Unsung Heroes in Blue & White – Paul Kerr

City fan David Cockcroft reflects on the short-lived but vital City career of Paul Kerr.

Paul Kerr arrived at Leicester City on a loan deal during Brian Little’s tenure at the club. It was a significant season, the 1993/1994 ‘Silence of the Rams’ campaign.

Kerr may have only made seven appearances in total but his bit part role played an important part in Little’s pursuit to the Premiership that year.

Kerr notched up two City goals in his short spell and was well liked around the terraces of Filbert Street throughout his stay. His small build was made up for with battling and at times quite skilful showings.

Kerr filled in at a period when City’s long season in the Endsleigh League Division One was taking its toll on a tough tackling and hard working squad.

Steve Walsh was of course injured for the majority of the season due to his cruciate ligament injury and with a midfield consisting of Mark Blake, David Oldfield, Steve Thompson and Colin Gibson, at an average age of 28.5, freshness was needed to keep the promotion push on track.

Little achieved this by adding Kerr to the Leicester books, bringing him in from Port Vale. Kerr, although not a household name, was highly regarded at Vale who had signed him from Millwall for a not inconsiderable £140,000.

When you compare that amount of money in 1992 to the then English transfer record of £5,500,000, paid by Lazio for Tottenham’s Paul Gascoigne, you can appreciate that Kerr’s last transfer carried a fair bit of weight in the lower echelons of English football.

Kerr enjoyed minimal success as a professional but was coming to Leicester on the back of what would be his greatest feat as a player.

Kerr was part of the 1993 Football League Trophy winning Port Vale side. The midfielder helped the Valiants see off Stockport County at Wembley to pick up the trophy. He was also one of the goal scorers that day, guaranteeing his name in Port Vale folklore. Ask any Vale fan now and they’re sure to reminisce about Kerr alongside fellow scorer Bernie Slaven when recalling their successful seasons of the early 1990’s.

Portsmouth born Kerr had other flings with the Old Wembley, scoring a goal in the 1990 Zenith Systems Data Cup semi-finals against his former club Aston Villa to take Middlesbrough to the twin towers for the first time in their history.

City too of course made it back to Wembley in the season of Kerr’s loan and although not a Leicester player when we did make it back to the twin towers for the third successive season, Kerr’s involvement here was vital.

It was against his hometown club on a wet Tuesday night in April 1994 when his most notable contribution came. Wearing the all gold strip with LCFC stitched proudly under the neck, Kerr was thrown into battle. At a point of the season where results were of huge importance away from home if you were going to make the top six, Kerr scored one of his two goals for Leicester.

That night, in a hard fought display, City came away from Fratton Park with a 1-0 win and the promotion hopefuls had the scent of Wembley in their nostrils again.

His loan move to Leicester though was to be the beginning of the end of his playing career. On returning to Vale Park after his handful of games for the Foxes Kerr was released, finishing his football at Wycombe Wanderers. He scored on his debut for the Chair boys, but this proved to be his only appearance for the club before Kerr was forced to retire prematurely at 30 with a back injury.

Kerr’s football days are now long behind him. Instead of staying in the game and moving toward coaching and managerial roles like many of his peers, he opted to become a financial consultant to the PFA. In 2002 his later career accelerated when he founded Paul Kerr Associates, which helps professional footballers manage their finances in preparation for their retirement from the game.

An ex-footballer turned Principal Consultant for his own finance consultancy? Not your average story I’m sure you’ll agree, but who said footballers had no brains?

Kerr is remembered fondly at Port Vale and in my mind here at Leicester City too. The 1993/94 season will always stand out for me as a Leicester City fan and every player that took part in that campaign should be appreciated.

From Joachim to Walsh, Grayson to Coatsworth, Carey to Kerr they all played a role in the eventual silencing of the Rams.

David Cockcroft is a part time football writer and blogger that hails from Leicester. He has supported Leicester City since he was presented with an unknown blue Bukta top that looked suspiciously like an oversized bag of cheese and onion when aged 7. He was taken to see Leicester play Oxford United in 1991, standing by what was referred as ‘the wall’ before the Carling Stand was erected.

With Paul Ramsey warming up at arms length and the likes of Steve Walsh, David Kelly and Tommy Wright playing close by, David had signed for life as a fan. His favourite player of all time is Steve Thompson, big ears, big player, and his current favourite in blue is Ritchie Wellens.

You can follow David on Twitter.

Who are your unsung heroes, and why? If you’d like to write a guest post about them leave a comment below.

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