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RIP Howard Kendall

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imageVery sad to hear of the death of Howard Kendall today, aged 69.

Kendall rose to prominence when, at 17 years and 345 days, he became the youngest player to grace a Wembley FA Cup final when he turned out for boyhood club Preston in their 1964 defeat by West Ham. He went on to be part of one of the finest midfields of his generation, alongside Alan Ball and Colin Harvey, part of the famed ‘holy trinity’ in an Everton side that won the 1969-1970 First Division title.

His playing career, though, never reached the heights that many predicted when he stepped on to the Wembley turf. He was never capped by England, although represented them at schoolboy, youth and under-23 levels.

Undoubtedly Kendall’s best achievements came when he returned to Goodison Park in 1981 as manager.

Kendall would oversee the club’s most successful era in which the Toffees became a powerhouse of British football, leading them to two First Division titles, an FA Cup and a European Cup Winners’ Cup during the mid-1980s and if it wasn’t for the European ban at that time Everton would have with any doubt won the European Cup.

Kendall’s real skill was in the transfer market signing Trevor Steven, Peter Reid, Andy Gray, Gary Linekar, Dave Watson and Paul Power and was set to enter a Fergie type destiny (before Fergie) but was frustrated at the lack of European football and went to Spain to manage Athletic Bilbao.

He did return in the early 1990’s to rescue the Toffees from relegation but left Goodison for a third time in 1993.

Kendall played for Preston, Birmingham, Stoke and Blackburn, before also managing Blackburn, Athletic Bilbao, Manchester City, Notts County, Sheffield United and Greek sides Xanthi and Ethnikos Piraeus.

RIP.

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