Gary Kelly has made more appearances for Leeds United than any other member of the
Having overcome an ongoing shin splints problem which ruled him out for the whole of the
1998/99 campaign, Gary forced his way back into the Leeds first team,and silenced any critics by once again making the right
back role his own, despite the signing of Danny Mills in the summer of 1999.
Started the 2000/2001 season as first choice but an injury around December and the superb
form of Mills forced him to sit on the bench for the remainder of the campaign.
Gary has since been a valuable squad member and was rewarded fro his ten year stint at
Elland Road with a big charity match against Glasgow Celtic at Elland Road in May 2002.
His generocity in donating all proceeds from the game to cancer charities was a testament
to his sister Mandy, who died of the disease in 1998. In the summer of 2004 he opened a cancer centre in his home
town of Drogheda with the proceeds.
Went on to play in his second World Cup for the Republic of Ireland in Japan and South
Korea in June 2002 and he was also tipped as likely to leave Leeds but as yet he is still a part of the club's future plans.
It was in season 1993/94 that Gary, the youngest of a family of thirteen, burst on to the
scene after Howard Wilkinson tried him out as a right back. Remarkably, by the end of his first season, he was a member of
Jack Charlton's Republic of Ireland side that went to the U.S.A for the 1994 World Cup Finals.
For two seasons, the flying fullback was an ever present in the Leeds team, and established
himself as an Eire regular under Big Jack.
Arguably there was too much football, at too young an age, for the lad who'd become a regular
at only 18, and it was possibly only in the latter part of the 97/98 season, after a switch to right midfield that Kelly regained
the zest that had marked him out as such a prospect five years before.
George Graham, recognising the new maturity and leadership the Irishman was displaying,
and with David Hopkin out of the side, installed Kelly as skipper, at the age of 23.
Then came the nightmare season through injury, but Kells battled back superbly, fighting
his way back into the first team, taking over as skipper when Lucas Radebe was on international duty and he was rewarded with
a new five year contract, that should mean he sees out the rest of his career at Elland Road.
He now has a real chance of surpassing Jack Charlton's all-time record number of 773 appearances
in the Leeds shirt.
Date of Birth: Tuesday, 09 July, 1974