The Howard Kendall Award
Everton’s all-conquering Under-18 side capped a glorious season by collecting the Howard Kendall Award at the BT Convention Centre.
Every year Everton Giant Kendall – the Blues' most successful manager – reserves special dispensation to recognise an area of outstanding achievement at the Club.
This year the legendary tactician decided to reward the Under-18 side after their fantastic achievement in claiming the National Academy League title.
Coaching team Neil Dewsnip and Kevin Sheedy admitted they were delighted to be singled out by Kendall, an individual they both know well.
Dewsnip said: “Howard was a great manager and is a great person and I was lucky enough to work for him when I first came here. Obviously Sheeds played for him so for the pair of us it is special to be recognised by him.
“But more importantly, for the lads to receive this type of praise from the Club as a whole, is a great reward for their superb efforts this season.”
After a gruelling campaign in which the Blues won the North West League title the hard way – leading from the front – they entered a four-team national play-off.
Crucial to their title success was a superb 4-0 victory over arch-rivals Liverpool thanks to goals from Eric Dier, Hallam Hope, John Lundstram and Anton Forrester.
Once into the knockout stages it took a wonder goal from Conor McAleny to defeat FA Youth Cup semi-finalists Aston Villa as Finch Farm.
Tom Donegan and Gerard Kinsella had the Blues 2-1 up but Villa made it 2-2 before McAleny’s class told to set up a final against Fulham.
And once again Dewsnip’s side had to show all their powers of recovery as they found themselves behind with just 15 minutes to play.
Adam Thomas’ quick riposte was crucial before an inspired change saw George Waring enter the fray and grab a winner that elevated the Blues to the position of the country’s top youth team.
The Howard Kendall Award was sponsored by O Publishing.
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