Everton v Liverpool: Howard Kendall, the last manager to lead the Toffees to the title, recalls the glory days

Ahead of the Merseyside derby on Saturday, the last Everton manager to win the title recalls his Goodison glory days with Tim Rich and how his second and third comings turned sour

Howard Kendall, the greatest Evertonian of them all, is sitting at a bar, sipping coffee, contemplating the kind of thoughts people have when they have condensed their lives between the cover of a book.

His is called Love Affairs and Marriage. The marriage comprises the 17 years he spent in four different spells with Everton. The affairs took him to Bilbao, Manchester City and Sheffield United, and ended messily, as affairs tend to, in Greece. There, in charge of Ethnikos Piraeus, which he describes as "a sort of Greek Luton Town" he had to drag his goalkeeper from the toilets and force him to play. That was when enough became enough. That was 14 years ago.

Kendall is 67 now, long consigned to Everton's past, but things happened to him young. He was 17 when he played for Preston in the 1964 FA Cup final, 23 when he won the league with Everton, 38 when he managed them to the title.

He was 52, (younger than Sir Alex Ferguson was when he won his first title with Manchester United) when he ventured into the toilets looking for his keeper. He is younger than Bryan Ferry, who was preparing to play the art-deco interior of the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall when we spoke.

There is a photograph of Ferry and Kendall as part of the Washington Grammar School team of 1957-58. Ferry "a wimpy right-winger – or so I told him when we ran into each other at the Liverpool Empire" is at the back. Kendall is bang in the centre.

Both their fathers were miners, although Fred Ferry, who had been a ploughman, moved into the mines to look after the pit ponies, while Jack Kendall was forced out by pneumoconiosis into becoming a caretaker in a country school. He was driven to make his son a sportsman.

"It didn't matter if you went to grammar school, the options as he saw it were going down the mines or becoming a milkman," says Kendall. "Alan Ball's father was like that. Bally was obsessed by the need to please his dad.

"When I signed professional forms for Preston, he and mum came down from the North-east to look after me and, looking back, that was one of the most fabulous things they could have done. They left their friends and they left their community."

They moved to Ainsdale, where on the dunes, Harry Catterick, the one Everton manager whose record compares to Kendall's, would oversee pre-season training, watching from his Rover. Compared with Bill Shankly, who has been the subject of plays and novels, Catterick, his contemporary across Stanley Park, remains a shadowy, sometimes repulsive figure.

"You quickened your pace when you saw him. I spent six years under him, he made me his captain. What was he like as a bloke? I couldn't tell you. The people he employed, his coaching staff didn't like him. As players, we were terrified of him.

"His one skill was identifying players and balancing his team. David Moyes has brought Marouane Fellaini to Manchester United and then tries to find a position to play him in. Catterick knew exactly where you would play. I can remember one conversation with him. It was towards the end, he wasn't well and he said to me: 'Everton won't pay me off. They're waiting for me to die.' It's a hard business is football."

Hard and selfish. Between 1979 and 1989 the title left Stanley Park once. No city has dominated English football in quite the way Merseyside did during the Thatcher years when Upper Parliament Street burned in the Toxteth riots and to quote Neil Kinnock, Derek Hatton's Militant-dominated council "hired taxis to scuttle around the city handing out redundancy notices to their own workers".

And yet, while Graeme Souness appeared in Alan Bleasdale's Boys from the Blackstuff and Peter Reid, Kendall's great lieutenant, whom Bleasdale coached at Huyton Boys, wore red boots to celebrate Labour's election victory in 1997, the vast majority of Merseyside footballers were apolitical. They, after all, lived in Formby and Southport, not Upper Parliament Street.

"I got to know Derek Hatton, of course, because he became a regular at Goodison," says Kendall. "He filled a room, you couldn't not like him. He would always come up and kiss me, usually when he hadn't had a shave.

"But we were too wrapped up in football for politics. We were in a cocoon. We knew football provided a release and took away the stresses, if just for a short while. People say it gives you 90 minutes of release but it gives you more than that. You talk about it going to the match, you discuss it in the pub. It gives you the day."

Kendall is renowned not only as the man who won three titles with Everton as both a player and a manager but as a man who returned to Goodison too many times – between 1990 and 1993 and again in 1997-98. It is hard to think of any manager who did better second or even third time around.

When Jose Mourinho came back to Stamford Bridge in the summer, it seemed inevitable Chelsea would carry on as if he had never left. Things proved more difficult. "There were always going to be problems because when I returned to Everton in 1990 the dressing room was split and it will be the same for Mourinho," says Kendall.

"There will be players like John Terry and Frank Lampard who he will know and trust and there will be others who he won't . And if he selects Lampard ahead of someone else, the guy who is left out will think there is only one reason behind it, favouritism.

"Then he will buy his own players and, if it comes down to a choice between Samuel Eto'o, who he bought and Fernando Torres, who he didn't, it will be no choice at all. Torres isn't 'his' player and Torres will know that, too. At Everton, second time around, I felt it was a case of them and us."

Football was changing. In Love Affairs and Marriage there is a scene where Kendall hosts a meal in a Chinese restaurant for his players, who have paid for it with their fines. Slaven Bilic leaves early and hands over his credit card to pay his share and the rest use it to buy lashings of Moët & Chandon champagne.

It was the sort of thing that happened at clubs everywhere but this was 1997 and Arsène Wenger was introducing the kind of regime where nights out at the Chinese were as anachronistic as Jackie Milburn's half-time cigarette and tot of whisky. For a lot of people in football, it was later than they thought.

Gary Speed left Everton for Newcastle early that season and the reasons behind the departure of his captain have not, until now, been properly explained. "Kenny Dalglish [who was then Newcastle manager] had tapped up him and a lad called Andy Griffin from Stoke.

"They both refused to play for their clubs on the same day. Gary Speed failed to turn up for our game at West Ham. Two naughty deals, to be honest. Two players not turning up on the same day? There must have been influence somewhere. I thought that was a terrible way of doing business."

Could you see him...? "Killing himself? No, a lovely lad. He was one of the most level-headed men I ever managed. I remember one evening in Ireland when we talked through everything about the club. He was such obvious management material."

It was a shock and not just because it was Speed. Compared with farmers and professional cricketers, among whom there have been 150 suicides, few footballers take their own lives. I mention Mark Saxelby, a farmer's son who I can still picture scoring 181 for Durham among the spring blossom of Queen's Park, Chesterfield, on the bank holiday weekend in 1994 when Ayrton Senna was killed. Six years later he drank paraquat. "Farmers and cricketers, it's the time they spend alone," says Kendall. "And then there's the winter."

His own career ended in early autumn, at 52. "I did apply for jobs but my heart wasn't in it, the way it had ended at Everton," he says. "I went for a job at Ipswich and one of the board members leant forward and asked me: 'What have you done in football?'"

Howard Kendall won the First Division with Everton in 1985 Howard Kendall won the First Division with Everton in 1985  

Never go back: Kendall's tenures

May 1981-June 1987

Appointed player-manager at Everton after two years in same role at Blackburn. Led the Toffees to First Division titles in 1984-85 and 1986-87, as well as an FA Cup and Cup Winners' Cup, before leaving for Athletic Bilbao.

Win% 53.75

Honours 2xFirst Division, 1 FA Cup, 1 Cup-Winners' Cup

Nov 1990-Dec 1993

Returned to Goodison Park after three-year absence but could only achieve three mid-table finishes. Resigned in December 1993.

Win% 37.66

June 1997-July 1998

In a third and final spell in charge, Kendall only just managed to keep Everton in the Premier League, surviving on goal difference on the final day. Departed by mutual consent, to be replaced by Walter Smith.

Win% 26.19

'Love Affairs and Marriage' by Howard Kendall is published by DeCoubertin Books

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
News
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
science
Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Environment
Sudan, the last male northern white rhino
environmentThe death of a white northern rhino in Kenya has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth