Southend United’s popular former midfielder, Bobby Kellard, has died at the age of 77.
The Edmonton-born player came through the ranks at Roots Hall before becoming the Blues youngest-ever debutant at the age of 16 years and 208 days when he turned out against Bradford City at Valley Parade in September 1959.
Kellard made more than 100 appearances for Southend before joining Crystal Palace for a fee of £9,000. Further moves would see him represent Ipswich Town, Portsmouth, Bristol City, Leicester City – where he picked up a A Second Division Championship and Charity Shield winners medal – then another stint with Palace.
A loan spell at Hereford United was followed by a move to South African outfit, Cape Town City. Kellard would briefly return to the Football League, appearing twice for Torquay United ahead of slipping into the non-league circuit with Chelmsford City and Grays Athletic.
Kellard was appointed player-manager at Chelmsford in January 1976. He would also hold a similar position, alongside former Leicester City player, Len Glover, at Harlow Town.
Alan Stephenson was a teammate of Kellard at Crystal Palace: “It is with terrible sadness, I have just learnt that my great colleague and friend has passed away,” he told Yellow Sport.
“Bobby was a great character with a wicked sense of humour who would brighten up any a dull day with his ongoing chatter.
“He was a great competitor on the park with a never say die attitude. When the games got tough, Bobby got tougher.”