A goalkeeper who had the unenviable task of following Pat Jennings, as he vied for the gloves with Barry Daines, Mark Kendall never really won the fans over at White Hart Lane, although he became a popular figure at other clubs he played for.
Raised in Britannia, Blackwood, before moving to Cefn Forest, the young goalkeeper attended Bedwellty Grammar School in Bargoed and played for Pengam Boys Club. Played for Wales Boys, as well as his County schoolboys side and the District side and by the time he was 14, he had been selected to play for Wales' youth side. Coming through the youth ranks, after arriving at the age of 16 from Wales as an apprentice. Kendall made swift progress through the junior side to the youth team and then into the reserves. His progress matched the claim that Bill Nicholson once said that Mark was one of the best young prospects he had ever signed, snapping him up amidst interest from Arsenal, Manchester City, Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion, where the keeper had trials, but he preferred to move to White Hart Lane.
Mark made his Wales Youth debut at Maine Road against England Youth in 1976 and on 9th March 1977, he was lined up to be the substitute goalkeeper for Wales Youth v England Youth at the Hawthorns.
He was a big built keeper and could make his presence felt, with the ability to make some saves with good blocks and good reflexes, but he was not as strong on claiming crosses and things did not always go well for him when selected for the first team. His first North London derby saw him pick the ball out of his net five times. One particular game saw him let a shot slip through his arms and through his legs to give Middlesbrough a goal, while at Leyton Orient in the League Cup, the fans criticised him for letting in an Orient goal, to which he gesticulated at the supporters behind the goal. Not a move designed to win favour.
The signing of Milija Aleksic further hampered his progress to taking the gloves for the first team on a permanent basis. A loan spell at Chesterfield saw him taken to by the crowd, as he produced a fine string of performances, with one outstanding game at Hillsborough against Sheffield Wednesday, including a penalty save from Mark Smith's spot-kick ... the first time he had failed to convert one. Tottenham recalled him from the loan because of an injury to Daines, but he always got a warm welcome at Saltergate when he returned there with opposing sides and was often invited back to present "Player of the Year" awards.
Unable to hold down a regular first team place after Spurs signed Aleksic, Mark left to return to his home country, with Newport County shelling out £45,000 for him. He gave them good service, being part of the team that gained promotion and won the Welsh Cup, taking the side through to the quarter-finals of the 1980-81 European Cup-Winners Cup. Kendall represented the Tangerines with distinction, making almost 350 appearances over six years, but with the club in financial peril, he had to be sold to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Then in the Fourth Division, Wolves soon picked up their form and Kendall was part of the side that won the Fourth and Third Division titles in consecutive seasons to revive the fortunes of the famous old club. He even picked up a medal in the Sherpa Vans Trophy (for clubs in the bottom two divisions) at Wembley for his side in 1988.
Following his spell at Molineux, Kendall joined Swansea City in 1990, where he won the Welsh Cup and was later sent out on loan to Burnley, where he played three games before returning to Vetch Field. After two years at Swansea, he left the English league and moved to play for Ebbw Vale and Cwmbran (playing against his son in the Barry Town goal) in the Welsh Premier League.
After leaving the game at the age of 34, Mark joined the Police Force in Gwent and was stationed in Newport. As an officer he got two awards for bravery - one for facing a man with a chainsaw and the other for tackling four men who were attacking a man while Kendall was off duty. He moved into the CID and then became a training officer, winning the Police Trainer of the Year award in 2007 and also coached the Welsh Police football side.
Kendall represented Wales at schoolboy and youth level and on one occasion for the under-21s.
Mark married Gaynor, who worked on the commercial side of the club while he was on the books at White Hart Lane and they had two children; a daughter Lori and a son Lee, who was a noted goalkeeper too, playing for a number of league and non-league clubs and is currently playing for Rhyl in the League of Wales.
Mark Kendall died on 1st May 2008 of a suspected heart attack in Blackwood, Gwent, Wales