Jack Kelsey

Jack Kelsey

Jack Kelsey was a world-class goalkeeper during the Gunners' barren spell in the late 1950s and early 1960s, playing a total of 351 games.

After joining from Winch Wen in August 1949, the legendary shot-stopper made his Arsenal debut in a 5-2 home defeat to Charlton Athletic in 1951.

Kelsey was a true one-club man. He began and finished his career at Highbury after eventually ousting George Swindin as Arsenal's No 1 in the 1952/53 campaign.

Dubbed "the cat with magnetic paws" by the Brazilian national side, he won 41 caps for Wales - then a British record for a keeper. He was their goalkeeper at the 1958 World Cup, which remains their only appearance at the finals to date.

He also played for Great Britain v Rest of Europe in 1955.

Kelsey displaced two vertebrae at the base of his spine while playing for Wales in 1962 and was forced to retire. He later took up the post of commercial manager at Arsenal, retiring in 1989.

He passed away in London in March 1992.


He was a brilliant goalkeeper whose career was ended suddenly whilst playing for Wales then he helped get the club shop and other things like Arsenal bingo up and running so Arsenal have a lot to thank him for. Also he was such a nice man with time for all supporters.
Colin Ennew, Milton Keynes

"I watched Arsenal avidly in the 60s and early 70s until I emigrated to South Africa in 1976, but I met Jack Kelsey at the Arsenal shop at Highbury stadium in 1982 while on a visit to London. He was a gentleman who spent quite a while chatting to me at that time. I remember Jack injuring his shoulder/arm in a match and then playing out on the wing for the remainder of the match, as this was long before subsitutes. I have to admit I do not remember what game it was though."
Ian Crowhurst, Benoni, South Africa

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