Stephen Kelly admits he fell in love with Spurs the moment he arrived in north London.
Born and raised in Dublin, Stephen took his first steps as a footballer in the Emerald Isle with Belvedere FC – a youth team in the Dublin District Schoolboy League, which also helped produce two of our current players in MattDoherty and Troy Parrott– before he made the move to N17 in his teens.
Coming through our Academy at the turn of the millennium, the central defender turned full-back progressed into our first team and played 44 games in his six years as a professional with us before departing for Birmingham City in 2006. Fulham was his next permanent move, joining the Cottagers at the start of the 2009/10 season – a campaign which saw the west London outfit ultimately reach the Europa League Final in Hamburg.
A Republic of Ireland international, earning 39 caps for The Boys in Green, he later had spells at Reading and Rotherham United before making the decision to retire from professional football in 2017. Despite having gained his UEFA A Licence, the second-highest coaching certification in European football, family-man Stephen has instead, for now, opted to move into the media side of the game and is currently working on both British and Irish TV, as well as radio. And since venturing into his new line of work, the self-confessed Spurs fan admits he is loving every minute of punditry, especially when covering our games.
“Football has been everything for me,” Stephen smiled as he reflected on his journey in the game. “It’s amazing. It is all consuming – it really is because it dictates where you live, where you go etc. I’ve been extremely fortunate that my wife Helga and I have been together since such a young age and that has been our unit for such a long time.
“We’ve always been extremely close so I kind of knew that when playing football came to an end – even though it’s been a huge chunk of my life – there would be another part to come.
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On the pitch, we have started the year well and I have been pleased with the determination and application that my players have shown. Not only have we recorded three important victories against Leeds United, Brentford and Marine, those results have seen us continue to progress in each competition, including reaching the final of the Carabao Cup.
Goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes makes a spectacular leap to gather the ball under pressure from Fulham’s Chris Smalling as our defensive duo Michael Dawson and Ledley King stand on patrol during our victory over the Cottagers in January 2010.
THE ROAD TO GLORY
As we approach a year ending in ‘One’ and look forward to celebrating a number of anniversaries of our previous trophy triumphs, in each matchday programme this season we’ll reflect on one game that we played along the road to glory in one of those successes.
Tottenham Hotspur has always been described as a club of ‘firsts’ as we’ve blazed a trail throughout the game in this country and abroad down the years. In each programme this season, we will reflect on the matches, the people and the occasions that have seen us set the standard and helped shape our history.
IN THAT NUMBER
Continuing a new feature for this season, as we put one of our fans in the hotseat each issue to find out more about their support and what Spurs means to them.
Looking back at the Spurs programme that greeted today’s visitors in past seasons. Club Historian John Fennelly reflects on Fulham’s visit to Tottenham in April 1949.
LEGENDS ON LEGENDS
Continuing our feature for 2020/21, as we speak to our former stars about their memories of great players from our opponents. This afternoon, a player who featured for both clubs with distinction, ALAN MULLERY, reflects on former Fulham great JOHNNY HAYNES.
The story of Fulham’s first team coaching trio and their roots in our Academy set-up.
A DIFFICULT YEAR
SERGE AURIER openly discusses what has been a tough year for him off the pitch following the death of his brother Christopher in July as well as talking about the on-the-pitch battle for the right-back slot.
Where Are They Now?
A graduate of our Academy, Stephen Kelly went on to make almost halfa-century of appearances for us before going on to help today’s opponents Fulham to the Europa League Final in 2010. We recently caught up with the former Republic of Ireland international to discuss his time at the club, his journey since and find out what he’s up to now.