Former Everton manager Howard Kendall dies at age 69

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) Howard Kendall, who led Everton to two league championships and a European title in the mid-1980s in the first of three coaching spells with the English club, has died. He was 69.

Everton said Kendall died in hospital in Southport, northwestern England, on Saturday. The club did not give a cause of death.

Kendall first took charge of Everton from 1981-87, winning the English league title and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1985, and the league again in 1987. It was the most successful period in the club’s history.

He also managed Everton from 1990-93 and for the 1997-98 season, having previously spent seven years of his playing career at the club.

”It is with great sadness that Everton Football Club has learned of the passing of Howard Kendall,” an Everton club statement said. ”The most successful manager in the history of the club and one of the greatest players to pull on the Everton jersey.”

As well as managing Everton, Kendall also took control of Blackburn, Spanish side Athletic Bilbao, Manchester City, Notts County, Sheffield United and Greek sides Xanthi and Ethnikos Piraeus.

But it was at Everton – specifically during his first tenure as manager – where he achieved the most success, often battling against fierce local rival Liverpool for silverware.

Everton won the 1985 league title by finishing 13 points ahead of Liverpool. Kendall’s side also won the European Cup Winners’ Cup that season and reached the FA Cup final, where it lost to Manchester United.

Liverpool beat Everton 3-1 in the 1986 FA Cup final and also regained the league title, before Everton won it back the following season.

Kendall’s teams in that era included footballers such as Peter Reid, Trevor Steven, Andy Gray and Gary Lineker – some of the best players to represent Everton.

”It was a privilege to play for Howard Kendall’s Everton,” Lineker wrote on Twitter on Saturday. ”Condolences to all his family.”

The league title in 1987 was the final act of Kendall’s first reign as Everton manager, as he departed for Bilbao soon after.

As a player, Kendall was considered one of the best never to play for England.

Together with Alan Ball and Colin Harvey at Everton, he formed a three-man midfield partnership which was nicknamed `the holy trinity’ for its contribution to winning the league title in 1970.

He was signed for Everton from Preston North End in 1967 and also played for Birmingham, Stoke and Blackburn, before returning to Goodison Park in 1981.