‘Tackle This? The Biography of Football Hardman Mick Kennedy’.
For those of you of a certain age, you’ll recall an era when players were allowed to get stuck in, where men were men, and women were left to their own devices, with every team blessed with ball-winner types. Names such as Ron Harris, Norman Hunter and Peter Storey readily spring to mind, though in the Eighties, one player who gained a reputation as the archetypal midfield enforcer was Mick Kennedy, his battles with players such as Vinnie Jones, Terry Hurlock and Jimmy Case enough to make supporters wince. Bookings and suspensions inevitably totted up and Mick was forced to miss the odd game. It’s a tad ironic, therefore, that at Halifax Town, the club where it all started for him, Mick Kennedy played every single minute of every game once he’d cemented his place in the side, and despite his tender age, he quickly learned to master his craft, giving perhaps his greatest performance when Manchester City were beaten here in a third round FA Cup tie in January 1980. Mick went onto serve ten League clubs, having left these shores in August 1980 for Huddersfield Town in what was then a club record fee.
Revered during three-and-a half years at Portsmouth, where he was skipper during his first two seasons under manager Alan Ball (son of the former Town boss of the same name who’d initially brought him to The Shay as a fifteen-year-old in 1976) and instrumental in helping Pompey reach the top flight after two near misses, Mick Kennedy was good enough to win two caps for the Republic of Ireland after Jack Charlton had first taken over as manager in 1986. But for an unfortunate incident on his second appearance, he would have undoubtedly won more. Mick Kennedy later returned to Yorkshire when he signed for Bradford City, before continuing on his travels until retiring as a player in 1994. He then moved to Kilmaley in County Clare, a place he called home, taking up coaching and managing of local teams. Sadly, Mick succumbed to the demon drink and despite battling alcoholism, died far too young in February 2019 aged just fifty-seven.
This biography tells the tale of Mick Kennedy’s life, the scraps and the scrapes, the highs and the lows, with humour running very much through the heart of it, reflecting his mischievous but likeable personality. With much about his time at Halifax Town, there are contributions from former colleagues such as Paul Hendrie, Mickey Bullock, Steve Kindon, Alan Knight, Noel Blake, Kingsley Black, Terry Dolan and Mark Lillis, as well as memories of the fans who watched him at his various clubs, ‘Tackle This?’ Is being published in October by Legends Publishing, retailing at £22.50. The publisher is currently inviting pre-orders, with the reader guaranteed their name in the book’s Roll of Honour. Details of how to go about that are here
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