Jim Kelly Signs for Derby County

South Yorkshire Times, December 7.

Jim Kelly Signs for Derby.

For 17 years old Jim Kelly, Friday was the big day as he signed amateur forms for Derby County. Ahead of him he hopes to find a successful career in football and who perhaps one day will be remembered as another Hagan, Finney, Lofthouse….And it is thanks to his schoolmistress.

Jim, who lives with his parents, Mr and Mrs James Kelly, 99, Doncaster Road, Denaby Main, began playing football when he was about seven as a member of Denaby St Albans Junior School team, a team coached until just less than a year ago by Mrs V.R. Fitzwilliam, member of the staff.

He said on Monday: “It was Mrs Fitzwilliam, who really started me playing football and what I have achieved up to now is due to her.”

At the age of 10, he gained a losers medal with the StAlbans’ school team in Denaby United Supporters Cup Competition.

Within a year of this he was picked for Don and Dearne boys Intermediate team and then he moved on to Conisbrough Northcliffe Secondary School, where he was a regular member of the first team.

Lately Jim joined the Mexborough youth side which saw Wath Youth Club last year win the Mexborough Youth League Cup, and yet another team to use his talents as centre forward, is the Sheffield and Hallamshire Youth Team.

During this season. Jim has played frequently for St Albans. He plans to carry on as their centre forward wherever he is not wanted at Derby, but it may not be for very long. Jim’s father, Denaby, miner, James Kelly, explained.

“They will probably try for about three months to see if he’s good enough and fits in. Then they may ask him to sign professional forms,” said Kelly.

Despite the apparent glamour of top-class football Jim has no illusions, “I know it is terribly hard work, but I hope to stick it out,” he declared. At local football it’s all rough, tough, bustle and rush, but I found that at Derby they really play football.”

He explained, “It all adds up to a training and facilities. At the moment I can only manage training perhaps twice a fortnight, in any case you cannot expect to be really fit breathing coal dust.”

Jim’s decision to join Derby is largely as a result of his mother’s enthusiasm, for after trials with clubs such as Manchester City, Scunthorpe and Aston Villa, he didn’t know which way to turn

Mrs Kelly made up his mind for him and now she has faith in his ability to succeed. “I hope he makes the grade, but even if he doesn’t he´s tried and that is everything,” she said.

Jim himself added, “if this doesn’t work out, I shall just try somewhere else.” He will play his first game for Derby’s junior side this Saturday.

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