Mick Kennedy: My Pompey tackling style is history

Mick Kennedy puts in a determined challenge against Oldham
Mick Kennedy puts in a determined challenge against Oldham
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Mick Kennedy believes his brutal brand of tackling has been consigned to football’s ‘history’.

As a midfielder, he was a much-feared competitor with a whole-hearted win-at-all-costs approach.

My aim was to win the ball to start with, but sometimes you wouldn’t actually get the ball, so it went missing for a couple of seconds

Mick Kennedy

Inevitably, sending-offs and suspensions were a regular feature of his seasons, particularly at Fratton Park.

The 56-year-old is to be inducted into Pompey’s Hall of Fame on Friday, along with Mark Hateley, Alan Rogers and Gemma Hillier.

And he reflected on his combative style over three-and-a-half Blues campaigns.

Kennedy said: ‘I was like Alan Ball’s autograph.

‘At the bottom of it he always put the word “win”. Well, that was my signature in terms of the way I played.

‘It was about winning, nothing else mattered. I would do absolutely anything to win a game, whereas a lot of players wouldn’t.

‘I wouldn’t try to get sent-off – even though I had plenty of red cards, which I am not proud of.

‘I could cross with both feet, I was more of an assist-maker than goalscorer, although if I scored it was 30-yards out, usually a one-off.

‘As for my style of tackling, that is history now, you can’t do that anymore. I call it unique.

‘The game has changed. I talk to Blakey (Noel Blake), inset, now and he tells me players are more mobile, fitter, more agile – and the tackling has gone out of it.

‘My aim was to win the ball to start with, but sometimes you wouldn’t actually get the ball, so it went missing for a couple of seconds!

‘I suppose it was the aspect of my game, you don’t have 10 clubs for nothing, they buy you.

‘I would also talk and encourage players, I wouldn’t criticise.

‘It was never negative, always positive.’

While Kennedy was a popular performer among the supporters, there were also plenty of other talent in that Alan Ball side.

He added: ‘There were that many good players at Pompey, I really can’t put my finger on one as being the best, it would be unfair.

‘Billy (Gilbert) was a right good player, Blakey was good at what he did, Kenny Swain was a brick wall, Dill (Kevin Dillon) could do things no other players could.

‘Cally (Kevin O’Callaghan) scored a goal at Huddersfield in the last game of the 1984-85 season and if we’d have won and Manchester City lost against Charlton we would have gone up.

‘I was right behind him when he took on about three players and slotted it in, an incredible goal.

‘And Vince Hilaire was quality – top lads and top players.’