Introducing Hayden Kelly (and the Hayden Kelly Scholarship)




A short while back I received a late-night email, out of the blue, from a bloke who’d been reading another KB Hill story or one of the memoirs or perhaps the newsletter. It was Hayden Kelly and it led to a chain of communication.


In that first email, he offered to make a contribution to the Almanac cause.  Straight up!


Eventually we nutted out an approach: I am very happy to introduce Hayden and the Hayden Kelly Scholarship. Two students will be paid to be interns which means they will do some editing and posting, and some writing. With the writing, each student will produce a couple of features.


Thank you Hayden. This really is very helpful – and, as has been the case with the Peter Stirk Scholarship, the students derive enormous benefit.


Anyway, one email led to another. I could tell from how Hayden put his emails together, that he has a natural gift for writing himself – one of those people who can throw together a note in an instant, with a laugh and some insight, all while making what is a timely comment. Which is what he likes to do reasonably regularly – more on The Muse in due course. Like many at the Almanac, he has an eye for human folly, and a respect for the things that matter.


So who is Hayden Kelly? Well, he’s a Wycheproof boy, with pubs in his heritage. No doubt there’s a story there. He played in the Under 16 premiership for Wycheproof-Narapoort in 1969 – Merv Keane was captain. He came to Melbourne and ended up playing around 150 games for West Footscray in the Footscray District League [tough footy] and around 100 for Keilor in the Essendon District. His own assessment: “I was a good enough to always get a game in the firsts but not good enough to influence the outcome of many games.”


He is still involved at Keilor where he is Chairman of the Sports Club which oversees Keilor Football Cricket and Life Activities Clubs as well as running the Keilor Gift every year. (An event well known to quite a few of our readers). He’s a massive Western Bulldogs fan.


He has had a very successful professional life in telecommunications and IT, with Phoenix Consulting (his own company). He married a Maidstone girl and they have two daughters, and a couple of grandkids now too.


From an early age he loved reading the sporting pages of the Sun, the Herald, the Age and the Sporting Globe. Accordingly a diet of Kevin Hogan, Jack Dunn, Alf Brown, Percy Beames et al cemented his love of the written word. He’s always had an interest in writing but it’s only been over the past five years he’s had the time to put some energy into it. Hence the emergence of The Muse with its signature introduction ‘After a couple of Abbotts longnecks and a Capstan ready rubbed…’


He has shares in several horses: some are fast, some are average, some are slow and they all cost the same to feed.


In his latest email to me Hayden says:


“Why did I make the offer re the donation? For no other reason than I enjoy reading the Almanac and one night I was enjoying the read and it crossed my mind these guys work so hard to put this together and they  must be surviving on the ‘smell of a shitty rag right now’. Really pleased you suggested a scholarship as I do like to help kids when I can.  There is no reason it can’t be an annual donation by the way.”


Welcome Hayden.






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About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears (appeared?) on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three school-age kids - Theo, Anna, Evie. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst four. His ambition was to lunch for Australia but it clashed with his other ambition - to shoot his age.


  1. Colin Ritchie says

    Terrific gesture Hayden, welcome to our fabulous community!

  2. Fabulous stuff, Hayden.

  3. Luke Reynolds says

    Absolutely fantastic Hayden, wonderful gesture, welcome to the Almanac!

  4. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Bewdy Hayden. Thanks.

  5. Hayden Kelly says

    Thanks for your welcomes ,much appreciated .

  6. Shane Reid says

    What a great gesture. I’m newish to the Almanac but really appreciate the generosity of those who contribute in so many ways. Thank you Hayden.

  7. Brilliant. Grand contribution Hayden. “Capstan ready rubbed” reminds me of Mr Wrap’s profile with “Craven A corked tipped”. Welcome aboard to a place where the past lives anew every day.

  8. Rulebook says

    Awesome,Hayden welcome aboard

  9. E.regnans says

    Welcome Hayden.
    What a magnificent & generous offer.

  10. Paul Garth says

    Geez, small world .. I told Johnny Raffle he should put his article on Williamstown into the Almanac last week and now I see my old team mate from West Footscray halcyon days providing great support. Well done Hayden! .. cheers, Garthy

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