Paul Vanes writes:
Former Brakes defender Gerry Kavanagh passed away in his sleep following a long fight with Parkinson’s decease.
He began his career playing as an amateur with Moor Green straight from school and spent six years with the Moors leaving early in 1970 moving to Nuneaton Borough where, after turning professional, he made 43 appearances and scored two goals.
When Stan Aston joined Rugby Town, Gerry followed him for 1971/72 season but it was his next journey that brought him acclaim as he helped propel Atherstone Town in 72/73 to the runners-up spot in the Adders first season in the Southern League and he was voted the club’s “Player of the Year”. Town finished in eleventh place in the Premier division the following season and 14th in 1974/75.
With Rugby Town closing down, Gerry left Atherstone in the close season joining several of his former Rugby team mates who had moved to AP Leamington and he stayed three seasons at the Windmill ground. In 1975/76 the Brakes were promoted to the Premier division after ending in second place and reached the first round proper of the FA cup losing 3-2 at home to Stafford Rangers. He made 51 appearances scoring 7 goals.
In 1976/77 AP made a successful start to their Premier division campaign by reaching 12th spot on the ladder and were knocked out of the Birmingham Senior cup losing by the odd goal in three to Atherstone Town in the semi-final. Gerry played 53 games and netted 8 goals.
Gerry’s final season was in 77/78 and although Brakes slumped to 18th position in the league, the club reached the second round of the FA cup taking Southend to a replay at Roots Hall. The Brakes also got to the semi-final of the Birmingham senior cup losing – in another replay – to Nuneaton Borough. He played at least 46 games and found the net twice. Gerry was the club’s penalty crack shot.
Gerry became Mr, Kavanagh when he took over as manager of Solihull Borough the following season but was back at the Windmill ground in December 1981 as assistant to the legendary Graham Allner but at the end of the season Gerry was forced to leave due to work commitments.
When Harry Redknapp joined the Brakes in 1977 he made friends with Alan Jones and Gerry and coming back from an away trip, the trio were huddled towards the back of the coach enjoying a card school. When they arrived, Harry asked the manager for a sub as the duo had cleaned him out of his Leamington wages.
After 33 years, imagine the surprise when Harry phoned Alan at his Kings Norton home and agreed to meet up with Gerry and Alan at St. Andrews when Spurs came to play Birmingham City in December 2010. The duo were given VIP tickets for the game and there was much talking about the good old days before it was time for Spurs to leave.
Before he finally hung up his boots, Gerry could be found playing in the Birmingham Works Football League alongside Alan Jones and Mick Keeley.
Those were great days with some great players.
Rest in Peace Gerry.
Gerry’s wife pre-deceased him by many years.
We hope all members of Gerry’s family and his many friends will accept our deepest condolences and sincere wishes on behalf of all Brakes Trust members and the fans of Leamington Football Club.
Update Tues 4th March:
The service is due to be held at Lodge Hill Crematorium (Selly Oak) at 11.30am on Thursday 13th March with drinks after at Kings Norton Golf Club.