The late, great Howard Kendall was born ON THIS DAY in 1946.
To millions of Evertonians worldwide, Howard is quite simply a legend of our football club…but to Simon Kendall he was simply ‘dad’.
Simon, pictured above with Howard on the pitch at Goodison, remembers being a small boy when the realisation hit home that maybe his father wasn’t quite the ordinary bloke that others were!
“It’s surreal,” he said. “At the end of the day, your dad’s your dad and when you’re growing up you don’t think that you’re different from any other family, although of course you’re really proud of all his achievements as a player and a manager.
“He had time for everyone, whether it was an autograph or a photograph and the interest in him from other people gave us a clear indication. As a kid you had to learn to share your old man - and seeing his face across the pages of the newspapers every week was a bit of an indication as well!”
Being a professional sportsman from an early age, Howard Kendall famously played in the FA Cup final for Preston North End when he was just 17, which had inevitably given him a naturally competitive nature, and Simon recalls it being something that his dad brought home with him.
“Absolutely! He couldn’t turn off his competitive streak," he admits. "Card games, quizzes, board games, any sports, he was desperate to win, even against his own kids!
“We had our ways, though. Dad was colour blind and couldn’t tell the difference between red and brown so playing snooker could be interesting as I used to rack up a load of foul points to help me get the odd win!”
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KENDALL ON EVERTON'S EUROPEAN TRIUMPH
One of the perks of being the son of a First Division football manager was the opportunity to accompany him to work – occasions that Simon remembers fondly.
“I used to love going to Bellefield with dad,” he said. “He would give me a ball and tell me to go and kick it about for a couple of hours in the big indoor gym.
“My favourite photo of me and dad was taken with the trophies at Goodison and it’s on my wall at home now.”
Along with every other Evertonian, Simon was hugely disappointed when Howard decided to further his career in Spain with Athletic Bilbao in 1987…and not just for football reasons.
“I lost my dad for a couple of years because he went there on his own. There wasn’t an English school close by that we could have gone to. We would’ve had to have gone to a boarding school in Barcelona or Madrid and mum wasn’t having that.
“It was shame that he had to leave because of the European football ban but it was a great experience in his life and he looked back really fondly on his time there.”
The football world was plunged into deep shock and sadness in October 2015 when Howard passed away and Simon admits to being ‘overwhelmed’ at the outpouring of grief.
“The drive to the cathedral and going past Goodison and seeing the reaction of the people lining the streets was just overwhelming,” he said.
“The amount of people wanting to pay their respects showed how well thought of he was by the people of Liverpool…and not just Blues but Reds as well.
“I was speaking with my wife recently about the fact that she wishes she had some video footage of her own dad, whereas all I’ve got to do is put his name in Google and I’ve got an endless supply of archived stuff.”
Simon Kendall was speaking on the official evertonfc.com podcast, alongside Peter Reid and Adrian Heath. Listen to their full conversation here.
Everton - Howard's Way tells the full story of Howard Kendall's glorious trophy-winning team in the 1980s and tales from Merseyside during that era.
All proceeds from the documentary will go to fund The People's Place, Everton's purpose-built mental health facility close to Goodison Park.
Click here for details of how to watch Howard's Way.