“He was a winner” - former team-mate Hendrie remembers ex-Halifax midfielder Mick Kennedy

Mick Kennedy in his playing days. Picture: Johnny Meynell
Mick Kennedy in his playing days. Picture: Johnny Meynell

Former team-mate Paul Hendrie has paid tribute to ex-Halifax midfielder Mick Kennedy, who has died aged 57.

Kennedy made 86 league and cup appearances and scored five goals for the Shaymen, having joined Halifax as an apprentice in August 1977.

By the time Kennedy signed professional forms in January 1979, he was already established in the side, albeit one stranded at the foot of the Division Four.

Kennedy developed a tigerish midfield partnership with Paul Hendrie during the 1979-80 season. And never relished a match more than the FA Cup tie with First Division Manchester City in January 1980, coming out on top against Steve Daley, a player who was, for a short time, Britain’s most expensive footballer.

“Mick was excellent in that game,” recalls Hendrie. “It was the stage for Mick to perform on. Me and the likes of David Evans were a bit older than Mick, but he was a confident lad on the pitch. Nothing frightened him, he wouldn’t hold back on anything.

“He was a good trainer, and he was a winner. I liked that about him. Even in the five-a-sides, he hated losing in them.

“I got on really well with him. He was a young lad but he was hungry, a winner on and off the pitch. A really good lad.”

On his midfield partnership with Kennedy, Hendrie said: “I would say we were quite similar as players because one of us always used to hit the (penalty) box, and the other one would sit in the centre of midfield.”

Town boss George Kirby was desperate to keep Kennedy, but he moved to Huddersfield for a club record £50,000 in 1980.

“Mick was always outgoing. He would enjoy the weekends, but the one thing about him was, on the Monday morning, he never shirked any training.

“The training was always hard on Monday morning, to get the weekend out of you, and he always pushed himself in that.

“He would never back out of a tackle, but there was more to Mick’s game than just tackling. Mick could play, he could pass the ball. He was a box-to-box man, he would be in one box at one end and then back in the other box defending two minutes later. He was a fit kid.”

Kennedy spent two seasons at Huddersfield before going on to play for Middlesbrough, Portsmouth, Bradford, Leicester, Luton, Stoke, Chesterfield and Wigan, commanding fees totalling more than £500,000.

In March 2018 he was inducted into the Portsmouth Hall of Fame, but alcohol-related issues prevented Kennedy from accepting the award in person and it was with great sadness that his death was announced last Sunday.