Later, the Everton chairman Dr David Marsh confirmed the news. Marsh entered the press room with a grim- faced Kendall at his side and said: 'Everton and Howard Kendall jointly announce that his position as manager with the club has been terminated by him in accordance with the terms of his contract. That is all we are prepared to say at the moment.'
Kendall declined to comment but indicated that he would be making a statement today. Everton are currently 11th in the Premiership and lost in the fourth round of the Coca- Cola Cup in midweek, beaten
2-0 at home by Manchester United.
Kendall was quoted last night at 33-1 by William Hill to be appointed the next England manager. The former Everton playmaker Peter Reid, ironically now at Southampton, is a leading contender to take over at Goodison, followed by Steve Coppell and Joe Royle.
Kendall's time at Everton has had its ups and downs to say the least. When quitting Manchester City to return to Goodison Park in 1990, he said his spell at Maine Road had been a love affair; Everton was a marriage. Last night's divorce was only a matter of time as his side proved itself unable to reach the high standards demanded by fans.
Kendall, like his understudy Colin Harvey, is part of the fabric of the club. As a player he won the League Championship in 1970; during his first spell as manager - from 1981 to 1987 - he won the League twice (1985 and 1987), was runner-up in 1986, won the FA Cup in 1984, was beaten finalist in 1985 and 1986, and, to the ultimate delight of Evertonians jealous of their all-conquering rivals across Stanley Park, Kendall captured the European Cup- Winners' Cup in 1985. For these achievements he was given the Manager of the Year award in 1985 and 1987. On the back of this success, he left Everton in the hands of Harvey to take over at Spain's Athletic Bilbao. After two years abroad he came back to England, taking over at Manchester City.
Meanwhile, Harvey had been failing to impress as manager at Goodison. The fans were eager for Kendall to return and, in what many saw as a dream ticket, he came back with Colin Harvey demoted to deputy. But the glory days were never to return, and from early this season many thought Kendall's days were numbered.
Tony Cottee, scorer of the winning goal against Southampton yesterday, said Kendall told the players nothing of his plans to resign after the match, saying just: 'Well done, good win.' Cottee added that he heard the news on his car radio as he drove home and it had come as a total shock.
'I thought if he was going to quit he might have gone after the Manchester United match but he didn't. He stayed and he had seemed quite happy,' said the pounds 2 million striker.
His last match as manager of Everton highlighted the club's recent plight, even if it brought them only their second win in their last 10 Premiership games. A crowd of 13,667 was Everton's worst for a League match for almost 10 years. Kendall's failure to bring a top-class striker to his lightweight side had strained the fans' patience.
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