October 17th 2015 will be a day forever etched in the minds of Evertonians, it is the day that we lost our greatest ever manager, Howard Kendall. It was such a massive shock for us all as we prepared for the home game against Manchester United.
I was devastated when I heard this news and was praying that it wasn’t true, unfortunately it was true and not a hoax. It is like we have lost a great friend and a family member. We have all read the many tributes to Howard over the weekend and nobody has had a bad word to say about Howard. It was so heartbreaking to see Colin Harvey at the match so distraught during the minute applause and John Bailey was also upset too. Howard was a true gentleman and always had time to speak to people about football, sign autographs and stop for photographs.
I met Howard many times on sportsman nights in Liverpool, Aintree and more recently The Devonshire Hotel. I asked him for a photograph and he said no problem, so I got a photo with him and Joe Royle, then thanked him and shook his hand.
I always found Howard to be very polite and a true gentleman. When he told his football stories, the whole room would stop and listen to every word. I am delighted that I got to meet him on so many occasions but also gutted that I will not get to meet him again.
Howard was a great footballer and the greatest player not to be capped by England. He was part of a great trio with Alan Ball and Colin Harvey called ‘The Holy Trinity’. There is only Colin left now with Alan Ball already passing away. Howard later went on to manage Everton in 3 spells. The first time he guided Everton to 2 League titles and a European Cup Winners Cup trophy too before leaving to go to Bilbao. He returned to Everton in the 90’s but did not have the same success. Howard worked alongside some great footballers like Graeme Sharp, Neville Southall, Pat Van Den Hauwe, Derek Mountfield and Duncan Ferguson to name just a few.
We need to honour the great man in a fitting tribute in a number of ways. Firstly, we could rename the Park End Stand and call it The Howard Kendall Stand. This would be a great tribute to our greatest ever manager. Also, we could then get a statue made and have it placed next to Dixie Dean – our greatest ever manager alongside our greatest ever Centre-forward.
Howard has now joined St Peter’s team in heaven alongside the greats of Alan Ball, Brian Labone, Gordon West and Andy King. Another Evertonian taken from us far too soon.
Howard Kendall gone but not forgotten. Rest In Peace Howard.