Former Everton and Manchester city manager Howard Kendall has passed away at the age of 69 today. The family of the legendary Toffees boss confirmed he died at around 8am this morning at a Southport hospital after being taken ill last night.
Kendall managed Everton for 10 years across three spells after a successful playing career at the club and is widely regarded as the greatest manager in their history. During his tenure at the Merseyside club he won the FA Cup in 1984, before winning the league in 1985 and 1987.
Flags at Everton's Goodison Park stadium will be flown at half-mast ahead of their match with Manchester United at 3pm. The club released a statement this morning saying that they were "devastated".
Kendall won the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1985 and reached two FA Cup finals with Everton. But he left in 1987 to take charge of Athletic Bilbao and later managed Manchester City, Notts County, and Sheffield United.
He began his career as a player with Preston North End in 1961 and turned professional in May 1963 becoming the youngest player to appear in a Wembley final when he played in the 1964 FA Cup Final against West Ham United. He later transferred to Everton for £85,000, where he went on to make over 200 appearances in "The Holy Trinity" midfield alongside Alan Ball and Colin Harvey, winning the league title in the 1969-70 season, nine points clear of second-placed Leeds United.
But it was as a manager that Kendall cemented his place in Everton folklore after joining in May 1981 as a player-manager. In the 1984-85 season, Everton won the League Championship, finishing 13 points clear of bitter rivals Liverpool.
That season they also won the European Cup-Winners' Cup, defeating Austrian side Rapid Vienna, and reached the final of the FA Cup. Everton failed to win both the League and the FA Cup in the following season but in 1986-87 won the League again, nine points clear of Liverpool, in a golden era for football on Merseyside.
He won a staggering 165 games in 307 appearances as manager of Everton. He is also credited as fostering the careers of great footballers such as Gary Lineker, Peter Reid, Trevor Steven and Andy Gray.