PNE legend Howard Kendall was laid to rest at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral today.
Thousands of football fans lined the streets outside Everton’s Goodison Park stadium as the funeral cortege passed the club he served as a player and manager with distinction.
Footballing greats of the past and present turned out in force to pay their respects to the former Blackburn Rovers player-manager who started his career at PNE in 1961 and became the youngest ever player to play in an FA Cup final aged just 17 and 345 days. Former PNE full-back George Ross who played with Kendall in that 1964 final when North End took on West Ham at Wembley attended the funeral alongside England captain Wayne Rooney, Peter Reid, Jamie Carragher, Sir Alex Ferguson, Howard Wilkinson and many more stars of the game jetted in to pay tribute to Kendall who won the league title twice, the FA Cup and the European Cup Winners Cup as Everton manager.
Kendall made Duncan Ferguson Everton captain in 1997 and the striker paid tribute to his former boss by giving a reading from Corinthians.
Kendall passed away aged 69 on October 17 Everton stalwarts Joe Royle, Reid, Graham Stuart and Everton chairman Bill Kenwright gave eulogies in front of the 1,700 strong crowd.
Kenwright spoke last and gave an emotional tribute. He said: “We loved him so very, very much.
“What made him the legend that he was? He understood us. He understood Everton. He loved the camaraderie, the team. He would love the fact that you all came. That’s what made him great. We’ll never get over it. He was a blue.”
Peter Reid was a key member of Kendall’s great Everton team of the 1980’s and later worked with him and then succeeded him as manager of Manchester City.
He said: “He was just a really warm human being and that’s why we’re here. I was just proud to play for him.”
The order of service, which featured pictures of Kendall from throughout his footballing career, had a message of thanks from his wife Lily on the back. It said: “Lily and all the family would like to express their gratitude to everyone for all their kindness and support at this sad time.”
And Ross paid tribute to Kendall before the funeral. He said: “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. Howard and myself stayed in touch over the years. His passing is very sad and he will be a big miss in the football community. He was a great player and manager.”