Seaham Harbour, County Durham born right back Jimmy “Ned” Kelly began his football career with Langley Park in 1925 and played for Seaham Harbour in 1926 and Blyth Spartans, Dawdon Colliery Welfare and Murton Colliery Welfare in 1927 before signing professional forms with Third Division (North) club Southport in November 1928, making his Football League debut at Chesterfield on Boxing Day, his only first team appearance of his debut season. Things didn’t improve much in terms of opportunities over his next two seasons at Haig Avenue, and by the time he joined Barrow in August 1931 he had made only 7 appearances for The Sandgrounders.
At Barrow he was a first team regular, and his form brought him to the attention of Second Division Grimsby Town, who signed him for £1,000 in March 1933 after 60 appearances for The Bluebirds. It was to prove money well spent. Kelly was an ever present the following season as Grimsby won the Second Division Championship in 1934, in a season in which he scored three times from the penalty spot. In the First Division he was a regular until 1937, helping The Mariners to their highest ever League position, fifth in the League Championship in 1934-35, and playing in their 1936 FA Cup semi final team that narrowly lost to eventual winners Arsenal at Leeds Road, Huddersfield.
He joined Second Division Bradford Park Avenue in May 1938 after 174 appearances for Grimsby Town, but he didn’t stay long at Park Avenue, moving to York City that December after just 2 appearances. He played for York until the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, making 28 appearances, and after the War, already aged 38, he played football for Trondheim in Norway, and re-joined Barrow as their trainer in June 1946, playing one further match for them in a defeat at Chester that November before retiring from the game. He later trained Oldham Athletic and scouted for Grimsby Town.
NB this photograph was taken on 27th December 1937 before an away match at Stoke City. The match finished a 1-1 draw.