal in a 2-0 victory over Tranmere Rovers. Bobby returned to Portsmouth at the end of his loan period at Edgar Street but left Fratton Park after a bitter falling out with Ian St. John.

Bobby was taken ill then was hospitalised when he had a stroke in February 2020. He bravely struggled on all year after the stroke but the illness finally beat him and he sadly died on 10th January 2021.”


My full pen-pic for Bobby is as follows:-

Appearances: 3 (3+0 sub.) Goals: 1

Seasons played: 1974/75

Born Edmonton 1st March 1943, died Southend 10th January 2021

Bobby started his career as a junior trainee with Southend United and whilst there he earned youth caps for England. His progress was remarkable and in September 1959, he became the Shrimpers' youngest ever player at 16 years and 238 days. He signed professional forms in May 1960 and spent three more happy season at Roots Hall before Crystal Palace paid £9,000 for him in September 1963. He spent two seasons at Selhurst Park, scoring six times in 77 games before moving on to Ipswich Town in November 1965. Bobby later described this move as a big mistake because the club had a very large contingent of Scottish players, who made him feel very unwelcome. Over lunch one day, Bobby sat at a table for lunch with them and they told him in no uncertain terms that this was the "Scottish table" and that he should "bugger off and sit at the English one!" Bobby unsurprisingly left East Anglia after just one season, with three more goals and 13 appearances under his belt. In March 1966, Bobby signed for Portsmouth and must have wondered whether he'd made the right decision when he got involved in a fight with a fellow player on his very first day at the club. Apparently, he was perceived as pinching this player's position but as so often happens, they later became good friends. After two seasons with Pompey and eight goals in 91 starts, Bobby moved on to Bristol City in July 1968 for a fee of £30,000, only to find himself in a similar position. He was signed to replace crowd favourite Johnny Quigley and as a result, was unfairly booed by fans and even at night time, they would be outside his house shouting: "Bugger off back to Pompey!" Bobby eventually won them over but it had soured the relationship for him and in August 1970, Frank O'Farrell paid £50,000 to bring him to Leicester City. He helped them to promotion back to the top flight in 1971 and Bobby played at Wembley in the Charity Shield but after just one season, he returned to Selhurst Park for a fee of £50,000. He was appointed as club captain by November but after four goals in 46 games he opted to return to Portsmouth in December 1972. It was here that he gained the unwanted honour of being the first player ever to be sent off in a Sunday Football League match. However, when new manager Ian St. John came in, Bobby's fortunes waned and in January 1974, he was placed out on loan with Third Division Hereford United.

Bobby's debut for United came in a thrilling 2-2 at his former club Crystal Palace but he only ever played one game at Edgar Street, when he scored the first goal in a 2-0 victory over Tranmere Rovers. I was fortunate enough to see Bobby in all three of his games for us and although in the twilight of his career, he was still a tenacious midfielder and loved a scrap! He was always a busy player, buzzing around from start to finish but he could be creative too. Bobby returned to Portsmouth at the end of his loan period at Edgar Street but left Fratton Park after a bitter falling out with Ian St. John.

Bobby then spent the summer of 1975 playing for Cape Town City in South Africa before returning to the UK in September 1975 and playing a few games for Torquay United. In January 1976, Bobby became player-manager of Chelmsford City in the Southern League and played alongside Jimmy Greaves. He was in charge for 86 games until May 1977 before he joined his final club, Grays Athletic. He only played a few games for them before finally hanging up his boots. In 1994/95, Bobby also had a season as joint manager of Harlow Town with Len Glover but he left to spend several years running a taxi business in Southend. He then traded as an antiques dealer and being a keen artist and painter himself, he opened up an art gallery, before moving to Spain in 2004. Bobby was taken ill and returned to the UK but was hospitalised when he had a stroke in February 2020. He bravely struggled on all year after the stroke but the illness finally beat him and he sadly died on 10th January 2021.