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Kennedy delights K&P

PUBLISHED: 08:00 30 May 2008 | UPDATED: 20:30 05 July 2010

Liverpool legend Alan Kennedy, centre, at Walmer Road for the Gentleman's Sporting Dinner. Alongside Kennedy, other members of the top table are, left, to right, Journal editor Russell Cook, comedian Russ Williams, Waveney MP Bob Blizzard, Kennedy, organi

Liverpool legend Alan Kennedy, centre, at Walmer Road for the Gentleman's Sporting Dinner. Alongside Kennedy, other members of the top table are, left, to right, Journal editor Russell Cook, comedian Russ Williams, Waveney MP Bob Blizzard, Kennedy, organi

FORMER Liverpool favourite Alan Kennedy regaled a packed audience with tales of the past as Kirkley and Pakefield Football Club's Gentleman's Sporting Dinner was hailed another resounding success.

FORMER Liverpool favourite Alan Kennedy regaled a packed audience with tales of the past as Kirkley and Pakefield Football Club's Gentleman's Sporting Dinner was hailed another resounding success.

The seventh annual evening of entertainment produced another end of season spectacular as the curtain came down on a successful season for the whole club.

Held in the glittering surroundings of a marquee at Walmer Road, more than 200 people packed into the facilities to enjoy more than four hours of entertainment, which raised funds for the club.

On the top table Kennedy was joined by Waveney MP Bob Blizzard, Journal editor Russell Cook, organiser Keith Cotterill, talented teenager Anthony Ogogo and comedian Russ Williams.

From it's initial beginnings in 2003, in front of around 75 diners at the Hotel Victoria for the first Gentleman's Sporting Dinner, the event has grown in stature and success, with thousands of pounds raised with more and more guests swelling the coffers along with raffles and auctions of sporting memorabilia.

With nine adult clubs in the senior section and 40 youth teams playing on Sunday's the club is flourishing - and Chairman Charles Samkin reflected on a successful campaign for all sides.

“The first team came sixth this season and were three points off finishing fourth - they are a team full of youngsters and I'm sure Nick Shorten and Harry Goldspink will lead them to bigger and better things,” he told the packed diners.

“The veterans were unbeaten all year and won the league and cup, which is a great achievement. “The ladies won the fair play award and lost in the cup final, while the U18s were winners of the Ridgeons Youth league section.

“That's not forgetting the 40 youth teams who've become league and cup winners - and all these sides emphasise the achievements being made.”

The flourishing Saturday Soccer Centre has over 200 children attending, with football also being taken into 14 primary schools - with over 200 coaches and community volunteers associated with K&P.

“This is something we can be immensely proud of,” Samkin said.

Organisers were delighted with the turnout and feedback they received after last Thursday night's dinner. Guest speaker Alan Kennedy delighted the packed audience with tales from his playing days and a career that still continues today as he regularly turns out for the all-conquering Liverpool Masters team.

The former Newcastle United, Liverpool, Sunderland, Wigan and Wrexham star won 14 major medals and two England caps in a glittering career.

With more than 350 league and cup appearances for Liverpool behind him, he is perhaps best remembered for scoring two goals (one being the winning penalty in a shoot-out) in two European Cup Finals.

Having left Newcastle United for a then British transfer record of £330,000 for a full back to head to Anfield, Kennedy was soon delighting the Liverpool faithful.

But after admitting his most embarrassing moment in football was “thinking I'd scored a goal in the Kop end and celebrating... it had hit the side netting,” Kennedy told the audience how he fell foul of the wrath of the great Bob Paisley in the early days.

“I didn't know until the Friday afternoon that I was going to playing for Liverpool after signing in midweek - and I had the worst debut in history,” he said.

“In the dressing room at half time Bob Paisley looked at me and said 'I think they shot the wrong Kennedy in 1963'”

This set the tone for a top-class evening, which included Kennedy talking about his best ever goal - “scoring in the 1981 European Cup Final” - and the nerves he went through to seal victory in the 1984 European final. Dressing room banter with the likes of Kenny Daglish, Bruce Grobelaar and Tommy Smith was also poignantly recalled for the many Reds fans in the audience.

There was also plenty of funnies from the excellent comedian Russ Williams, as well as a successful raffle and auction that boosted club funds.

And after his speech, The Journal cornered Kennedy. “I've travelled six hours to be here and had a really great night,” he said. “It's giving something back to the community and seeing the smiles on their faces is fantastic.”

With a daily slot on Century Radio with Graeme Sharp (ex-Everton), Alex Stepney (ex-Manchester United) and Gary Owen (ex-Manchester City) - every day - Kennedy keeps an active involvement in the game.

And having hand picked Stephen Warnock from a series of trials when he was a youngster, and Kennedy was working with Liverpool's academy he told The Journal: “I would love to see more British players in the game today, that's what is missing. “But Kirkley are doing the right thing in producing the youth and that is the only way forward.”

Organiser Keith Cotterill was equally delighted: “Tonight has been a great success,” he said.

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