I will hand you over to Alan Buckley’s 3 Striped Adidas Shirt for another sepia-tinged trip to nostalgia land…
With over half of the current season gone and our crop of strikers nowhere near double figures I thought it would be nice to wallow back in time to the wonderful season where a striker scored 30 goals. I refer to David Kelly of course, whose goals were instrumental into firing The Saddlers into the Second Division at the end of the 1987-8 season via five Play Off games which included a trio of Final games against Bristol City. ‘Ned’, just 21 at the start of that campaign, was already a proven scorer and had scouts watching at seemingly every match he played in this season.
He played in 5 of the club’s 6 games in August without finding the net once but that changed in early September netting in the 2-2 draw against Sunderland. Two more goals came that month and in October after opening the scoring in the 4-0 win at Doncaster he scored both goals in the 2-1 win over Port Vale. November saw him score twice at Aldershot to earn Saddlers a 2-0 victory and a goal came in the Sherpa Van win against Cardiff. The holiday period saw David in sparkling form, notching a brace in the 3-2 win against Grimsby on Boxing Day and a hat trick in the 5-2 thrashing of Rotherham on Jan 2nd. Further goals in successive games against Wigan and York completed an excellent January.
Then followed a barren seven game spell before a double against Southend secured a 2-0 win however he saved his best for the final couple of months of his Walsall career. A superb hat trick at Mansfield then vital goals in the games against Doncaster and Notts County on home soil helped get The Saddlers into the Play Offs. He got a brace at Meadow Lane in the Semi Final 1st leg against Notts County and another double in the Final 1st Leg at Ashton Gate. With Bristol City winning 2-0 in the return at Fellows Park a Final Replay was needed on May 30th and in this his last match before his £600,000 transfer to West Ham he sealed promotion with another hat trick in a 4-0 win which meant he had reached 30 goals in all competitions for his club. He also broke into the Republic Of Ireland team in this season which included a hat trick on his debut against Israel.
Oh to have a similar striker at Walsall now.