OCT
20
2013
Exclusive Interview With Howard Kendall
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Blue Echo Interviews Howard Kendall

Howard Kendall is the most successful manager in Everton's history.

It would be difficult knowing how to introduce this legend without boring the pants off you all. Howard began his association with our great club back in 1967 winning a league championship medal in 69/70.

He formed a relationship in midfield with messrs Harvey and Ball a trio that were ahead of their time.

He returned as manager in 1981 and after a tough time he eventually brought silverware falling like confetti to a club on Merseyside to take some of the attention from its neighbours across the park who had been dominant for so long.

Howard agreed to chat with me on the day of his book launch will and hopefully will get you all hurrying to the shops to buy it for someone with the festive season fast approaching.

Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen please enjoy Mr Howard Kendall. COYB!!

Q1/ JOINING EVERTON AS A PLAYER FROM PRESTON NORTH END, DID YOU THINK IT WOULD BE DIFFICULT TO GET INTO THE FIRST TEAM WITH SO MANY BIG NAMES THERE?

A1/ No, not really. I think the transfer fee suggested that I was bought for the first team. I think Harry Catterick had the sale of Jimmy Gabriel in mind when he signed me.

Q2/ ALAN BALL,  COLIN HARVEY AND YOURSELF FORMED A MIDFIELD PARTNERSHIP KNOWN AS THE 'HOLY TRINITY'. WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THAT?

A2/ Well, that was down to Harry Catterick. 

Colin came through the ranks, Bally was signed after the World Cup from Blackpool and I was brought in for the right hand side. It was the right balance, we weren't coached as we just went out and played to our strengths and ability.

It annoyed some of the other players that we were earning so much attention but we had a great team.

We had Ray Wilson the left back who was part of the team that won the World Cup  with England. Also a number of International players, Tommy Wright, Gordon West  and people like that. It was a great side.

It was a team that was ahead of its time. Bally got 20 goals a season. It had a good balance with Jimmy Husband on the right hand side crossing over to join Joe Royle then I would go over and around the side which we did automatically. It was a great side.

Q3/ WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS ON NOT BEING CAPPED FOR ENGLAND AS COLIN HARVEY AND ALAN BALL WERE?

A3/ Colin only got one which was away in Malta. Bally, got so many and rightly so and deserved them.

I think Alf Ramsey was very loyal to his players who had been very successful under him and he just stuck with them.

Q4/ YOUR MOST MEMORABLE GOAL AND GAME FOR EVERTON?

A4/ I think the first one which was in a ' Derby'  game in the Gwladys Street. It was a bit of a trickle into the far post, Jimmy Husband crossed it and we went on to win 1-0.

I think that's when you are really accepted at a club when you scored in a ' Derby' game.

Q5/ YOU BECAME EVERTON'S MANAGER IN 1981 AND IMMEDIATELY SIGNED 7 PLAYERS. HOW BIG WAS THE JOB WHEN YOU TOOK OVER?

A5/ It was a massive job. You never take over at a club like this when they don't have difficulties or whatever.

When you talk about balance as I mentioned earlier like Colin, Bally and myself the whole squad was unbalanced. There was one left sided player, half a dozen centre halves, it really was unbalanced.

What I did first of all, was I tried to bring Bryan Robson in from West Bromwich Albion but Ron Atkinson the manager there had other ideas for him.

Then I thought I would bring some players in to achieve the balance which I did and we finished 8th which was a movement forward.   But I knew then that was the highest we would go so gradually started making changes again.

Q6/WAS THE PLAYER/MANAGER ROLE A DIFFICULT JOB?

A6/   I didn't want to play here but we had injury problems.

It was the late Mick Heaton who had pushed me as I had played at Blackburn for two seasons. So I gave it a go which I think was four times and we were unbeaten by the way (chuckling).

Q7/ WHAT DID HOWARD KENDALL THE MANAGER THINK OF HOWARD KENDALL THE PLAYER?

A7/ He turned out as a player very well. Fortunately in time as management was successful.

Q8/ DID YOU USE ANY OF HARRY CATTERICK'S METHODS IN YOUR STYTLE OF MANAGEMENT?

A8/ I think we have just talked about balancing the team. Harry Catterick was a person that you never got to know   as he never came on to the training ground.

Q9/ HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE REGARDED AS A  'LEGEND'?

A9/ Very proud of it yes, if that's the case.

I think when I'm doing after dinners and whatever, people ask me how I want to be introduced?

I say "As briefly as possible, just the most successful manager in the history of Everton Football Club" which is a fact and I'm very proud of it and naturally when you are going through your speech, you go through it with more detail.

Q10/ YOUR BEST SIGNING AS A MANAGER?

A10/ Neville Southall

Q11/ THE EVERTON FANS PIN POINT THE CLUBS TURNING POINT TO SUCCESS WAS THE KEVIN BROCK BACK PASS AT OXFORD UNITED IN THE LEAGUE CUP IN 1984. IF YOU WOULD HAVE LOST THAT GAME DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD HAVE LOST YOUR JOB?

A10/  Who knows, only the Chairman and the Directors would know. If we would have lost that game maybe it would have been my last one but we didn't and went on to a very, very good run.

 Q12/ AFTER THE EUROPEAN CUP WINNERS CUP SUCCESS OF 1985. ONLY FOR THE BAN ON ENGLISH CLUBS, COULD EVERTON HAVE GONE ON TO WIN THE EUROPEAN CUP 12 MONTHS LATER?

A12/ You can't guarantee that, I mean when you think about it we could have gone out in the first round to University College Dublin.

There was a lad called Hanrahan who eventually went to Manchester United who missed a chance in the last few minutes and if that was the case we would have gone out on the away goal.

One thing for certain is that the team believed in themselves and believed they were the best.

Q13/ DISSAPPOINTINGLY FOR THE FANS, YOU LEAVE FOR BILBAO. ONLY FOR THE BAN ON ENGLISH CLUBS, WOULD YOU HAVE STAYED?

A13/ There's no doubt about it yes. I had been approached by Barcelona before that but I really wanted a sample going abroad.

I didn't go to Barcelona because Terry Venables decided to stay.

Everton knew all about it and were quite happy about it but it fell through and I was back here and Colin was my number two again.

Q14/ YOU MANAGED IN GREECE AND IN SPAIN. WAS THE STANDARS DIFFERENT OPPPOSED TO ENGLAND?

I enjoyed Spain. I think the set up they had in Bilbao was superb. The Greek experiences are in the book.(Laughing)

Q15/ DID YOU RECOMMEND COLIN HARVEY TO THE EVERTON BOARD WHEN YOU DEPARTED FOR SPAIN?

A15/ No, it was already done. I think the club had decided on that.

Q16/ YOUR BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT IN YOUR TIME AT EVERTON?

A16/ Having to leave the 2nd time. When the club turned round and wouldn't back me on Dion Dublin. They had the money, the deal was sorted and I got a call from the Chairman at the last minute to say the deal was off.

I decided then that I was no longer the manager.

Q17/ BEING OUT OF MANAGEMENT FOR SO LONG, DO YOU THINK YOU COULD DO A JOB IN TODAYS GAME WITH SO MANY CHANGES FROM WHN YOU WERE LAST INVOLVED?

A17/ I don't know. There's a lot more focus on how many passes you have made and how much possession you have had etc...I wouldn't know. Maybe I'm out of my time but today's game is pass, pass, pass.

Q18/ ANY OTHER DISAPPOINTMENTS IN FOOTBALL?

 A18/ Playing for Birmingham City in an FA Cup replay at Maine Road (Manchester) against Fulham (1975). We lost in the last seconds in injury time of extra time. I was captain of Birmingham at the time so I would have been leading Birmingham out at Wembley. That was very disappointing.

Sheffield United in the play off final. we lost to Crystal Palace in the last minute 1-0. Although I knew I was coming back here I would have liked to have left Sheffield United in the top flight.

Q19/ THE BOOK " LOVE AFFAIRS & MARRIAGE: MY LIFE IN FOOTBALL" HOW DIFFERENT IS IT FOLLOWING ON FROM YOUR PREVIOUS TWO BOOKS?

 A19/ You'll find out. It's a good read. There are some points I have put in this one which I couldn't do when I was involved. The stories are good and the photographs are excellent as well.

Q20/ALAN BALL ONCE TOLD ME THAT THE BEST PLAYER IN HIS POSITION WAS TONY KAY. WHO WAS YOURS?

Q20/ Without question, the lad at Leeds United. Billy Bremner

Howard Kendall's autobiography, "Love Affairs and Marriage" is avaiable now from all good book shops. 

You can get a signed limited edition online at deCoubertin Books

Email Bluekipper at enquiries@bluekipper.com

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