A Step Into The Unknown
Kelly Relishing Chance To Branch Out
Rob Kelly is eagerly counting off the days before linking up again with Uwe Rosler – this time at the start of his first overseas posting.
The former Wolves midfielder and youth coach starts work with the German at Malmo in mid-January and is guaranteed a high-profile start to his new life with a round-of-32 Europa League clash with Chelsea the following month.
“It has all come about quite quickly because I was working happily at Bury and enjoying the good first half to the season they have had,” the 54-year-old said.
“Uwe had asked me to go out there with him several months ago but the timing didn’t seem quite right then.
“The family are settled, though, and I had always had it in the back of my mind that I would one day like to work abroad and have the experience of living abroad.
“I heard David Moyes on radio saying it was a shame we didn’t export more coaches to the continent. He has worked at Real Sociedad, for example, but he is in quite a small minority.
“I am also aware of how Roy Hodgson, who I enjoyed working with at Blackburn, coached extensively in many different countries. The fact that he managed Malmo a few years after they faced Nottingham Forest in the 1979 European Cup final was a reminder that I am joining a club with a lot of tradition.”
The Swedish League season does not begin until the second half of March but domestic cup duties and a warm weather training camp – maybe in Spain – adds urgency to the role Kelly will be taking on at the side of a man with whom he has also worked in the fairly recent past at Leeds and Fleetwood.
“They were tenth or 12th in the table when Uwe went in there around 12 games into last season, so they did really well to finish third and qualify for Europe,” he added.
“They have also just come through a strong qualifying group containing Besiktas and Genk and have a nice, newish stadium holding 25,000, so there is plenty to look forward to.
“Uwe worked last season with the staff he inherited and he was away on his close-season break when I went over for my chat with the chief executive. I am already starting to get busy and went to watch Chelsea win at Watford last night and I will see them again before I leave England.
“He and I are on similar lines football-wise and passionate in different ways. He likes to hear other opinions as long as they are backed up with some reason.
“He’s well organised, with a clear philosophy and I am really looking forward to working with him there.
“It’s all going to be a new experience for me but I will arrive with my eyes wide open and with the attitude of giving it a real go.
“My wife and our dog will join me as soon as possible when I am settled in but I will be finding myself an apartment to start with so I don’t have to spend much time in a hotel.”
Kelly, who has held a host of other coaching and managerial positions in the game, including Leicester, Albion, Preston and Nottingham Forest, took advice from his best Molineux pal before stepping away from Bury’s promising young boss Ryan Lowe and back into a more intense spotlight.
He still speaks every week to Keith Downing – now a vital part of the England age-group set-up – and retains occasional contact with Andy Thompson and Mike Stowell, the latter a backroom colleague at Leicester for several years.