Kelly Aims To Bring The Good Times Back To Hyde United
Wednesday 20th July 2016 @ 14:40 by Mark Phillip
Football Hyde Sports

Hyde United have appointed Darren Kelly to arrest the clubs decline following three consecutive relegations.

Following an unsuccessful bid to keep them up at the end of last season, the Northern Irishman has returned for a second spell in charge.

With six games of the 2015/16 campaign remaining, Kelly was tasked with the insurmountable challenge of reversing the clubs fortunes.

But despite his best efforts, the Tigers were condemned to their third taste of relegation in the space of three seasons.

The fall from grace is truly remarkable: Hyde have plummeted from being Tameside’s highest ranked side to the lowliest in the borough, along with Droylsden and Mossley.

However, Kelly aims to return what he describes as a ‘sleeping giant’ back to where it belongs: the National League North.

Questioned on why he returned to the club, Kelly said: “I was initially offered the job two years ago, but I had to turn it down because it was part time and I was in full time employment.

“Since coming into the club – and knowing the people in the background – it was a no-brainer.

“We found ourselves in a situation during the last six games where our hands were tied and confidence was low.

“Players were struggling with injury and suspensions, but we gave it a good go and I believe the performances were very good.

“However, in situations like that, we could have done with a little more experienced players and key personnel, but we were restricted on that and we subsequently got relegated.

“Hyde’s a sleeping giant with a background of fantastic people at the club – Mark Worthington, Pete Ainger, Mike Davies, Daz Mellor, Tony Spencer – who make Hyde a big part of their lives.

“I couldn’t help but want to come back and set out what I planned to do.”

Given recent years of bitter disappointment, Hyde will be hoping for better years ahead.

Kelly believes the club – supported by a bedrock of fans, volunteers and a new crop of hungry players – will contribute to its renaissance.

The 37-year-old is adamant that in order to achieve their objectives, everyone connected with the club will have to put the past behind them. He said: “We have to create a winning mentality and a positive environment.

“The work the fans and volunteers do behind the scenes is frightening, to the point where they’re at the ground every morning and every evening.

“They deserve to see the good times again because they’re the heartbeat of the club.

“I want to put a bit of joy back into the faces of these people, because all they’ve known for the past three seasons is relegation.”

With a mountainous challenge on his hands, Kelly is hoping to get off to the best start possible on the opening day of the season against Tadcaster Albion.

But before that day arrives, the former Oldham Athletic and Halifax Town boss is looking to strengthen certain areas of his squad – mainly the attacking department. He said: “To be honest the attacking area needs strengthening.

“Defensively we’re very good, but there’s a lot of work we need to do in terms of shape and things like that.

“The players I’ve identified and brought in from last season will be pivotal in what we want to achieve.

“When we get the extra players that we need, from the bottom to the top, we can go and do something special, injuries permitting.”

As a former youth and academy coach with York City and Sunderland respectively, Kelly is a huge advocate of nurturing young talent.

He will therefore be relishing the opportunity to work closely with Hyde’s revered academy setup during the forthcoming season.

Referencing the importance of academy systems at football clubs, Kelly said: “It’s my background as well, so it’s something I’m very passionate about.

“I’ve talked at length with Gaz Prendergast and Mark Worthington about the academy setup, and I believe it’s the way forward.

“We have some fantastic young players who’ve come from the academy like Pete Boyle, Adam Jones Big Khamsuk and Sam Fitton.

“One of the things I noticed while I was in position at the end of last season was a lack of leadership.

“The young players will look up to the likes of Adam Jones senior and Andy Pearson.

“They’ll essentially become leaders to the younger players, offering support and encouragement, which will enable them to play with freedom.

“For me it doesn’t matter about age: if you’re good enough you play.”

Kelly’s message couldn’t be simpler: If you want to succeed, you have to work for it.

This very philosophy is the reason why a number of players were rejected from the club. Kelly explained: “When I’m looking to sign players, first and foremost, it’s about wanting to be successful.

“I’ve spoken to players who only talked about money, and from that point on, I wasn’t interested in signing them anymore.

“I want players to buy into what we’re trying to do, and I don’t want people just coming in and thinking about the money.

“For me, it’s about bringing the right player in who’s willing to work hard to become successful.”

Having played the likes of Luton Town and Wrexham a few short years ago, it’s arguable that Hyde will be favourites this season.

Yet despite having full belief in his squad, Kelly is aware of the challenge that awaits.

Questioned on whether Hyde are a big fish in a little pond, he responded: “You’re only as good as what you are.

“The fact is we haven’t been good enough over the past three years, so I have to change that.

“A lot of people will look at us and say we’re favourites this season, but that’s just statistics and people’s opinions.

“All we know is that we have to concentrate on doing our job on Saturday’s.”

Hyde will need to go above and beyond the call of duty if they’re to claim silverware next season.

Shrewd in his thinking, Kelly has certainly done his homework. He said: “The champions over the last three seasons have collected something like 93, 95, and 102 points.

“The average win out of 42 games is between 31 and 33, while each team has drawn around six, losing between four and seven games.

“They also scored about 104 goals and conceded 46, so we have to be in and around that if we’re to be promoted, or certainly in the mix for the playoffs.”

Hyde have failed to win their opening league game in the previous three seasons.

With a renewed sense of optimism, Kelly will be hoping to change that against Tadcaster Albion in three weeks’ time.