What Happened To Manchester United’s Weirdest Ever Signing Five Years On?
Defender Andy Kellett became a bizarre deadline day addition to Man United's squad five years ago - a move so unbelievable that even the player thought it was a wind-up.
Angel Di Maria, Morgan Schneiderlin, Matteo Darmian, Radamel Falcao - it's safe to say Louis van Gaal oversaw a few transfer flops during his two-year reign at Old Trafford. But the strangest was a slightly lower-profile player, who caused total Twitter bafflement as soon as his loan move was announced.
Who exactly was Kellett, who'd started precisely one game for his club, Bolton, and why was a world-famous football club snapping him up? Even Sky Sports, reporting live at the time, doubted their sources and at first suggested the 21-year-old was going to Sheffield United.
Breaking it to the left-back was also a challenge. "Sit down Andy, we've got some good news and some bad news," said Bolton coach Garry Parker, who is clearly a fan of The Banter.
The bad news: Kellett wouldn't be returning to Plymouth, where he'd finished an impressive 15-game loan spell. The good news: "You're going to Manchester United."
The club had been linked to various players before deadline day, including Mats Hummels, so the response from United fans was also disbelief - with some joker changing the player's name to Andy 'Cantona' Kellett on Wikipedia. Others sarcastically praised Ed Woodward - so it's reassuring to see how far the club has moved on since.
Someone is having a Laugh on Wikipedia his current club is Manchester United & his name is Andy 'Cantona' Kellet :joy: :joy: pic.twitter.com/5cd6vtRBU5
- Sean Pritchard (@SeanP92MUFC) February 2, 2015
It wasn't just a glorious dream, we did actually sign the one, the only Andy Kellet (me neither). Ed did it again! pic.twitter.com/wzulLZF9Bn
- ManUnitedTalk (@ManUnitedTalk) February 3, 2015
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Truthfully nobody, least of all Van Gaal, saw Kellett as an immediate defensive option. He was reportedly brought in to fill a gap in the under-21 side - the fairytale story being the youngster proving a hero there and opening up a path to first-team glory.
It did not work out that way. After 10 games for the U21s, Kellett returned to Bolton in the summer. His career after that took him to Wigan, Chesterfield, then Notts County in 2018 - before he was released last summer.
"Going to United from Plymouth, it was like two different worlds," he once said of his incredible loan move. "We were in League Two at Plymouth - and it was train on the ground, train on a park... And you go to United and they bring in your food for you and everything like that."
A far cry from Old Trafford's catering, Kellett signed a short-term deal with National League strugglers Fylde in December. He's made two substitute appearances since and the 26-year-old was on the bench when Fylde played Sheffield United in the FA Cup earlier this month - sitting by the Bramall Lane touchline, just like Oli McBurnie, who scored against Kellett's old club Manchester United earlier this season.
It may be a nosedive from his brief moment in the spotlight, but Kellett did what any player would by accepting his amazing United chance. His career has also boasted some high spots: winning League One with Wigan in 2016 and being nominated for Plymouth's 'Team of the Decade' last year.
Perhaps it was this sublime Argyle wondergoal that persuaded United to take a chance on him?
It's as likely an explanation as any for his arrival five years ago, which remains the strangest deadline day move the Red Devils have ever made. Though, given their lack of activity in this window, United fans might be thrilled by a similar move in 2020. Announce Kellett!