10:46 13th May 2013
by Andrew Poole
O'Kelly back in First-Team Coch role...
THE SADDLERS have today re-appointed Richard O'Kelly as First-Team Coach.
The 56 year-old returns to Banks's Stadium following two previous successful spells on the coaching staff - in 2011/12 and last term, where he played a key role until renewing acquaintances with Sean O’Driscoll at Bristol City in January.
As a player, O'Kelly was given his Football League chance by Walsall back in 1979 after being plucked from non-League, Alvechurch.
He grabbed the opportunity with both hands, helping the club to promotion in 1979/80 on his way to making over 200 appearances.
A move to Port Vale came in the summer of 1986, but he was back at Fellows Park less than two years later and played his part in our run-in to promotion at the end of the 1987/88 campaign.
Moving on to Grimsby Town where injury was to end his playing career.
After a spell as Community Officer at former club, Port Vale, he became youth team coach at Grimsby and then West Bromwich Albion, where he was to spend seven years.
Becoming assistant manager at Hereford United in 2002, he was a popular figure at the club before linking up with Sean O'Driscoll, firstly at AFC Bournemouth and then Doncaster Rovers, where the duo enjoyed plenty of success.
Returning to Walsall in November 2011 to assist with the coaching, he built up an excellent working relationship with Dean Smith but the opportunity to manage Hereford United proved too much to resist and he took over at The Bulls' helm in March 2012.
Unable to prevent the club's relegation out of The Football League, he turned down the chance to remain at Edgar Street and refused other offers to return to Banks's Stadium last June.
His sheer enthusiasm and experience proved invaluable as he helped manager, Dean Smith, lay the foundations of his footballing philosophy that went on to serve the club so well in 2012/13.
Now having resigned from his position at Ashton Gate, he has returned with renewed vigour and determination.
Look out for an interview with Richard O’Kelly to follow...