EXCLUSIVE : Howard Kendall Interview

Howard KendallHoward Kendall is the man who built the great Everton team of the mid-1980’s which dominated English football for a few years. He won the FA cup in 1984 and the League Championship in 1985 and 1987 as well as Everton’s only European trophy, the 1985 Cup Winners Cup. He went to manage Athletic Bilbao in 1987, but twice returned to Goodison to manage the club in the 1990s. Managing elsewhere, he once mused, was like a love affair. Everton, by contrast, was a marriage.

Kendall was already an Everton hero before he first became manager in 1981 and was part of the 1960s midfield trio that became known as Holy Trinity, along with Colin Harvey and Alan Ball. He was part of the Everton side at Wembley that lost the 1968 FA Cup Final to West Bromwich Albion, and was a member of the Championship winning side in 1970. Before joining Everton he had been the youngest player – at 17 years and 345 days – to play in an FA Cup Final, when he appeared for Preston North End against West Ham in 1964. After leaving Everton in 1974 he later played for Birmingham, Stoke City and Blackburn Rovers.

But it was in his first spell as manager that Kendall truly earned his place in the hearts of Evertonians, bringing some much needed cheer to Goodison Park, and filling the trophy cabinet to bursting point. It wasn’t all plain sailing however, and his early time as manager was not without its problems. However, just as his playing days at Goodison Park recovered from a traumatic debut, he came through the dark days, and condemned the hard times to the history books .

Described by his first signing, Neville Southall, as the best manager he has worked with “by miles”, Howard’s ambition and plans for the club as manager were matched by his players. Adrian Heath, whom Howard brought to Goodison for a record fee, said that the fact that Howard was at Everton was one of the key factors in his decision. “I knew he would be taking pride in the club that he always called ‘his’ club… he wanted to make Everton the team that they were when he was playing there.” Colin Harvey, who played alongside Howard in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, as well as working as part of his management team on two occasions, describes Howard as simply, “fantastic” while Joe Royle is still mystified as to why Howard was never capped for his country. Everyone I spoke to, fans, players, members of the press, had nothing but praise for Howard and this interview goes some way to explaining why.

I met Howard in his favourite coffee bar on a sunny winter morning, where he relived his career, both at Everton and elsewhere. His love of the club shone through like the sun cutting through the cold outside.

Click Here to read the interview…..

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NSNO Staff

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