Happy birthday to Holyhead football great Mike Kelly

Mike Kelly (blue) in action for Holyhead Hotspur at Penrhyncoch. Picture: Chris Howells

Happy birthday Mike Kelly – one of the finest players ever to pull on a Holyhead Hotspur shirt.

Mike, who is 35 today, has spent 17 consecutive seasons as a Hotspur player.

Such loyalty is rare in this day and age.

A skillful midfielder, Mike progressed through the Hotspur Peibio youth set up and also had a spell at Holyhead Gwelfor Athletic early in his career.

The vast majority of his playing days, however, have been devoted to Hotspur, the highlight being the club’s Welsh Alliance title, Barritt Cup and Cookson Cup treble success of 2011-12.

Mike was also a member of the Hotspur team which famously knocked Bangor City of the Welsh Premier out of the Welsh Cup in 2015-16.

Late goals from Rhys Roberts and Dean Garmey clinched Campbell Harrison’s side a 2-1 result – probably the greatest in the club’s history.

Ask him his most memorable game in a Hotspur shirt, however, and Mike will take you back to the 2008-09 season and a long trip to Guilsfield.

He recalled: “We were losing 1-0 at 90 minutes and we scored two in stoppage time. I got the winner to snatch the three points.

That sparked a mass pile on from my team-mates and I ended up with a nasty gash on the head from the celebrations (night in hospital on my 21st birthday).”

That was the season Hotspur finished runners-up in the Cymru Alliance, just three points behind champions Bala Town, who they beat 4-1 away.

Bala, of course, have gone on to do marvellous things since their promotion to the Welsh Premier in 2009-10.

Mike celebrated a very special occasion in 2018 when Hotspur staged a testimonial match in his honour against Sheffield United Under-23’s at the New Stadium. Holyhead marked the event with a very impressive 4-1 victory.

Joy for Mike after his Holyhead Hotspur Reserves team win the 2018-19 Megan Cup. Picture provided by Holyhead Hotspur FC

That same summer, Mike was appointed player-manager of Holyhead Hotspur Reserves.

While the first team were relegated from the Cymru Alliance in 2018-19, the Reserves lifted the spirits by scooping the Megan Cup in Kelly’s first season in charge. He also finished top-scorer for the team with 17 goals.

Last season saw Mike become part of the Hotspur first-team management and under himself, Nick Dumbarton and manager Darren Garmey, the club was crowned Welsh Alliance champions for a third time.

A UEFA B Licence coach, Mike has also represented Ynys Môn at the Island Games.

Have a great day mate, your football skills, loyalty and leadership will never be forgotten in the town of Holyhead.

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