Kennedy arrived in England to play for Notts County in 1996, but after he fell out of favour with Sam Allardyce, it was Graham Taylor who really brought the dream to life by bringing him to Watford for £300,000 on the recommendation of Gerry Armstrong. Kennedy won promotion in his first season in that memorable campaign that culminated in the glorious day out at Fulham and then, incredibly, did it again. He feels, like most, it was all down to one man.
“Would we have done what we did with any other manager? Probably not,” said Kennedy. “Kenny, Luther, Ciaran, the physios did really well, but Graham’s man-management was just brilliant. He knew how to treat everybody and he really looked after me. He backed me, he did me favours and was just a great man. I was very sad to hear about his death.”
GT had a knack for spotting a player to fit seamlessly into his system and a knack for a partnership, whether it be Ross Jenkins and Luther Blissett, David Bardsley and Nigel Callaghan, Micah Hyde and Richard Johnson, Robert Page and Steve Palmer or Peter Kennedy and Paul Robinson.
“I was living on the Reeds estate at the time and Robbo was living in Sotherton Road,” Kennedy said. “I wasn't driving then and he used to pick me up and we'd often go for lunch after training. I was 25 and he was 20, but he was more like the senior pro. We just knew each other’s game. I had a defensive side to me and whenever he pushed on, I sat back. Without blowing smoke up our backsides, most teams playing against us knew that if they did get past me, then then they weren't going to get past him. Paul went on to have a very, very good career and we knew he would as he was so solid.”