Remembering Howard Kendall's days as Athletic Bilbao manager

24/10/2015  3 Comments  [Jump to last]

Sid Lowe on the Everton legend's time in Basque country and the club that came a close second to the Toffees in his heart.

The day Howard Kendall said goodbye to Athletic Club in 1989, there were tears in his eyes. "If I go to England, or to any other club, it will [be a step] down; this club is the best," he said. He had been manager in Bilabo for two and a half years and the time had come to go – he was convinced of that and so was the club -- but leaving hurt. He returned often and talked about it constantly.

» Read the full article at ESPN FC

Reader Comments (3)

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Brian Hill
1 Posted 25/10/2015 at 05:40:47
Great article. If you haven't read it, please take the time to do so.
Peter McHugh
2 Posted 26/10/2015 at 16:44:42
Sounds like a fantastic club. Call me a defeatist but there's more to football than winning. That's why I hate any of our players diving.
Gavin Johnson
3 Posted 30/10/2015 at 00:13:40
A great article. I lived and worked around the Santurtzi area of Bilbao for around 18 months.

When I got talking to people and they discovered I supported Everton, the conversation would invariably turn to Howard Kendall. I never heard one bad word from anyone. There was always warmth in their recollections and I discovered that HK often returned there and he was fond of the Rioja wine which sounded about right.

I used to go into a bakery on a morning and the owner had a framed poster of a Bilbao v Everton friendly (probably when Colin Harvey was manager). I tried to buy it off him loadsa times, but no such luck.

Bilbao are unique for just having Basque region players, but it's what sets them apart. They're very proud of their identity and the club are an extension or embodiment of who they are. Athletic's colours are everywhere, with red and white stripes adorning nearly every garage door you see.

The article is also right about the San Mames atmosphere. The ground has a similar feel to Goodison and I can understand why HK felt so at home there.

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