The word legend is one of the most overused terms in football. Many seek the prestige and title, very few achieve such a status. Howard Kendall became an Everton legend not once but twice.
As a player he was part of Everton’s midfield Holy Trinity, playing alongside Colin Harvey and Alan Ball, Kendall and Everton were crowned First Division champions in 1970. His place in Everton folk-law was secure, yet Kendall was to enhance his standing amongst Evertonians even further, returning as manager, he overcame a very difficult start to become the most successful manager in the history of one of English football’s most prestigious clubs.
In total Howard Kendall was an English Champion on three occasions, once as a player and then twice as a manager in 1985 and 1987. The FA Cup, where he became the youngest finalist in 1964 was to remain out of reach until 20 years later when in 1984 his Everton team ran out 2-0 winners over Watford. In total he lost 4 FA Cup finals, once with Preston North End at the beginning of his career, and then with Everton as a player in 1968 and as manager in 1985 and 86.
In Europe he was denied success in 1971 by Panathinaikos, the Greeks defeating Everton on away goals in the Quarter Finals. Criminally that was to be his only experience of European Cup football. As a manager he was denied the opportunity to prove his credentials by the European ban. He did lift the Cup Winners Cup in 1985 as Everton manager, however English footballs absence from Europe cost him a place at the very top of his profession.
As the news of his death broke on Saturday I was brought to tears by the loss of a great Evertonian, a great man, a hero to me and many others. Howard Kendall was simply the greatest.