Newly-appointed Institute captain Mikhail Kennedy wants to deliver success for chairman Bill Anderson and family after tragic loss of daughter Danielle

Mikhail Kennedy has been appointed Institute captain. PIC: Institute FCMikhail Kennedy has been appointed Institute captain. PIC: Institute FC
Mikhail Kennedy has been appointed Institute captain. PIC: Institute FC
​Newly-appointed Institute captain Mikhail Kennedy says they’ll be aiming to secure Irish Cup progression for club chairman Bill Anderson and his family after a heart-breaking week off the pitch for all associated with the Championship outfit.

Irish League clubs and fans paid tribute to Bill’s daughter Danielle after her tragic passing was announced by Institute on Sunday with the club’s players observing a minute’s silence during their midweek Billy Kee Memorial Cup clash against neighbours Derry City.

Kevin Deery’s side are back in action on Saturday when they host fellow second-tier outfit Ards, who knocked Irish Cup holders Crusaders out last month, in the sixth round.

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With a quarter-final berth – and more importantly Premiership promotion – still to play for, Kennedy says the players will be spurred on to deliver success for the Anderson family.

"I spoke to Bill and he’s absolutely devastated...from all the players we pass on our condolences,” he said. “It has been a team that has suffered quite a lot of loss individually.

"When something like that happens at a club...I was at Derry City when Ryan McBride passed away and it’s a really tough one.

"When you think of Institute you think of Bill Anderson. He has been there before every one of us and he will be at Institute after we all leave...that’s our motivation going into Saturday and the rest of the season.

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"As much as we’re doing it for ourselves and what we’re trying to build, Institute is Bill and his family’s life and blood and that’s who we’re doing it for...we want to make him proud.”

Clubs from all levels of the Northern Ireland football pyramid passed on their condolences and Kennedy believes it shows how highly-regarded Bill is within local circles.

"It just shows how much Bill and his family are loved,” he added. "It’s something that has definitely rocked the league and there’s bigger things in life than football.

"The best thing about the football community in Northern Ireland is they come together when something happens and it’s amazing from every single one of the teams and fans that came out.”

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Having only arrived at Institute from Crusaders last month, Kennedy has already made a significant impact, scoring four goals in as many Championship appearances, including an 89th minute penalty in a 1-1 draw against today’s opponents last weekend.

Now also donning the captain’s armband, the 27-year-old insists it’s an honour to have been entrusted with added responsibility.

"Ryan Morrow took up work in Denmark and he was the stand-in captain and now they’ve given it to me,” he said. “It’s something they’d spoken about because of my experience.

"I know most of the lads and it’s an honour to have been made club captain…all of the lads have been so supportive because it can be a big decision in January to take on that responsibility.

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"It’s something I’m enjoying and relishing. I’ve scored four goals in four matches and it couldn’t have went any better for me at the start.

"You want to get goals early and for myself it was about coming back in and getting my confidence back, especially after a difficult time at Crusaders where I didn’t really get the chance.

"When you’re a striker and you’ve scored a few your mindset changes and you go into games thinking ‘I’m going to score today’ and you feel like you just need one chance…long may that continue.”

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