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Bolton Nuts » BWFC » Bolton Wanderers Banter » Ex-Burnden Park favourite honoured before game at Shrewsbury Town

Ex-Burnden Park favourite honoured before game at Shrewsbury Town

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

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Former Wanderer Tony Kelly will get the guest of honour treatment at Shrewsbury this afternoon.

The 57-year-old will be presented with a gift before kick-off by the Bolton Wanderers Remembrance Group in recognition of his work for the club and in the Bolton community and will also be joined by several former Shrews and Bolton team-mates.

Among the Wanderers contingent will be Gary Henshaw, Mark Came, Neil Fisher, Michael Brown and John Thomas.

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Kelly officially left Wanderers a few months ago after a lengthy spell on furlough, having held several different roles, including fans’ liaison officer and Under-23s assistant coach.

The change came at a time of great personal pain for Kelly, whose parents had both passed away in the previous 12 months.

After his previous role was made redundant, Kelly was offered an alternative post by the club which involved shorter hours. But he turned down the offer and accepted a redundancy package, subsequently taking a driving job, with the hope of returning to football in some capacity.

His departure was not officially acknowledged at Wanderers, leading to strong criticism from some fans who feel his contribution to the club and community deserved some form of official thanks.

His former Bolton team-mate, Gary Henshaw, has also voiced his disappointment at the treatment of Kelly via social media.

The Bolton Wanderers Remembrance Group Facebook page has been swamped with messages from supporters over the past few weeks, wishing ‘Zico’ well for the work he did on the club’s behalf.

The Liverpudlian represented Wanderers on hospital and hospice visits, funerals and also raised money for charity via walks.

He will be presented with an honour at Shrewsbury by BWRG president Steve Hague in front of the away end at the Montgomery Waters Meadow, where a sell-out contingent of Bolton supporters are due.

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The Bolton News says: “Wanderers got it wrong when they failed to acknowledge Tony Kelly’s huge contribution to their work in the community on his exit.

“Most supporters can respect the fact that the pandemic changed the shape of most businesses, not least football, and that reasonable cuts would be made to keep things on an even keel.

“There are also protocols to follow with redundancies, which make this a trickier matter to report than normal.

“But the outpouring of goodwill towards Kelly – and the criticism aimed at the club – show how respected the Liverpudlian is in the town for what he did as a player, a coach, and in being the public face of BWFC at times of need.

“There is no disgrace in the fact the club made Kelly a scaled down offer but once it was declined, they really should have given him some sort of recognition for years of service as a player, coach and ambassador, especially taking into consideration the emotions at play.

“Silence often creates an information vacuum. The vagueness which has surrounded his exit from the club has allowed the misinformation to linger and fester, creating a lot of negative PR on social media platforms and message boards.

“Well done to the Bolton Wanderers Remembrance Group for organising a presentation at Shrewsbury – we certainly hope Zico enjoys his day.

“The BWRG continue to do excellent work around the town, providing support for the supporters. More power to them.”

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Ten Bobsworth

El Hadji Diouf
El Hadji Diouf

Has Shazza turned into Gloria Gaynor?

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