Kedwell – Living The Dream & Leaving A Hero

For many football fans, especially kids, the ultimate dream is to play the game professionally.

That is enough, surely.

But to play the game professionally for the club you support in the town where you were born and raised……

That must be something else.

Gillingham Football Club recently said goodbye to one such man; a bloke who started out with a dream as youngster and then saw it realised.

That man is Daniel Trevor Kedwell.

Born in the Kent town in 1983, he had done the rounds as a non-league journeyman for pretty much all of his career.

Spells in the lower echelons of the semi pro game had seen him take in spells at Chatham, Tonbridge Angels, Fisher Athletic, Lordswood, Maidstone United and Herne Bay.

He was playing the game because he loved football.

But he was pretty good at it.

The 2004-05 campaign saw him finish top scorer for Kent League side Herne Bay, and his 28 goals earned him a move to Welling United of the Conference South.

Just two steps away from the football league.

In two seasons with the club he netted 38 times in less than 80 games, proving again that he was capable of making the step up.

Further moves to first Grays Athletic and then AFC Wimbledon saw him continue to score at a decent rate, and after helping the latter into the promised land of the football league in 2010-11, he got his dream move in the very same summer.

Gillingham agreed to pay £60,000 for him.

He was home.

But could he cut it at league level?

Fourteen goals suggested yes, but the Gills missed out on promotion out of the bottom division, and in the summer of 2012 then boss Andy Hessenthaler was replaced by Martin Allen.

Allen immediately made Kedwell his captain, and how he repaid him.

Eight goals in the opening ten games of the season saw the Medway side off to a flier, and he had eleven goals by the start of November.

A sticky patch followed after his blistering start, but he was bang back in form in the spring for the final promotion push, and nobody will ever forget his strike against Torquay in front of a packed Priestfield to ensure the Gills were going up.

Another goal on the final day versus his former club AFC Wimbledon meant that Gillingham were champions as he finished the campaign with 16 strikes to his name.

The boy who had grown up in the shadows of the stadium was living out of his dream as a full house sung his name on a balmy spring day as his home town club were presented with the League Two championship trophy.

In the following season and a half in League One, the appearances were not as regular and neither were the goals, but another 15 strikes in 48 games was by no means a disgrace for a man who played the game because he loved to play it.

He has now dropped back into the Conference South with Ebbsfleet United, and of course he has already opened his account for the club.

The body may now be slightly battered, the injuries may take a while longer to get over, but the hunger to play the game he loves still remains.

Gillingham fans will long remember him.

That never say die attitude, that ‘I am one of us’ approach, the penalties, and of course that wonderful goal versus Torquay in the spring of 2012.

Thanks for the memories Danny, it’s been a pleasure.

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