It was back in 2010 when we last saw Shaun Kelly pull on a Bala Town shirt.
After nine years away from Maes Tegid, we caught up with the centre half on his return to the Club, life down under and the Club’s progression on and off the pitch.
It’s been quite a while since Shaun Kelly was last season wearing a Bala shirt but his deadline day move saw him return to the Club after a long stint overseas. In what seems to be a recent trend at the club with players such as Craig Vernon, Rob Pearson, Kieran Smith all following his lead, going for a spell over the other side of the world before returning to the Club later on. So what on earth has he been up to?
“I moved out to Melbourne after leaving Bala. Me and the Mrs wanted a change of scenery and to be honest we had only really intended in going for a year.” Shaun tells us.
“We ended up being there over 6 years and had a great time. Unfortunately I broke my ankle pretty bad about 18 months ago which added to the decision to move back home. Since then I have started a degree with a view to moving back out to Melbourne when I qualify”.
Like Shaun, his younger brother James also represented the Lakesiders for a six month spell back in 2014/15 before making the move over to Australia with James still living over there currently. Shaun explains that they both kept up with the Lakesiders’ progress whilst in the southern hemisphere and that James is enjoying life with the Aussies.
“James is doing really well out there. He is playing at the top level outside the A-League for a team called Dandenong City. He also has a really good job as a strength and conditioning coach, he’s living the dream. Yeah, we both check how our former clubs are getting on.”
His return on deadline day was unexpected by Town supporters as the signing was kept under wraps but Shaun says a return to Maes Tegid was one he couldn’t turn down.
“The opportunity to come back was very last minute but I jumped at the chance. Like I said I’ve kept an eye on the Clubs progress since I left and couldn’t turn down the chance to come back.”
He continued “It seems the League is a lot more competitive now since I left. I want to play at the highest level I can for as long as possible and I think that is with Bala.”
Kelly like the rest of the squad, have a two week wait until they get back out on the pitch with no fixture until 22nd February. His first involvement back with the lads didn’t go to plan last Saturday with the game being called off after only 13 minutes of play after making the 300 mile round trip down to Jenner Park due to floodlight failure. So what did he make of last week’s events?
“It’s always frustrating when games are cancelled because the boys work hard to prepare for games. The fact that it was a really long journey did make it extra frustrating but these things happen.”
“At the end of the day we need to make sure we take the same attitude in to the rest of the games and we should do well. The boys started really well and deserved the 1-0 lead” Shaun added.
During nine years, there’s been plenty of changes been at the Club with the transition of the playing surface from grass to 3G, European adventures and establishing themselves in the JD Welsh Premier League. How does Shaun feel the Club has progressed during his time away?
“The Club and the League has come a long way since I was last here. I think Nigel and the committee along with Colin and the coaching staff should be really proud of how far the club has come in a short space of time” he began.
“It was the clubs first year in the top flight when I signed last time. To go from there to a regular top 6 finisher that has won the Welsh Cup and competes regularly in Europe is an incredible achievement.”
“If you add the achievements to the facilities at the club now there has been a huge step in right direction since I was last at the club and I can only see that positive trend continuing” he concluded.