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Everton great Howard Kendall dies aged 69

Everton great Howard Kendall dies aged 69

17/10/2015 at 10:58Updated 17/10/2015 at 11:30

Legendary Everton manager Howard Kendall has passed away at the age of 69.

Kendall began his career as a player with Preston North End, going on to play a part in Everton's league-winning side of 1969-70.

It was as a manger, however, that he cemented his place in English football history, leading Everton to two First Division titles, an FA Cup and a European Cup Winners' Cup in an incredible spell during the mid-1980s.

Everton issued a statement in which they said the club was "devastated to learn of the passing of Everton giant Howard Kendall".

Kendall's early career as a player took off in fine style at Preston where, in 1964, he became the youngest player to line up in an FA Cup final since 1879.

He moved to Everton three years later, where he was a key midfielder in the title-winning side that romped home nine points clear of second-placed Leeds.

Along with Alan Ball and Colin Harvey, Kendall was part of that side's famous "Holy Trinity" in midfield.

After spells at Birmingham and Stoke City - winning promotion with the latter - he moved to Blackburn as player-manager, and then headed back to Everton in the same role in 1981.

He soon hung up his boots to concentrate on management, turning a team that contained players such as Gary Lineker, Peter Reid, Trevor Steven and Andy Gray into one of the finest sides in Europe.

Player-turned-pundit Gray - a mainstay of Kendall's side - paid tribute to him on beIN Sports.

With English clubs banned from European competition following the Heysel Stadium tragedy in 1985, Kendall left Everton in 1987 to manage Athletic Bilbao but was fired two years later after a disappointing spell.

He returned to England to manage Manchester City, but then moved to Everton once more - saying at the time that "City is an affair, but Everton is a marriage".

Success evaded him, however, and after spells in England and Greece he left his final job - with Ethnikos Piraeus - in 1999.

Tributes have already begun to pour in for one of the game's true gentlemen.