COLWYN Bay manager Craig Hogg has led the tributes to a backroom staff member who died recently.

Brian Kelly, who had a long association with the Seagulls, died aged 72 at Colwyn Community Hospital following a long illness.

Mr Kelly worked at W.H Smith in Colwyn Bay for many years prior to retirement, first started following the Bay during 1982/83 season and took on the role of kitman during the early 2000s.

This was a role he assumed more permanently following retirement in 2006 when Peter Davenport held the position of manager. Although there have been substantial changes to staff and player personnel during this time, Mr Kelly remained fiercely loyal to the club, working under no fewer than 15 managers.

The last of those was Hogg, who spoke with Mr Kelly shortly before his passing, spoke glowingly about the much-loved figure and how much everyone associated with the club will miss him.

He said: “We are heartbroken, and everyone connected to the club is devastated with the news of Bryan's passing.

"Bryan was truly part of the fabric of our football club and his loss is hard for all of us at the Bay. He stood for everything that was good about our club through his hard work, his dedication to his job and the genuine love he had for what he was part of here.

"He will be so badly missed, but he will never be forgotten and that says so much about the man. I'll never forget the many good times, the laughs and the great conversations we shared together, sat in the dressing room at Llanelian Road. Those memories are something that will stay forever.

“Bryan had a love for many things and that was so infectious. He loved his music, his football club and being around people. The Bay meant everything to him and he meant so much to us all in return.

“I was fortunate to speak to Bryan before he passed away and I will always be so grateful for the last conversations we had. I know in my heart that Bryan knew how much he was loved by us all. I hope we can take comfort from that as we come to terms with his loss.”

In addition to his tremendous commitment to the Seagulls, Mr Kelly was also an extremely talented musician and a crowdfunding page to cover funeral costs has already received a significant response from the North Wales footballing community.

After a flood of donations from those who knew him, more than £1,200 of the £3,000 target has already been raised.

Former Bay boss Frank Sinclair, added: “Sad day for everyone at Colwyn Bay FC. I have got some really fond memories of kit man Bryan and his bizarre stories. This should be a celebration of his life and loyalty to the football club.”

Anyone wishing to donate can do so here: