It is with great sadness that we have to announce the sudden death of Kevin Stonehouse, aged only 59, on 28th July 2019.
The legacy of Kevin Stonehouse is not just the many memories he left of his exploits on the football field with half a dozen Football League clubs. Perhaps, more importantly, was the work he did with thousands of children whilst spending over a decade leading the Football in the Community Scheme in Darlington.
Born in Bishop Auckland on 20th September 1959, Kevin spent some time as a schoolboy with Middlesbrough before playing in non-League circles in his native north-east.
It was from Shildon that Howard Kendall plucked the left-sided striker in July 1979. A poor start to the 1979-80 campaign resulted in Kevin being given his first team opportunity rather earlier than might have been expected. Sadly, his debut, against Rotherham United at Ewood Park on 29th September 1979, ended in a 3-0 defeat.
Kevin was a peripheral figure during that promotion winning season but notched a couple of goals in a 2-1 win away at Gillingham in October 1979. Although he made only seven senior appearances that season, it was with the reserves, in the Central League, that he made an impression – scoring 15 goals in 30 appearances.
Kevin got his opportunity the following season when Andy Crawford became embroiled in a dispute with the club and lost his place in the team. Kevin quickly made the most of his opportunity. He was blessed with pace and a wonderfully powerful shot which he could unleash in an instant. He was a difficult opponent to mark as he would drift wide before cutting in to threaten the opposition with a defence splitting pass or a thunderbolt shot.
By the time Bob Saxton took over from Kendall for the 1981-82 season Kevin had become a vital component of the side. He became the regular penalty taker and missed only one of the eleven spot kicks he took for the Rovers.
A tall and slim redhead, Kevin proved surprising robust despite his rather slight build. The arrival of Norman Bell to partner Simon Garner in attack, led to Kevin’s attributes being used in midfield rather than as one of the main strikers.
Kevin was never quite as effective in midfield as in attack and in March 1983 he joined Huddersfield Town in a £25,000 deal.
After Huddersfield, Kevin went on to give good service to Blackpool, Darlington, and Rochdale as well as having a brief spell with Carlisle United on loan. By the time he left the senior game to return to non-League football in the north-east he had made 292 League and Cup appearances and scored 76 goals for his various clubs.
Kevin had a spell in non-League management and coaching and then became the Football in the Community Officer with Darlington football club. It was a role in which he would serve for the best part of twelve years during which time he worked with thousands of children and became a well-known and well respected figure in his local community.
In recent years Kevin had been a member of the Newcastle United scouting department.
Blackburn Rovers Senior Record
Football League 77 + 8 appearances 27 goals
F.A. Cup 2 + 0 appearances 0 goals
Football League Cup 3 + 1 appearance 2 goals
Total 82 + 9 appearances 29 goals
Kevin was very popular with all his colleague and he will be sadly missed. We all offer our sincere condolences to his wife, Lynne, and family.