Bobby Kellard

Bobby Kellard: 1943-2021

It is with great sadness that the Club heard the news that Bobby Kellard died on 10 January, 2021.

Bobby, a tenacious midfielder, was signed by Leicester City manager Frank O’Farrell in August 1970.

Born in Edmonton in 1943, Bobby began his career at Southend United where he became their youngest ever league player at the age of 16 years and 208 days in September 1959.

After winning youth caps for England and playing over 100 games for Southend, he spent two years at Crystal Palace, winning promotion from the third tier in 1964. This was followed by a four-month spell at Ipswich Town. His next move, in March 1966, was a two-year stint at Fratton Park before he moved to Bristol City for a fee of £30,000 in July 1968.

When he joined O’Farrell’s Leicester City for a fee of £50,000 two years later, there were some excellent players at the Club including Peter Shilton, Steve Whitworth, David Nish, Graham Cross, John Sjoberg, John Farrington, Ally Brown, Rodney Fern and Len Glover.

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Bobby Kellard
Bobby Kellard

The tenacious midfielder was described as a 'street fighter' by his manager Frank O'Farrell.

However, O’Farrell wanted to inject more aggression into the midfield. He did this by signing Bobby and, a couple of months later, by signing Willie Carlin from Derby County. O’Farrell described Kellard and Carlin as his key signings as they added aggression and competitiveness to the midfield. He called them his street fighters. Their midfield partnership was a pivotal factor in Leicester City, after a two-year absence from the top flight, returning to the First Division as Second Division champions at the end of that season.

When Frank O’Farrell left Filbert Street in June 1971 to manage Manchester United, he was replaced by Jimmy Bloomfield. Bobby played in the season’s curtain raiser in the team which beat Liverpool to win the Charity Shield (now Community Shield) in 1971 and was a regular in the top-flight side until he was part of the deal with Crystal Palace which brought Alan Birchenall to Leicester City, with Bobby returning for a second spell at Selhurst Park.

In his 13 months at Filbert Street Bobby made 60 starts in league and cup games. Back at Crystal Palace, he replaced the future Leicester City player Steve Kember who had just moved to Chelsea. Within two months he had become Crystal Palace’s captain.

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Leicester City 1971/72
Leicester City 1971/72

Bobby is pictured first left, front row with his Leicester City team-mates and the Second Division trophy.

Bobby’s subsequent career saw him return to Portsmouth in 1972. He also had loan spells in South Africa and at Hereford United before spending a month at Torquay United where he rejoined his ex-Leicester City coach Malcolm Musgrove. In November 1975, he became player-manager at Chelmsford City where he played alongside Jimmy Greaves.

Among other activities, he later managed Harlow Town as assistant to manager Len Glover and ran an antiques business and art gallery in Essex.

Leicester City Football Club’s thoughts are with Bobby’s family and friends at this very sad time.

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