Brakes legend Graham Allner was on the phone last night (Saturday 29th November) informing ex-AP Leamington chairman John Soldan of the sad news that Malcolm Kavanagh has passed away following a long battle with dementia.
Malcolm started his football career with Saltley and Erdington Schools and was spotted by Sutton Coldfield Town where he captained their Youth and Reserve sides then in two seasons with the first team, he won Midland Football Combination championship and Walsall Senior cup medals.
He moved to Moor Green where he completed another two seasons and was a key member of the team that reached the first round of the FA cup losing 3-2 at Stafford Rangers in 1979/80, his style of play brought him to the notice of Derby County where he had a trial with the club. Malcolm subsequently joined Cheltenham Town where Graham Allner was the assistant manager.
Mr. Allner took over as manager of AP Leamington in 1981/82 and after paying a four figure fee, Malcolm joined the club making his debut at home to Worcester City on New Year’s Day and he scored one goal in 19 appearances that season.
The club hit a purple patch the following season with Malcom playing 55 games and finding the net on 11 occasions and in 1983/84 made 53 appearances scoring a solitary goal. During these two seasons the Brakes won the Southern League Premier division title, the Southern League cup and the Southern League Championship cup become the first team to win the treble. In 83/84 season, the Brakes reached the first round proper of the FA cup losing at home by the only goal of the game against a Gillingham side that included Steve Bruce, the current manager of Hull City.
For season 84/85, Malcolm re-joined Graham Allner who was now the manager of Kidderminster Harriers, the cost was another four figure fee and he suffered a knee injury that kept him side lined for six months. In November 1985, John Adams paid a small fee to bring Malcolm back to the Moorlands where the late Bob Faulkner appointed him player/coach.
Malcolm re-joined the Brakes as player/manager for the home game against Bridgnorth Town on January 27th, 1987 which ended in a 2-2 draw however February was a baptism of fire according to the Courier. Malcolm added another 16 games to his tally before the season closed with the Brakes relegation to the Midland Football Combination but during the summer Malcolm decided to resign.
Malcom, only 56 years old, came from a large family having eight brothers and one sister, he was an optical profile grinder by profession always describing himself as a toolmaker.
Rest in Peace, Malcolm.
Corrected Update – the funeral will be held at Yardley Crematorium, Yardley Road, Yardley, Birmingham B25 8NA telephone number 0121 708 1831 or 708 2184 on 17th December at 1pm.
Update 19th Dec’14 from Paul Vanes:
Malcolm Kavanagh’s funeral
We met at Yardley crematorium and Vicar Smith was surprised by the number of people
who had turned up to say their farewell to a very good footballer and friend. The coffin
was covered by family flowers and Birmingham City FC scarves.
I was unable to attain the wake at the Corus Hotel in Shirley but former chairman John
Soldan did and sent these words “what a great gathering it was with many ‘old’ pictures
of Malcolm all over the walls and the obituary taken from the club’s official website.
It was amazing that something like 30 years had gone by, many of the players had gone
on to play for other non-league and league sides and yet they came together as ‘mates’ as
possibly the best AP Leamington side. There was great unity when they played and that
remains to this day.
All the managers and players were determined to say farewell to their great friend
Malcolm in the way he would have wished – they certainly achieved that. Both Phil
Griffin and Martin Woodall live in Australia, Kim Casey was on business in Prague and
Graham Mackenzie was unable to attain as he was working but he had sent a magnificent
card to Malcolm’s sister which she showed us all – it was a wonderful and affectionate
From AP Leamington were John Soldan, former manager Graham Allner, players Clive
Boxall, Ian Britton, Mark Buckland, Cliff Campbell, Alan Ollis, Steve Rigby who
organised it and Herman Wilson.
Moor Green were represented by former manager Chris Wright, Roger Evans, Ray
Howell and Alan Parsons whilst Ron Mason attended from Sutton Coldfield Town and
Ron had previously played for the Brakes.
Paul Vanes, club historian