Howard Kendall

Howard Kendall
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Howard Kendall

Current Club/Country: N/A.

Previous Clubs/Countries: Ethnikos Piraeus, Everton, Sheffield United, Notts County, Skoda Xanthi, Everton, Manchester City, Athletic Bilbao, Everton, Blackburn Rovers (as player-manager).

Honours: English League Title 1986/87, 1984/85. FA Cup 1983/84. UEFA Cup Winner's Cup 1984/85.

When Kendall first took the job of Everton manager, it was in a period of dominance by near-neighbours Liverpool, and he stepped into what looked an impossible job. Yet he managed to turn a dream into reality by, albeit briefly, knocking Liverpool off their perch long before Alex Ferguson. It was Kendall's managerial acumen and man-management skills that saw Everton match and even better the great Liverpool sides of the time.

Tactically he was fairly flexible, though almost always within the framework of a 4-4-2 formation, suiting his tactics to the players at his disposal. When he had the aerial prowess of Andy Gray and Graeme Sharp up front, the plan was to get ball to the byline and cross for them to get their heads on it. When Gray was replaced by Gary Lineker, that was no longer the key, Lineker was exceptional in his movement and liked a ball over the top to run onto, so Kendall adjusted the team tactically.

Kendall was very good at spotting players that would work well with what he had and had the right temperament and attitude, as well as skill level. His key strength was his ability to get the most out of his players, they adored him and would run through brick walls for him, as he proved that nice guys can be winners.

He was very much a nice guy, as my uncle would say, they were close friends, if you needed someone to be there for a charity event Howie was the first man to call. Kendall did not need fear to drive players on, he had their loyalty because they knew he would go to the ends of the earth for them.

Unfortunately for him, alcohol beat him and it was the reason his career at the top end ended so early, when he should have been leading teams to glory still. It was his big weakness. Despite that, he missed the chance to go down as one of the greatest managers of all time through no fault of his own when English clubs were banned from Europe, when he had the chance to go for the European Cup.

It was that which caused him to leave his beloved Everton, in an attempt to chase European glory, though he did show an error in judgement in his choice of Bilbao. That was a big weakness of his, the choice of teams to manage, as he would often let heart rule head and pick a team because of that, which is why he returned to Everton twice when they were no longer in a position to match the club's ambitions, no matter who was managing them.

He was a victim of his own previous success at the club, with no hope of achieving the goals that were hoped for in the circumstances he found the club in. That tarnished his reputation unfairly, when he was doing as well as could be expected it was not viewed as an achievement because of the trophies he had won in his first spell. He deserves to be viewed in a better light, as one of the most successful English managers of all time.

Requested by Taurus01