08:00AM, Friday 10 July 2020
Josh Kelly admitted this week it’s been a difficult decision to turn his back on the club that has nurtured him since he was a teenager, however, he feels the time is right to take on a new challenge and start fulfilling his potential in the game.
The 21-year-old striker has been a fans’ favourite at York Road for the past few seasons, bursting onto the scene with a series of spectacular goals and establishing himself in the first team.
United have tried to tempt him into signing a new contract, but – after discussing the matter with his family and others in the game – he feels he needs to ‘move on’ to get to the level he wants to be playing at.
He is one of eight players set to leave the club this summer and his departure will disappoint Maidenhead fans who’ve come to think of him as ‘one of their own’.
Kelly thanked Alan Devonshire for handing him his chance with the first team, while first team coach Aaron O’Brien has coached, managed and nurtured the player since his academy days.
“It wasn’t an easy or quick decision,” said Kelly this week. “But it was something I needed to do at this moment in my career to better myself.
“I need a new challenge to get to the level I want to be playing at. I did have an offer (from Maidenhead United), and it wasn’t a quick decision. I spoke with my family and a few others in football. It was a hard choice but I feel like it’s the right decision for me at the moment.
“I’ve loved playing for Maidenhead. I’ve loved every year of it. I’ve been involved in the first team a lot more in the past couple of seasons and I’m thankful to Dev for giving me my opportunity. From the youth team to the first team they’ve all helped me massively. I feel like a different player now. Aaron O’Brien has been there every year from the u18s to now so he’s also helped me a lot through the years.”
Kelly lives in Windsor and attended the Windsor Boys School through to sixth-form before concentrating on his football. Many of his friends from school have supported him during matches and Kelly says it’s been great to play and score goals in front of his mates. He’s scored many spectacular goals during his time with the club but his favourite came in the 2-2 draw with Bromley two seasons ago.
He said: “Yeah it’s been great. They make me laugh some of them, but my family are down for almost every game and I have a big group of friends from the Boys’ School who come and watch matches too. They’ve supported me all the way through.
“My favourite goal was the one I scored against Bromley at home. I remember getting the ball out wide and I cut back and took it past a couple of players and hit it into the top corner. That’s one of my favourite moments at the club, but the support from the fans has been great throughout and I’ve loved scoring these goals in front of them.”
Kelly has been speaking with his agent over the past few weeks and, while he is yet to sign a contract with another club, he is keen to make sure his next move is the right one for him and hopes his future can be resolved in the coming weeks.
“I’ve spoken to my agent a few times but we haven’t really had anything set in place, and with the times and what’s happening, I think a lot is going to happen in the next few weeks,” he added. “Once the season is finished and we hear about the new season we’ll go from there really. I feel confident that’s going to happen (get a new deal) but it’s about finding the right club and the right move that’s going to help me in my career.
“I haven’t really got a specific goal at the moment. I’d like to get to a full-time club and then see how much I can progress from there. Hopefully it’s in the league, but if not it should be something that will suit me and make things better for myself and my future.”
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