Everton manager Howard Kendall at the final of the European Cup Winners' Cup at De Kuip stadium, Rotterdam, 15th May 1985. Everton beat Rapid Vienna 3-1 to win the cup.

David Cannon Getty Images

Everton's greatest-ever manager Howard Kendall has died at the age of 69.

Kendall won the title with the club as a player in 1969 as part of the famous 'Holy Trinity' along with Alan Ball and Colin Harvey, but undoubtedly his best achievements came when he returned to Goodison Park in 1981.

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Within three years he had won the First Division championship, repeating the feat in 1987, while also winning the FA Cup and European Cup-Winners' Cup in the club's most successful era in which the Toffees became a powerhouse of British football.

"It is with great sadness that Everton Football Club has learned of the passing of Howard Kendall," said a statement from the club.

"The most successful manager in the history of the club and one of the greatest players to pull on the Everton jersey, he passed away in hospital in Southport this morning at the age of 69, surrounded by loved ones.

"The thoughts of everyone associated with the club are with Howard's family at this difficult time and it would be appreciated if everyone could respect their request for privacy."

Although he is best remembered for his time at Everton, County Durham-born Kendall also had spells at several other clubs.

A midfielder, he played for Preston in the 1960s, and Birmingham, Stoke and Blackburn in the 1970s, prior to a stint as player-manager of the Ewood Park club from 1979 until 1981.

He returned to Goodison Park in May 1981 as player-manager, before hanging up his boots.

After initially failing to spark an upturn in fortunes, a late goal in a League Cup tie at Oxford proved the catalyst and they reached the final of that competition before winning the FA Cup.

The following season they won the league title, finishing 13 points clear of runners-up Liverpool, and the European Cup-Winners' Cup, defeating Rapid Vienna, while losing the FA Cup final to Manchester United.

Liverpool pipped them to the title and FA Cup the following year - before Kendall's Toffees regained the Championship.

He left in 1987 to manage Athletic Bilbao and further management spells followed at Blackburn, Athletic Bilbao, Manchester City, Notts County, Sheffield United and Greek sides Xanthi and Ethnikos Piraeus - as well as two more stints at Everton.