Fulham - Mike Kelly
Following the investigation into Ray Lewington yesterday, I shall move on to Roy's 'right-hand-man'; Mike Kelly: Assistant Manager/Goalkeeping Coach.
Mike Kelly has proven himself to be a very experienced coach, who, like Lewington, has worked here at Fulham in the past, thus giving him a decent taste of life by the Thames.
That spell was only brief though, working as assistant manager for two years between 1978 and 1980. He played the same role at both Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion, respectively.
He, unlike Ray, has had no playing experience for Fulham, although, he has played at Loftus Road for near neighbours Queens Park Rangers.
It is fair to say his playing career, as a goalkeeper, was far from illustrious; And that is what makes his superior coaching skills all the more surprising. Following his assistant manager roles, Mike went on to perform the honourable role of England Goalkeeping Coach for 6 years, which included two World Cups.
But it was whilst playing the same role for Switzerland that Mike Kelly first met Roy Hodgson, and, it's fair to say, they've had a fledging partnership since. Hodgson clearly admires the 67 year old, as he has employed him on a few occasions now, with the 2 blatantly working well together.
On every occasion that I have taken my seat for a home tie, I can see Kelly working with both Stockdale and Schwarzer, who, together, are evidence of just how good a coach Mike Kelly is.
Mark Schwarzer is a goalkeeper who, to be honest, is reaching the end of his career. However, Mike Kelly has kept him working hard and has brought out the best of him. It always feels, also, that there is more to come from Schwarzer.
On top of that, we have Stockdale, who we picked up for a now measly looking £350,000. He has proven, too, to be a competent goalkeeper that has impressed gaffer Roy Hodgson.
What must be recognised though, is that while Hodgson picks the team every week, Mike Kelly is the man that works closely with these goalkeepers and, ultimately, makes them what they are. Without the good form of Mark Schwarzer, and the reliable backup of Stockdale, I doubt we'd be in anywhere near as stronger a position as we currently are.
All in all then, I think Mike Kelly has proven to be a saint of the coaching world. He is very well travelled and carries bundles of wisdom; Making him invaluable to any team. Here's to Mike!