Raymond Kelly (56) secretary of the Aberdeen and District Juvenile Football Association and President of the Scottish Youth Football Association has finally lost his battle with cancer. He passed peacefully away at 11.35am on Tuesday 20 March 2012 with his loving wife Moira by his side.
Only last March Raymond and Moira were married at Glasgow University Chapel. Unfortunately they were not able to enjoy their first Christmas together as Raymond developed early symptoms of a brain tumour.
This was Raymond’s twenty-sixth year in charge of the Aberdeen and District Juveniles. A former Juvenile referee in Dundee Raymond’s job took him to Aberdeen where he continued to officiate at Juvenile matches. (Raymond was one of the youngest persons to qualify as a referee at the tender age of 13).
When in 1985 Arnold Gill stepped down as the Juvenile Aberdeen Youth League Secretary Raymond hung up his whistle to administer the league.
At that time the league was split into two age groups the 11s and 12s on Sundays and the 16s and 18s on Saturdays. The 13s to 15s at that time operated under the Amateur Youth Service under Jack Wood. When Jack Wood was unable to look after that league Raymond stepped in to administer that association as well. At that time this was unique, having a League Secretary operate two leagues under the jurisdiction of different national bodies the Scottish Amateur FA and the Scottish Juvenile FA.
When the Central Grampian League was having difficulty in finding a match secretary Raymond once again stepped into the breach. In 1991 all the leagues under Raymond’s control amalgamated under the newly formed Aberdeen and District Juvenile FA. This was nine years before all the Affiliated National Associations in Scotland amalgamated to form the Scottish Youth FA.
At the time of the formation of the ADJFA there were some 153 teams in the various age groups. This number has since grown to over 250 with the introduction of the developmental seven a sides and more recently 4 v 4 fun football fixtures.
With the formation of the SYFA in 1999 Raymond was an influential member of its executive committee and was elected as Vice President ten years ago. Having spent the requisite six years as vice president Raymond was duly elected to the position as President. Raymond was in his fourth year as President. Again uniquely he was asked to extend his presidential term an extra year to help guide the SYFA with major structural changes involving company law.
During his presidency of the SYFA Raymond was the driving force with the launch of a joint initiative with the SFA to set out a Player Pathway for all the young footballers in Scotland where the size of teams would be determined on an age appropriate basis. The youngest players would start at four a sides and then move to seven a sides before eventually moving at age thirteen to the full sized adult version of eleven a sides. This was something which had been talked about for years and it was no accident that the implementation happened on Raymond Kelly’s watch.
He set in place systems and brought a professional attitude to a voluntary football organization. At times he could be criticised for being over officious but in the competitive world of football it was necessary to be scrupulously fair to all teams and Raymond’s background as a tax specialist showed him that it was essential that rules were enforced without favour.
President of the Aberdeen and District Juvenile FA Neil Paterson said “Raymond’s passing is a major blow for youth football not just in the North East but Scotland as a whole. He was responsible for overseeing the growth of the Aberdeen Association. He was very highly regarded throughout Scotland. His professionalism and dedication has meant that literally thousands of youngsters in the whole of Scotland have been able to enjoy the game of football.
Raymond was real football fanatic. It amazed me the games that he went to watch. Not just juvenile matches but juniors, East of Scotland Seniors, Highland League. You name it he has gone to watch the games. His globetrotting with the Wood Group meant he was able to indulge this passion. He had tales of football matches in the far flung places he just loved the game. Our sympathies are with his wife Moira and his mother”.
Raymond combined his interest in youth football with his job as Technical Taxation Director of the John Wood Group plc. It is a job which took him all over the world but he still managed to find the time to keep abreast of the league’s affairs via the internet and late night transatlantic phone calls.
In his time Raymond has been an executive member and treasurer of the Aberdeen Sports Council. He was a recipient of the SALSC Award for Services to local sport. He was on the SFA North Regional Youth Committee and an SFA Council Member.
Just last year he was presented with the SFA Sunday Mail Grassroots Volunteer of the Year Award for his services to youth football. He had recently taken up the post of Director with Sport Aberdeen
Away from football Raymond was the secretary of the Scottish Branch of the Chartered Institute of Taxation. This was where he met his wife Moira who is the Chairperson of the Institute. In September last year he gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament about the problems of setting a Scottish Tax in a UK setting.
Raymond was Finance Convener of the Holburn South Church of Scotland in Aberdeen. Their marriage in Glasgow University Chapel on March 26th last year was presided over by both the minister from Holburn South and Moira’s parish priest.
Raymond had a great love for opera and classical music much to the annoyance of fellow committee members who shared car journeys to various meetings in Glasgow and other parts of Scotland. However when it was time for the football scores the channel was immediately changed.
SYFA National Secretary David Little said “my first thoughts are with Raymond’s wife, Moira, his mother, and close friend and work colleague, Linda. Raymond’s passing puts football’s minor problems into a far greater perspective and I would urge everyone within the Scottish Youth FA to come together and work for the benefit of the grassroots game, thus leaving an ongoing legacy and a continuance of Raymond’s lifelong commitment to football”.
SYFA West Regional Chairman Peter Glancey said "Having worked with Raymond when I was a Vice Presdient of the Association I admired the time and effort he put into the game for the benefit of others and our thoughts are with Raymond’s family on this sad occassion"