"Martin Kelly collapsed and died in London on the morning of Saturday 1st June 2013 on our annual trip to the Chaos Cup, Leyton Orient’s Sixes, and the death of this outstanding young man has been felt both home and abroad among his many footballing friends.
Martin joined the Club in 2009 and made his debut in goals against Ormond Saints on 23rd August.
The team had had an influx of young QP supporters and Martin was brought in as goalkeeper as he was an expert in goals at fives but had little eleven a side experience.
Due to his fives ability he was excellent at reaction saves but he did have a wee problem with high shots and earned the nickname “Safehands” because of this. Over time he did improve with crosses and high shots and he was always delighted to get told he’d done well when he’d plucked the ball out of the air.
During Martin’s first season we went on an awful run of fourteen defeats in a row, which tested everybody’s confidence, but you could guarantee there would be an e-mail or a message sent to me a day or so after a game saying that improvements were just round the corner and to keep the faith.
Eventually we managed to win a few games and Martin achieved his first shut out on a memorable trip to Whitby where we drew 0-0 with the local side. Modestly Martin didn’t include this as one of his best games as he said he had nothing to do.
It was also at Whitby where it was obvious that Martin “got it” as he mingled with the opposition in the pub after our game with his love of football shining through.
At the start of the next season Martin did play one of his best games in a 3-3 draw with Clyde (Bully Wee United) at Holyrood. It was a game where the opposition had about 90% of the play but Martin stood up to all the pressure and earned us a draw.
He never claimed to be any good outfield but at the end of the 2010/11, on a rare foray out of goals, Martin managed to score a last minute equaliser in our post-Sixes game against Posh Youth at Holyrood. Luckily his hair was long as he got the merest of touches to a cross to deflect the ball home.
Another one of Martin’s top three best games was against Perth Hotspurs in 2011/12 when we won 6-0 on the McDiarmid Park astroturf. Although an easy looking victory on paper the game could easily have ended up 12-6 but for some outstanding saves by Safehands.
During that season we played in the Coasters Cup in Oban, one of our favourite away trips, and Martin won the Player of the Tournament after two excellent performances against Coasters and Ormond Saints.
At the start of last season Martin decided to play fewer games as Andy Dick was going to play in goals (and then David Stewart) and he became the Assistant Manager to Andy McNaught.
However, he was always available in emergencies and played in goal at Tain, our furthest ever away day in Scotland. The opposition were a higher class than us and Martin was called into action from the start of the game and excelled to keep the score to 1-3.
Despite not playing that much last season, Martin’s appearances meant he approached the milestone of 100 games. As the milestone approached he was keen to “get it out the road” so that people (ie me) didn’t make a fuss about it.
Thankfully Martin managed to play his 100th game and it was against Calders at Scotstoun when he skippered the side. We started badly and lost two early goals, neither of them the keeper’s fault, and we were under pressure for most of the first half but Martin stood firm and showed some excellent handling, both high and low.
At half time Martin gave way to David Stewart and then took on his Assistant Manager role and I can still see him jumping for joy about ten feet off the ground when Craig McKenna scored to put us ahead.
Sadly this was to be his last game as he passed away just over a week later in London.
The loss of Martin will be felt for ever more as he was a great team mate and friend who was funny, entertaining, clever, modest and wonderful company.
After declaring that he would only play when we were short of players he was looking forward to having a bigger input off the park and his loyalty and love for the team was immense.
The Sixes Weekend was also something that Martin embraced and he was one of the people happy to help with the organising on the day and socialised with all our visitors to Glasgow.
He also loved all the old stories of our early days with the “Drennan Game” in 1987 being a particular favourite and no matter how many times it was retold he still had a laugh about it. In fact he went out of his way to read up on all our past history as he was interested in everything about the team, as he was with all things QPFC and football in general.
Martin’s death is a terrible loss to all of us at the Club but we are lucky enough to have so many happy memories of his time with us.
Iain Campbell 23rd July 2013