You're quite right - it is daft, on the face of it, to claim anyone who played only nine times for the club as a Chesterfield FC "legend." Yet Mark Kendall's hero status among Chesterfield fans is great in comparison to the number of games he played. A Welsh under-21 international goalkeeper, he joined on loan from Tottenham to cover for the injured Phil Tingay in November 1979 and looked a class act from the start.
He was recalled by Spurs after just nine games. In that time the club lost only once and Kendall performed with an easily appreciated ability. His last Chesterfield game was the famous "Geoff Salmons" match at Sheffield Wednesday where the midfielder scored an equaliser late into injury time, but it would be as fair to call it the "Mark Kendall" game, since he saved a Mark Smith penalty after Terry Curran had taken a dive, ruining Smith's 100% record from the spot and preserving a valuable point for Chesterfield, by the time the final whistle came.
Mark's response at having to return to White Hart Lane greatly increased his prestige with supporters. Speaking of the Spireites' defeat at Blundell Park in the first game after his recall, he said "Chesterfield's defeat at Grimsby hurt more than Spurs' defeat at Derby on the same day. Arthur Cox," he continued, "has done so much for me that it is no wonder that I feel this way, particularly as Barry Daines will replace me as soon as he is fit."
A deal was made with Spurs for a permanent transfer upon Daines's return to fitness, but Cox was impatient and, a fortnight later, Chesterfield splashed out a big fee on John Turner, so any chance of a return for Mark was scotched. He did come back to Chesterfield, though, on a number of occasions - in the visiting team's goal, when his appearance usually brought a reception that touched Kendall's heart and left visiting supporters quite baffled. He was a regular guest of the Supporters' Club, who invited him to present their `player of the year' awards for several seasons. A modest, likeable man, he always seemed genuinely touched by the warmth of his reception at such events.
Mark left White Hart Lane for Newport County in September 1980, playing 272 times for the Somerton Park side. He joined the revival at Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1986 and played 147 games for Wolves before winding down a good professional career with Swansea City and Burnley. Mark won Fourth and Third Division championship medals with Wolves and appeared in the 1988 Sherpa Van final at Wembley. He later played non-league football with AFC Newport, Ebbw Vale and Cwmbran.
In 1992 Mark joined the Gwent Police and rose to the rank of Detective Constable before becoming well-respected in the field of police training, being named the national "Trainer of the Year" in 2007. In the course of his police career he received two bravery awards after coming to the aid of someone being assaulted by four others and disarming a chainsaw-wielding madman.
His son Lee was a Crystal Palace trainee and later played in the Welsh league; when Cwmbran played Barry Town in the 2000-1 season father and son opposed eachother in the nets. All those who knew or watched him here were shocked by the news of Mark's sudden death in May 2008, at the age of forty-nine.
For Chesterfield: 9 Football League appearances. 3 clean sheets; 10 conceded.