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Life's a beach now for ex-Blue kelly

By Steven Beacom sbeacom@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

FORMER Linfield hero Norman Kelly is swapping life in the Irish League for the beach in California.

FORMER Linfield hero Norman Kelly is swapping life in the Irish League for the beach in California.

The midfielder, who has played all around the world, is taking a break from the game to live in the United States.

Kelly, 32, was in America for most of the summer and is ready to return at the end of the week.

He is back in Belfast at the moment saying his farewells.

Last season his experience helped keep Crusaders in the Irish Premiership.

Before that he was an influential figure for Linfield winning two league titles and an Irish Cup plus numerous other knockout competitions.

Tough tackling Kelly was probably never really appreciated by the Windsor Park faithful for the job he did in the middle of the park during the back-to-back title wins in 2000 and 2001.

The Blues have been looking for a player just like him ever since.

After having a successful time at Linfield, Kelly spent an unhappy period at Glenavon before moving to Seaview.

"Generally I enjoyed my time in the Irish League," said Kelly today.

"Obviously the best days were at Linfield when we won the lot, including two championships, with a great set of lads.

"I was also pleased to help Crusaders stay in the top flight.

"But to be honest after being away in America for the summer, I haven't kicked a ball in four months and I haven't missed playing at all.

"I was at Linfield's win on Friday night and while it was good to see the boys win, I didn't have any regrets about not being out there with them.

"I'm not retiring from football - I see it as just taking a break.

"I used to think all the time about football, now I'm thinking about my long term future.

"My uncle David has wanted me to run his business for a while now in California and that's what I hope to do.

"The business is based on La Guna beach, so hopefully I'll improve my beach volleyball and surfing when I am there!"

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