Farewell to PNE legend

Howard Kendall speaks to the crowds on the steps of the Harris Museum after the 1964 FA Cup final

Howard Kendall speaks to the crowds on the steps of the Harris Museum after the 1964 FA Cup final

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Football legend Howard Kendall will be laid to rest today.

His funeral is being held at the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool this afternoon.

The cortege will pass Everton’s Goodison Park, one final visit to the club he served as a player and manager with such distinction.

Kendall made his name with Preston North End, becoming the youngest player to play in the FA Cup final, aged 17 and 345 days.

He was a late call-up to the PNE side for the 1964 final against West Ham, taking over from Ian Davidson who had been dropped for disciplinary reasons.

George Ross played at Wembley with Kendall and remained in touch with his former Lilywhites team-mate throughout his life.

Three years older than Kendall, full-back Ross had no doubt that Kendall would go on to have a successful career in the game after seeing him play as an apprentice at Deepdale.

“Howard being in Preston’s FA Cup final side might have surprised people at the time, but it was no surprise that he made it in football at the level he did,” Ross told the Evening Post.

“He was a magnificent player and the only question was whether he’d play in the back line or in midfield.

“For the 1964 FA Cup final, Ian Davidson did a daft thing which led to him being left out of the squad.

“I’m not sure to this day exactly what he did but it gave Howard his big chance.

“With the talent Howard had, I’m sure our manager would have been thinking anyway about playing him.

“I was three years older than Howard, with my 21st birthday having fallen two weeks before the Wembley final.

“Howard had been an apprentice at PNE and was one of a number of talented young players to come through in that era.

“He was a tremendous lad to play on the pitch with and great company off it.

“With the skill he possessed, Howard was always going to make it in the game.

“To go on and be part of that ‘holy trinity’ at Everton with Alan Ball and Colin Harvey just showed what a talent he was.”

Kendall also played for Birmingham, Stoke City and Blackburn – he was player/manager at Rovers.

The first of three spells in charge of Everton saw the Toffees win the league title twice, the FA Cup and the European Cup Winners’ Cup.

Ross is attending the funeral and recalls his last meeting with Kendall was at another sad occasion.

“I saw Howard at Sir Tom Finney’s funeral and we sat on the coach together on the way back from the Minster to Deepdale,” said Ross.

“We both remarked that the last occasion we had taken a similar route was on the open top bus after the 1964 final.

“That day we had been to a reception at the Harris Museum before going back to Deepdale.

“Howard and myself stayed in touch over the years, it wasn’t every week, but we would have a catch-up every so often.

“His passing is very sad and he will be a big miss in the football community. He was a great player and manager.”