Shropshire Star

Popular departing West Brom man pays tribute amid "togetherness" request

Departed former Albion defender Martin Kelly has paid tribute to club staff at the end of an injury-hit two years in the Black Country.


The 34-year-old defender endured a disappointing spell at The Hawthorns where injuries meant his last Baggies appearance was in the FA Cup in January 2023.

Kelly, a deadline day capture by Steve Bruce before the ex-boss' sacking, was not a registered member of Albion's Championship squad for the final months of this season having battled back from an ACL injury while out on loan at Wigan. He played just four minuted of league football under Carlos Corberan, in December 2022.

The one-cap England defender appeared set to find his feet on loan at Wigan, then of the Championship, in the second half of 2022/23 but ruptured his ACL on what was an otherwise mightily impressive debut for the Latics. He hasn't played a minute of senior football this season and was released by Albion upon its conclusion.

Kelly posted on Instagram: “I would like to thank all the fans, staff and players at West Bromwich Albion for the support throughout the last two seasons.

“Although my time was difficult at times with my knee injury, the staff worked as tirelessly as I did to get back to a player where I feel back to my optimal fitness.

“I’ve met some great people at West Brom and wish you all the success in the future. Keep having that fantastic togetherness and I’m sure you will be back where you belong in the Premier League.”

The experienced former Liverpool and Crystal Palace defender’s popularity with Albion’s squad was highlighted with messages of support from senior colleagues and youth squad members across the board, while first-team coach Michael Hefele branded Kelly a “role model” and under-21s boss Richard Beale said it had been “a pleasure.”

Kelly turned out for the under-21s as he pushed to return from his lengthy knee setback and messages of support from youth players including Reyes Cleary, Eseosa Sule, Cole Deeming, Archie Kirton, Rhys Morrish and Deago Nelson underlined his presence among the young Baggies crop.