The TNS Top 50 All time Latics players: #33 – Tony Kelly

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The next two players in our run down share a large part of their career in common in that a large part of it was played for Wigan Athletic and Bolton Wanderers. The other player did it the other way around, no further spoilers.

In the case of Tony Kelly, he forged a name for himself at Latics before moving on to Stoke although ultimately ending up being a popular player with the Burnden Park faithful, to such an extent that he is now the fans’ liaision officer. Why don’t we have one of those? BECAUSE WE HAVE NO FANS!! AHA HA AHA. Shut up you unfunny internet freaks.

Personally, I only caught the tail end of Tony Kelly’s Latics career and remember him blasting a penalty high and wide into the Shevy End along with our promotion hopes one Easter Monday. A shame as he was definitely my type of player and there was little doubt that his right foot was a wand of the highest order. I’d even go as far to say after his exploits with Bolton later in his career that he would thrive in Roberto Martinez’s midfield today in a slightly stockier Jordi Gomez type of role. As Joe Royle once said “If Tony Kelly could pass the pub or the chippy the way he passed the ball he could have played for England”.

Tony, who started his career as an apprentice at Liverpool was spotted by talent scout extraordinare Harry McNally playing for Prescot Cables and on 26th November 1983 he made his Latics League debut in a 0-1 defeat at Springfield Park by Walsall and from that moment on he was an almost ever present in the first team. He became so proficient at free kick taking that he became known as ‘Zico’ among the Latics faithful. It seemed like every time Latics were awarded a free kick just outside the box he would rattle the ball into the net! He stayed at Springfield Park until the end of season 1985/86 when he joined Stoke City for £80,000 at a time when the club was selling its prize assets in a bid to stave off financial disaster. In total he played 98+3 League games and scored 15 League goals for the Blues before moving to the Potteries.

He returned to the club in September 1995 and made his second Latics League debut on 30th September 1995 against Hereford United in a game at Edgar Street that resulted in a 2-2 draw. He was only to make 1 more League appearance for the club before moving to Altrincham. He is currently the Fans Liason Officer at Bolton Wanderers after trawling the non league circuit before hanging up his boots.

He is the winner of the club’s 1984/85 Player of the Year Award and was voted Bolton’s 34th best ever player. He’s just gone one better with the Wigan faithful!



33. Tony Kelly

34. Paul Scharner

35. Harry Lyon

36. Roy Tunks

37. Gary Teale

38. Eamon O’Keeffe

39. Joe Hinnigan

40. Ian Kilford

41. Hugo Rodallega

42. James McCarthy

43. Mickey Worswick

44. Noel Ward

45. Simon Haworth

46. Gary Caldwell

47. Mike Pollitt

48. Bert Llewellyn

49. Bryan Griffiths

50. = Graham Barrow

50. = Maynor Figueroa

50. = Paul Jewell

50. = Graham Kavanagh

50. = Henri Camara

50. = Lee Cattermole

The TNS Top 50 was compiled last year and collected over 2,000 votes from Latics fans across a variety of platforms. There have been initial discussions with the club and other fan sites to turn this into a bigger survey and produce a book of the Top 100 Latics players next year with pen pictures written by fans

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