Ten years from petrol station worker to League Two team of the year
Promotion-chasing former petrol station attendant Kelvin Mellor has been named in League Two's team of the year.
Mellor, now aged 26, has shone at right-back for Blackpool this season – a decade after he became one of Nantwich Town's youngest ever players as a debutant against Brigg Town, while holding down a job at a petrol station in West Street, Crewe.
He went on to polish his development in the Crewe Alexandra academy, breaking through to have an action-packed spell at Gresty Road and leaving to Plymouth Argyle in 2014 as a double Wembley winner. He moved to Bloomfield Road last summer and his side now sit seventh, in the final play-off spot, with three games remaining.
Mellor had only made five sub appearances when Steve Davis, who had handed him his chance at Nantwich, took charge at the Alex in League Two in November 2011. Three more cameos followed before he was handed his first start in March 2012.
Nine appearances later he was walking out at Wembley, helping the side win promotion to League One via a Nick Powell stunner.
Mellor told the Sentinel earlier this season: "I remember that time well. I had only just got in to the team, I was fortunate to stay in the team and I think it was 19 unbeaten games and we ended up finishing seventh and then playing in the play-off final at Wembley. That was a great achievement and obviously with the team we had it was great to play with those players and it was an unbelievable feeling.
"I was there for a few years and I grew up with a lot of those players, we'd got a good bond and it was nice to get there with them and win the play-off final."
Mellor added: "The second time wasn't as good as the first, but the same sort of feelings were there.
"We weren't as nervous, but some people never get the chance to play at Wembley once, never mind twice in a few months, so it was really, really exciting. We went through the same process and it was really good. I had definitely had to pinch myself. It hit me more after the game when I watched it back, thinking, 'Wow, I've just played there.' You obviously see England play there and the top, top players playing there and it's an unbelievable achievement in my career and I'll always remember."
In between those two Wembley wins came a summer of uncertainty over whether he would sign a new deal with the club amid interest from Derby County. Rams boss Nigel Clough thought he had his man, only for Mellor to stay with the Alex and extending his contract to 2014.
"I had only just got in to the team at Crewe and I was not sure with the Derby thing whether that was going to be with their first-team or not," he explained.
"Speaking to my family, they were unsure of me going, and I just came to a decision that I really wanted to play football and in the first-team. I had only had a small taste of that and I thought it was the right decision to stay with Crewe and try to further my career that way."