Danny Kerry’s retirement has drawn a flood of tributes. Pictures: ENGLAND HOCKEY.

The greatest of all time.

That’s what Danny Kerry currently is when it comes to coaching at international level for Great Britain and hockey. And that’s what he’ll probably always remain – unless another genius comes along – despite ending his long association with Team GB and England.

For 17 years the former King’s Lynn Pelican has overseen the sport’s most successful period this country has ever seen and now he’s decided to call it a day. The Olympic champion hockey coach stepped down from his role as the head coach of the men’s programme and left with a string of plaudits ringing in his ears – not that he’ll want to focus on them too much.

In 2015, the former King Edward VII Academy (KES) pupil was crowned one of the finest coaches in the country at a national awards ceremony but chose to deflect the praise to his colleagues and players. It’s that sort of attitude and togetherness that has helped him achieve greatness.

Kerry made his mark with the women’s team.

It was with the women’s side where he really made his mark across two spells. A first Olympic gold at Rio in 2016 made history and came four years after an heroic bronze in London. Sandwiched between those medal-winning exploits the Lynn-born guru masterminded a 2015 EuroHockey Championship title. 

A string of other triumphs, including being awarded an MBE and becoming the country’s hockey performance director, have further filled a glittering portfolio.

“I have given everything over the last 17 years, perhaps at times too much, but I would not swap the life experiences I have had for anything,” said Kerry in an England Hockey statement.

“These moments were when athletes and staff took the necessary leaps of faith required to truly win big. Those trailblazers did the hardest of incredibly hard yards upon which Olympic gold in 2016 was won and on which the current performance programme is based. 

“I believe the level, sophistication, and nature of support the current generation receive is, in a myriad of facets, world-leading. 

“To those trailblazers and all those who have subsequently taken up the baton with the same vigour, I have the utmost respect. It has been a privilege to serve as coach.”

Performance director Ed Barney hailed him a “very special man” of “phenomenal super strengths”, while GB hockey president Sheila Morrow said “Danny’s legacy is so much more than just medals”. 

Kerry may be gone but he’ll never, ever, be forgotten.

Win tickets to evening with Scott

We’re giving our readers a chance to win a pair of tickets for a sold-out evening with Scott Nicholls and friends.

Northwold date: Scott Nicholls.

The seven-time British speedway champion and BT Sport pundit will take to the stage at Northwold Sports and Social Club on Saturday, February 26 (doors open 7pm, 8pm start) to talk about his glittering career. And the only way you can be there now is by entering an exclusive competition brought to you by Your Local Paper.

Our columnist Gavin Caney will be hosting the event – which will include appearances from former King’s Lynn rider Olly Allen and Mildenhall youngster Sam Bebee. For a chance to attend, all you need to do is answer this question: How many British titles has Scott Nicholls won?
A) 6, B) 7, C) 8

Send your answer, with a name and contact telephone number, to Your Local Paper, 29 King Street, PE30 1HA or via email to gavin@yourlocalpaper.co.uk by Thursday, January 27. A winner will be drawn at random and notified on Friday, January 28.

Magic lost thanks to TV games

What a third round it was for upsets in the FA Cup.

It’s a shame that none of the major ones, the type of giantkillings that live on in footballing folklore, were actually televised. I mean, sure, there were goals and some shocks in the games that did get picked for TV. But those are the teams we see on our screens almost every week.

As a matter of fact, Man United and Aston Villa play in the Premier League tomorrow, having locked horns for a place in the fourth round on Monday. We’ve got Leeds against West Ham again just days after they faced off in knockout competition. So did we really need to see them playing in the FA Cup?

It’s incredible to think that not one non-League side found their way on to our screens when A: they could use the exposure and B: the £85,000 fee for being televised would mean an awful lot more to them than it would any of the big boys.

The joy of the weekend came from results such as National League North Kidderminster Harriers, who play one level below King’s Lynn Town, beating Championship Reading. Or League One Cambridge United stunning top-flight Newcastle United.

Hell, even watching the team who are challenging for the title in Lynn’s league, Chesterfield, scoring during a defeat at Chelsea would have been magical. 

It’s just a shame we had to watch the usual performers instead.