1: Paddy Kenny
Feature by Blades-mad
Updated Thursday, 7th October 2004
We set our sights on an established keeper who has represented Republic of Ireland, we of course talking about Paddy Kenny.
1: Paddy Kenny
DOB: 17 may 1978
Signed: 16 September 2002
Debut: at Coventry, 10 August 2002
Previous Clubs: Bradford Park Avenue, Bury, Whitby Town (loan).
Paddy Kenny came to Bramall Lane in the summer of 2002 on a three month loan to cover whilst Simon Tracey recovered from a hernia operation as well as to give cover to then number one keeper Wilko de Vogt.
He started his football career with amateur side Ovenden West Riding before he joined Unibond First Division outfit Bradford Park Avenue in 1997. He was described by then Avenue boss Trevor Storton as a 'young Peter Schemichel'.
During the 1997/98 season he was selected as first choice keeper where he was ever present making 55 appearances in total.
The Horsfall club could see they had a real talent and it wasn't long before the young keeper had trials with Birmingham, Bradford, and Bury. But it was the Lancashire club who would sign Kenny £10,000 in August 1998.
He made his shakers debut the following season but had a loan spell at Whitby Town prior to that. The Seasiders took Kenny on loan on 5 March 1999 where he made his debut eight days later in a 1-0 win at Lancaster City in the Unibond Premier League.
His full Whitby Town games are listed below:
- 13/3/99 at Lancaster City - Won 1-0
- 20/3/99 v Runcorn - Drew 0-0
- 23/3/99 v Bamber Bridge - Won 1-0
- 27/3/99 v Stalybridge Celtic - Won 4-1
- 03/4/99 at Stalybridge Celtic - Lost 2-0
- 05/4/99 at Hyde United - Lost 3-2
- 29/4/99 v Guisley - Drew 0-0
- 01/5/99 at Accrington Stanley - Drew 1-1
After playing his eight games at the Turnbull Ground club he eventually turned out for Bury, he had been injured which is why Bury manager Neil Warnock sent Kenny out on loan to get match fitness rather than sit out in the reserves.
His Football League debut is something to remember as former Blade Adrian Littlejohn set Bury off to a 2-1 win at Gigg Lane on the opening day of the 1999/00 season v Gillingham. That season he was ever present and made an astonishing 53 league and cup games.
However Bury's challenge for promotion was short lived when just five months into the season Neil Warnock resigned from his post to take charge at Sheffield United. Bury FC plodded on as usual though they didn't pull up any trees as they finished 15th in Division Two.
The 2000/01 season was particularly pleasing for Kenny as he notched a further 53 games for his club taking his tally to 106 appearances in just two seasons. However, once again they went no where as they landed in 16th position and watch Millwall, Rotherham and Walsall win promotion from a distance.
He played 44 games the next term, this was probably down to the two red cards he received against Northampton and Cambridge at home. At the end of the season, with 44 points they were relegated.
However, Kenny did not see what life in the basement was like as that summer Neil Warnock finally got his man, he had been waiting until Kenny had enough experience in the Football League before leaping at the chance to sign him. It wasn't a bad tactic but having said that it was dangerous as another club could have got in before United did.
Kenny joined initially on loan for three months but was permanently signed before his loan spell was up for just £42,500. In reality Mr. Warnock should have gone in wearing a mask as from a Shakers point of view it was day light robbery.
He made his debut on day one of the 2002/03 season at Coventry which the Sky Blues won 2-1. With the exception of two games Kenny was ever present, and in the two games he missed was only due to needing a deserved rest.
It was to be a honourable season for the former Non-League player, with the aid of Kenny United beat off Premiership sides Leeds and Sunderland to reach the League Cup Semi-Final only to lose 3-2 on aggregate to Liverpool.
The sun was also shining in the FA Cup, still buzzing from the Anfield occasion the Blades saw off Cheltenham, Walsall and again Leeds to reach the Semi-Final stage, as a Man United fan Kenny would have
been proud to play at Old Trafford but disappointed to lose 1-0 to Arsenal.
Kenny also represented the Cutlers in the Play-Offs, United had finished 3rd in Division One and were entitled to play for a place in the Premiership. They saw off Nottingham Forest quite dramatically 5-4 on aggregate after a extra-time showdown before the humiliation at the Millennium Stadium with that 3-0 defeat to Wolves.
Last season United failed to make the top six as they finished eight, though it wasn't a great season for Kenny either. He missed the majority or the campaign after braking his leg during a challenge with Dougie Freedman in a night match at Crystal Palace.
He came back at the near the end of December, quite a relief after using three different keepers (Lee Baxter, Paul Gerrard and Alan Fettis) to cover. United reached the Quarter-Finals of the FA Cup, losing to Sunderland 1-0 at the Stadium of Light.
It was however at the end of the season that was to be fruitful for Kenny when he was capped twice by the Republic of Ireland against Czech Republic (W 2-1) and Jamaica (W 1-0).
Fans View: What Gray's Ex-Clubs think of him;
WHITBY TOWN (by: bjmje) - I remember Paddy came on loan to Whitby when we were in dire need of players during a season that was sinking fast. He'd been injured & couldn't make it back into his own first team so he came on loan here rather than be a reserve. He fast became a Whitby favourite with his superb displays that inspired his team mates & I know he loved his short spell here. Whitby fans were proud to watch his FA Cup heroics for the Blades & Paddy in return did us the honour of sending one of his Sheff Utd goalie's shirts to the club to auction at a fund raising night.