Date:Sunday February 12 2006
As the media concern themselves with who might be appointed Leicester City manager, might current 'caretaker' Rob Kelly end up, if not manager, as Director of Football Development?
Kelly has emerged as a hero from a crisis whether he wanted to or not.
Three wins in successive League matches have not saved Leicester's Championship status but have made it much more likely than it seemed when he took over from Craig Levein.
Furthermore Kelly is clearly popular with the players to the unusual extent that individuals like Rab Douglas and Matty Fryatt have publicly said he should be given chance to finish the season in charge.
Surely that will happen but what then?
Fans have recently wondered whether a Director of Football is the way forward and the idea has prompted mixed debate.
It is difficult to define what a Director of Football does but being Director of Football Development might suit Rob Kelly and might be the perfect reward for his presumably much appreciated efforts at the club.
Kelly has presided over a near production line of young players coming through to City's first team squad from the Academy, some of them local players like Richard Stearman, James Wesolowski, and Ashley Chambers.
City had decided on an ideal profile for incoming footballers which complimented their concentration on youth developoment, hence the arrival of other young internationals like Matty Fryatt and Patrick Kisnorbo.
Were Kelly to be DoFD that policy could become synonymous with City and could be followed through indefinitely and it would be work vital to the playing and financial welfare of the club.
Any new manager could be appointed on the basis of his being willing to build a side around that policy which had a presumption of including, say, two or three City Academy graduates each season.
The manager would otherwise be free to bring in such reinforcements as he wanted so long as they fitted the club's declared player profile and Kelly could help with that while still doing as much coaching as he wished.
By such an arrangement the club would be guaranteed continuity in their long term aims whatever managers were to come and go but the manager would not feel in any way threatened.
Kelly has shown himself to be a team player who is popular with all levels of City personnel.
It is by no means certain that he wants the managership full time, insisting that he hasn't applied, that he just goes from day to day and that the Board will do what is right for the club.
With the Newell and Cotterill sagas it is hard to believe the Board viewed Kelly as their first choice as manager at the time of Levein's departure, possibly because of his inexperience, but he may have changed their minds now with his on-field success.
However, if that is not the case or if Kelly doesn't wish to be manager, City will surely not wish to lose him after all he has done and not just in the present predicament.
In which case DoFD might be a sufficiently senior and prestigious job to appeal to him. At least it might be worth thinking about.
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