Richard O'Kelly joins Dean Smith at Aston Villa

By Matt Maher | Aston Villa | Published: | Last Updated:

Former Walsall assistant Richard O’Kelly has followed Dean Smith to Villa as part of the club’s new coaching set-up.

O'Kelly and Smith have formed an effective team at Walsall and Brentford.

O’Kelly and Smith worked together at the Saddlers until both leaving for Brentford in November 2015.

They are now set to continue their partnership at Villa Park, with O’Kelly having finalised his terms of departure from the Bees.

As with their recruitment of Smith, Villa are understood to have paid compensation for his services and official confirmation is expected in the coming days.

The 61-year-old, who played as a striker for Walsall and has experience of being a manager at Hereford, arrives as a highly-rated coach and will form part of Smith’s backroom team, along with John Terry.

O’Kelly is viewed as having played a key role in the success enjoyed by himself and Smith at both the Saddlers and Brentford.

Terry yesterday expressed his delight at returning to Villa, the club he captained last season.

The 37-year-old, who announced his retirement from playing last weekend, posted a message on Instagram which read: “I’m delighted to be assisting Dean.

“I’m looking forward to taking my first steps into coaching and returning to a club where I have great memories.”


Terry was initially interviewed as a candidate to succeed Steve Bruce, the man who brought him to Villa as a player, following the latter’s sacking.

But while he impressed, Villa’s chief executive Christian Purslow is understood to have felt Terry would be best suited as an assistant.

He was also touted as a potential No.2 for both Thierry Henry and Rui Faria, two of the other names on the club’s initial shortlist drawn up following Bruce’s departure.

Matt Maher

By Matt Maher

Chief sports writer for the Express & Star.


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