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Two men arrested over death threats sent to Oldham Athletic's new Irish manager

Darren Kelly had tweeted about “legend” Martin McGuinness earlier this year.

Darren Kelly celebrating a goal for Derry City back in 2006.
Darren Kelly celebrating a goal for Derry City back in 2006.

POLICE HAVE ARRESTED two men in connection with a death threat sent to Darren Kelly, the new manager of Oldham Athletic.

The club informed the Greater Manchester Police about the threat on Monday, just days after the Northern Irishman had been appointed as the new boss at Boundary Park.

Some sections of Oldham’s supporters were unhappy with Kelly’s appointment, due to a tweet he sent out in February. In the tweet, the former Northern Ireland under-21 defender describes Martin McGuinness as a “legend” and thanked him for retweeting a picture of McGuinness with his mother.

The picture was taken on January 30 at an event marking the 43rd anniversary of Bloody Sunday, where Kelly’s uncle Michael was a victim. 

Two men, aged 27 and 42, have now been arrested on suspicion of making the threats and remain in custody.

“The letter sent to the club made some extremely serious threats to a number of individuals and we are treating this matter with the utmost seriousness,” Detective Inspector Jason Byrne said.

“We are also aware of equally vitriolic comments that have been made on social media and this too forms part of our investigation. We have made two arrests and anticipate more.”

Up until January, Kelly had been working as a coach with the Sunderland academy. His appointment at Oldham, his first managerial role, came as a shock to many. But Kelly has responded to the controversy surrounding his appointment and the Martin McGuinness tweet by saying it “has been blown out of proportion.”

“There is nothing in it whatsoever,” he said. “I have deleted Twitter, though not on the back of that. My account went into meltdown.”

Oldham chief executive Simon Corney offered to refund any season tickets to those upset by the 35-year-old Derry man’s appointment.

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About the author:

Donal Lucey

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