REUTERS – Everton’s most successful manager Howard Kendall, who led the Merseyside club to two English league titles in the 1980s, died on Saturday aged 69.
“It is with great sadness that Everton Football Club has learned of the passing of Howard Kendall,” Everton said in a statement on their website (www.evertonfc.com).
“The most successful manager in the history of the club and one of the greatest players to pull on the Everton jersey. He passed away in hospital in Southport this morning at the age of 69, surrounded by loved ones.”
There was a minute’s applause for Kendall before Everton’s Premier League match at home to Manchester United on Saturday.
During his first spell in charge at Goodison Park, he helped Everton out of the shadow of their more illustrious neighbours Liverpool, winning the league championship in 1985 and 1987, the FA Cup in 1984 and the European Cup Winners’ Cup (1985).
“It’s a sad day for football people, not just Evertonians. I played for him for a year and you could see he was a great manager, there’s no question about that — the most successful in Everton’s history,” former Everton striker Gary Lineker said.
Neville Southall, the keeper for Everton’s two titles under Kendall, added: “A great manager, an even greater man. Whatever I did was solely down to him. Gentleman, friend, mentor.”
Kendall began his playing career as a defender at Preston North End in 1963 before he moved to Everton four years later.
He originally joined Preston as an apprentice in 1961 and three years later, aged just 17 years, 345 days, he became the youngest player to appear in an FA Cup final since 1879.
Second Division Preston lost a thrilling final 3-2 to West Ham United and, although success eluded him that day, he gained plenty of honours after moving to Everton in 1967.
Having been converted into a midfielder, he went on to win the English title in 1970 when the much-celebrated midfield of Colin Harvey, Alan Ball and Kendall — Everton’s “Holy Trinity” — won the title by nine points from Leeds United in 1970.
Kendall was a hard-tackling robust midfielder with a deft creative touch and was widely regarded during his playing career as the best never to be capped by England.
He went on to play for Birmingham City, Stoke City and Blackburn Rovers and had another brief spell at Everton before moving into management at Blackburn in 1979.
He managed Everton in three spells beginning from 1981 to 1987, when he won two league titles, an FA Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup. He returned to Everton, with less success, from 1990-93 and 1997-98.
Kendall also managed Athletic Bilbao in Spain, Manchester City, Greek side Xanthi plus Notts County and Sheffield United, and ended his career back in Greece at Ethnikos Piraeus.
(Reporting by Mike Collett and Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis and Ken Ferris)