LIKE underfire York City boss Jackie McNamara, former Bootham Crescent coach Darren Kelly is desperately hoping to restore his managerial reputation during 2016/17.

Following the Minstermen’s relegation from the Football League last term, McNamara’s dugout diligence has once more come under scrutiny after the 6-1 midweek mauling at Gateshead.

Kelly, meanwhile, is looking to recover from a “mad” first full campaign in football management that saw him last just nine games at League One Oldham and ten with National League outfit Halifax, before ending the campaign at Manchester minnows Hyde United.

The Tigers were subsequently relegated, meaning Kelly kicked off this season operating five tiers below the division he was plying his trade in with the Latics this time last year.

Hyde started their Evo-Stik League first division north programme with a 2-0 defeat of City’s part-time neighbours Tadcaster last weekend when fellow former City defender David McGurk joined Kelly on the touchlines as the ex-Northern Ireland under-21 international’s new assistant.

Kelly admits that he might have been better served starting his managerial odyssey with Hyde rather than jumping straight from a coaching role at Sunderland’s academy into the pressurised environment of the Football League, but he is now looking forward to proving himself on his own terms.

“It was a mad year to put it lightly,” Kelly said of his 2015/16 escapades. “I had a great job at Sunderland, but Oldham was an amazing opportunity that I couldn’t turn down after getting through four or five different interviews.

“I always wanted to work my way up as a manager in first-team football, but I’ve got my Pro-Licence and I went out on a limb really when I applied for the job. I thought to myself that they had appointed Lee Johnson, who had a similar playing background to me and was less qualified and I was delighted to be appointed.

“I then did my very best and put in 80-hour weeks. We were unbeaten after five games, which I was told was the best start at the club in 25 years but, after two defeats, I was sacked and, I won’t lie, I was absolutely devastated.

“I felt it was so harsh, because I couldn’t bring in my own players. I had Adam Armstrong lined up on loan from Newcastle, but they wouldn’t let me sign him and he went to Coventry instead and scored 20 goals for them.

“I learned from that because, as a manager, you need to be choosing which players the club get in. I also left realising the need to manage up a bit better in terms of being involved with the board more to let them know what I’m doing.”

A 5-1 loss at home to Peterborough proved Kelly’s undoing at Oldham when, like McNamara on Tuesday night, he was barracked by his club’s own supporters.

On that experience, he added: “When the third goal went in and the fans were shouting abuse, I didn’t shy away from it. I didn’t sit in the dugout, but stood up throughout the game to take whatever was thrown at me from every angle.”

Kelly was appointed Halifax chief within a fortnight of his dismissal, but that also proved a chastening experience with heavy defeats against Cheltenham (7-1), Grimsby (7-0) and Braintree (6-3) particularly damaging.

The Derry-born 36-year-old reasoned, however, that he was not given the tools to succeed again.

“When I got the Halifax job, they never told me they didn’t have any training facilities and it soon became clear why they were near the bottom of the league,” he explained. “We could only train at 3pm in Rothwell and a lot of the players couldn’t do that because they worked from nine-to-five.

“We couldn’t work on shape or set-plays, which is a big part of how I like to work. I couldn’t do any of the balls, bibs and cones stuff, so we agreed to go our separate ways.

“The last straw was when we only had seven players for one training session and one was on the treatment table, which was just in a little room at Rothwell. As often happens, that all changed when I left, although my assistant Jim Harvey, who I told to take over from me, still did a terrific job to nearly keep them up and win the FA Trophy.”

Kelly, meanwhile, oversaw Hyde’s second relegation in as many seasons, working under further constraints that have now been removed, as he hopes to finally thrive on his own merits.

“The previous manager at Hyde had released all the senior players and they were just playing academy lads,” he pointed out. “The performances got better but, when the team went a goal down so did the players’ heads and the club were already planning for relegation and this season.

“I now feel I can be judged and, if it ends in the worst-case scenario, at least I know I’ll have done it my way.”

His way – with some help from ex-City favourite McGurk as Kelly admitted: “Dave is an absolute breath of fresh air.

“He was a great defender to play with and I’m enjoying working together again now. If I’m honest, I don’t really see us as manager and assistant.

“We’re more like joint-coaches, because we feed off and complement each other. He could also be playing at a higher level, but he’s winding down and doing his coaching badges.

“He’s very professional and very straight with people. He has knowledge through his experience and is very good at getting messages across.

“With experience, we will only get better through making mistakes because we’re still learning, but I’d like to think that we’re at the start of a long journey together.”

The pair also crossed swords with one-time Bootham Crescent team-mate Michael Ingham last Saturday, who is now keeping goal for Tadcaster. Kelly offered Ingham a player/coach role at Oldham and does not rule out the prospect of all three joining forces in the future.

“Inghy is an outstanding keeper and fellow, who will be an outstanding goalkeeper coach and, if me and Dave do well, I’d love to get him involved with us as well,” he said.

Tadcaster, meanwhile, are being tipped by Kelly to prosper following their promotion from the Northern Counties East League.

“It’s an impressive set-up there,” he enthused. “The Gore family have done an amazing job as owners and are such nice people.

“I went to watch Tadcaster against Spennymoor before our game with them and Matt Gore was the DJ afterwards, which blew me away. He’s a very successful businessman, but he’s just a supporter and what they are trying to achieve there – and will do – is remarkable.

“We’re a good, organised side, who become creative in the final third of the pitch and that’s how we beat them, but I believe they will be up there at the end of the season and they have a good, knowledgeable manager in Billy Miller.”

BACK at Bootham Crescent, Richard Brodie has returned to The Press’ York City Player of the Year leaderboard after a six-year absence.

The 29-year-old forward scored the first goal in his second spell with the club during Tuesday’s humiliating 6-1 defeat at Gateshead and was our choice as star man on a depressing evening.

He collected three points towards the standings, along with an additional two for August’s Player of the Month contest after also receiving the most man-of-the-match votes from our internet poll.

The other players who received points at Gateshead were Clovis Kamdjo (two) and Jack Higgins (one) as The Press’ second and third-highest rated players respectively.

During last weekend’s 1-1 home draw with Boreham Wood, meanwhile, our points went to man-of-the-match Alex Whittle (three), Simon Heslop (two) and Aidan Connolly (one). Scottish winger Connolly won the two Player of the Month bonus points.

The Press Player of the Year standings: Connolly 6, Heslop 4, Higgins 4, Brodie 3, Kamdjo 3, Whittle 3, Fry 1.

The August Press Player of the Month standings: Connolly 10, Higgins 6, Brodie 5, Heslop 4, Kamdjo 3, Whittle 3, Fry 1.

Goals: Brodie 1, Heslop 1, Kamdjo 1, Own Goal 1.

Assists: Connolly 2, Felix 1, Klukowski 1.

Bad boys: Rooney two yellow cards; Brodie, Fenwick, Higgins, Klukowski all one yellow card.