Raised through the Spurs youth ranks, Stephen Kelly made it to the first team, but rarely got the run in the side he perhaps deserved. Stuck behind his fellow countryman Steve Carr for the right back slot in the Spurs team, Stephen stayed with the club until Carr moved on, but then found himself behind others for the same position.
With a good turn of pace and a willingness to attack, Kelly showed enough pace to recover, although his hard work sometimes was not appreciated. He had been out on loan before making his debut and this marked an interesting year in which he made appearances in all four divisions in England. His time in the first team demonstrated that he could turn in good performances and scored a couple of goals when he joined in with the forward moves. Slightly built, but a good timer of a tackle, he was a regular in the Republic of Ireland youth and Under-21 set-ups and stepped up to the national team during his time at the club.
When Steo did get a chance in the team, injury hit him at the wrong times. Ended 2004 with a knee injury, after suffering an ankle injury in pre-season, but brought back in first game of Martin Jol's reign Kelly did well, but suffered a broken thumb and concussion. His ability going forward had been highlighted when he scored neatly taken goals against Birmingham City and Aston Villa.
This lack of opportunity resulted in a £750,000 move in the summer of 2006 to Birmingham City, where he got regular first team football. During the 2007-08 season, Stephen was the only outfield player in the Premier League to play every minute of every game of the season. With a change in management at St. Andrews, Kelly was once more ousted by new signings and when the chance came to step back into the Premier League with Stoke City, he joined them on loan during the January 2009 transfer window with a view to a permanent move in the summer.
Failed to play many game for the Potters and returned to Birmingham City where he found a familiar face blocking his progress to the first team in Stephen Carr, who had come out of retirement to play for the Blues. With Carr signing an extended deal to play in the Premiership when Birmingham won promotion, Kelly cut his losses and was allowed to leave on a free transfer to move to Premiership Fulham, where Jol was to take over as his manager once more.