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Dalglish returns to where he left off

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Phil McNulty | 15:24 UK time, Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The last time Kenny Dalglish stood in the Goodison Park dugout as Liverpool manager, he knew he was only days away from leaving a job that would ultimately take 20 years to get back.

Dalglish watched impassively as Liverpool carelessly cast aside the lead four times to draw in an FA Cup fifth-round replay at Everton that has taken its place in Merseyside derby folklore for events on and off the pitch.

It was Wednesday, 20 February 1991. Dalglish had already made up his mind to quit and events at Goodison Park - where he later admitted his trademark decisiveness deserted him during the game - only confirmed the decision in his own mind.

The next morning, broken by the pressures of an entire career spent dealing with the stresses of football at elite levels with Celtic and Liverpool - and the burden of guiding the Anfield club through the tragedy of Hillsborough and its emotional aftermath - he informed then chairman Noel White and chief executive Peter Robinson of his decision to resign.

Dalglish confirmed his departure at a press conference on the Friday morning and it appeared an iconic Liverpool figure had concluded his career at the club where he won eight league titles as player and manager, claimed the European Cup three times and won the Double in his first season as player-manager.

Kenny Dalglish

Kenny Dalglish will return to where his first spell at Liverpool ended. Photo: Press Association

On Saturday, refreshed, rejuvenated and leading the club into a new era of optimism under the ownership of Fenway Sports Group with a squad he has expensively restructured, Dalglish returns to the place where his first spell at Liverpool ended.

Dalglish's delight at being back at the helm since succeeding Roy Hodgson is rarely disguised but it would be no surprise if his mind drifts back a couple of decades when he walks up the tunnel at Goodison Park.

He has been back to Everton as manager with Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United of course but Merseyside derbies are different and Dalglish's story within the fixture provides an historical context.

Jan Molby played in that fateful game. Indeed Dalglish later confessed his hesitation about whether to move the Dane back from midfield into defence that night helped to confirm his decision to leave.

Molby recalls: "The build-up to the game was normal. We spent our time in our hotel and there was no suggestion Kenny was considering his future.

"It was a crazy game and we couldn't believe how we didn't win it. We gave away some terrible goals and, when we got back to the dressing room, there was an altercation between [goalkeeper] Bruce Grobbelaar and [coach] Ronnie Moran over one of them.

"Kenny didn't get involved but he rarely did over things like that. He was very quiet but you assumed that it was just disappointment at drawing a game we should have won, not any indication there was something wrong.

"We had a day off on the Thursday and I remember we arrived at Anfield on the Friday as we were leaving early to train on Luton's plastic pitch. The whole place was alive with activity and the girl on the reception said she thought we were about to announce a major signing.

"When it became clear Kenny Dalglish was resigning it was total shock and disbelief around the whole club. The players were stunned, the whole club was in shock.

"If we had been told John Barnes had been sold we could have taken that in because that's football but Kenny leaving Liverpool was something else altogether. He was one of the greatest figures in the club's history and was in charge of a team at the top of the league and in the FA Cup. Nothing was broken.

"When the full reasons came out we totally understood. If he was not well he needed time to recover and he felt the best way to do that was to leave management - absolutely the right decision in his own best interests. He had made so many decisions in Liverpool's best interests that he was right to make one in his own if he was concerned about his health."

Even now, the day Dalglish left is remembered as if it was only an instant ago by those of us covering Merseyside football at the time.

As a reporter on the local morning newspaper, I recall taking a phone call from chief executive Robinson, the great Liverpool administrator, summoning us to Anfield with the words: "I know you joke about holding the back page but this time you should hold the front as well. It's quite sensational."

Dalglish, full of emotion at leaving the club he and his family grew to be an integral part of, made his announcement in Anfield's Bob Paisley Suite before driving his white Mercedes out of The Shankly Gates. It seemed he was now as much a part of Liverpool's past as his legendary predecessors.

Now he is back and attempting to write another chapter in his Liverpool story but, even in the sadness of his departure on that Friday, he was still keen to jealously guard the club's reputation.

Hearing on the Merseyside rumour mill - always fertile ground for gross misinformation - that he had actually left after a row with Liverpool's hierarchy, another more surprising call came into the newspaper office early on that Friday evening.

It was Dalglish, sounding relaxed, to tell me that the reasons he had cited for leaving, the increasing pressure that was starting to impact on his health, was simply the truth of the matter. And so it was. There was never a hidden agenda, no secret story that has never been told - there never was.

Molby says: "It was one of the most incredible, memorable days of my career and I am sure he will have a little think when he takes his place in the dugout at Goodison Park because I suppose he might have thought that [it] was the place where his career might be ending.

"If Kenny felt he had to walk away from a club he loved so much, then I suppose he must have wondered if he would come back anywhere else, which he then did so successfully at Blackburn."

Moments of black humour did emerge from the uncertainty - including one involving Dalglish's great friend, double-winning Liverpool captain and now Match of the Day pundit Alan Hansen.

Molby says: "A couple of weeks later Alan Hansen came in and told us all he had been appointed player-manager. He told us we would now train on Sundays, we would go through videos time and again after games to see where we were going wrong, told us he was taking the captaincy off Glenn Hysen and giving it to Steve Nicol and that he knew every pub we drank in on the Wirral and in Southport and they were now all out of bounds.

"You can imagine the faces of everyone in the dressing room as he walked out. I bet he was listening at the door to hear what we all thought about him, which wouldn't have been nice, and then came back in a bit later to tell us he was actually retiring from the game and would not be involved with the club at all."

Unlike Hansen, Dalglish has returned to Liverpool and any old ghosts that may be lingering at Goodison Park will have been replaced by a fierce determination to give his Anfield story a happy ending.


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  • Comment number 1.

    A well written piece on the historical context of this weekends derby game Phil.
    I remember hearing that Kenny had resigned on the radio (must of been the BBC).
    As a avid supporter of Liverpool FC, one thing that was clear that we never looked back and simply moved on.

    What scares me about todays fans attitude about Kenny Dalglish's return is the harping back to the more successful era.
    Articles like the one you've written don't help in looking for future success as this indulgence is what propelled Kenny Dalglish back into the job for a second time.
    What sticks in my craw, is the fact there have been two decades passed since Kenny walked out and the lack of respect this appears to show to Managers since Dalglish such as Houllier and Rafa.
    It was Rafa whom brought Kenny back in charge of the youth and not once has Kenny publicly thanked Rafa for that opportunity.

    Personally, I think the only mistake Fenway Sport Group made was in giving Kenny a contract beyond the end of last season.
    The reason being is that even though Kenny may love the club,even though we fans may love him for what he achieved.
    Even though Kenny may well be very up to date with the modern game and is steeped Liverpool FC he cannot be seen modern day coach.

    In my opinion there is a problem with the defence in the form of Jamie Carragher who should be dropped for younger quicker less penalty pron players.
    The insistence on playing Henderson ahead of Kuyt on the right hand side.
    The instance on playing Carroll who clearly is not Liverpool quality who slows down the play offers little attacking prowess and ball distribution.
    The failure of Kenny to keep or convince players of the quality of Mereles, Aquilani whom have both gone to champions league sides.
    It's as if Kenny is trying very hard to justify his big spends on players at the expense of the winning ethic.

    FSG should have gone for a younger manager rather than pander to the nostalgia tour which seems to be encompassing Liverpool FC at this juncture.
    Something clearly reflected in your article.

  • Comment number 2.

    If Kenny Dalglish wanted to remain an Anfield hero for life he should not have gone back as manager. Unless some oil rich Arab or Russian oligarch pumps hundreds of millions into the club they will never be what they were in the 80's. The game is completely different to what he witnessed at Liverpool, money rules all. It still surprises me that he came back. His record since leaving Anfield is chequered to say the elast. 2 good seasons with Blackburn but no stomach to fight to retain the title. Not his fault at Newcastle I suppose as no manager has made a really good job of it. Then the joke that was his & John Barnes tenure at Celtic. He will last this & most of next season but without funds to buy truly world class players he won 't last. He will either walk or he will be offered another job "upstairs".

  • Comment number 3.

    Really good article I remember watching that game and being amazed at the scoreline and then an even bigger shock in Dalglish resigning.

    Was the right decision at the time but Liverpool took a long time to recover from it.

  • Comment number 4.

    Liverpool won't be challenging for anything, any time soon. Prestige and history aren't at the forefront of the modern player's mind when they decide on which club to sign for, so Liverpool has slipped behind Chelsea and Manchester City in the pecking order, do to the fact that they can't offer the same level of wages.

    In fact, in the last couple of seasons, Liverpool have become a glorified feeder-club for the big 2 in Spain, and Chelsea.

    It's obvious that any truly top-class players they get (like Suarez) will be packing their bags for sunnier climes in a year or two.

  • Comment number 5.

    Septimus, I agree (to different extents) with almost all you say (except the Carroll comment - he will come good). However, wait a bit longer before we write Kenny off. I for one was sceptical about his appointment last season. I felt it was done because there was a massive elephant in the room and he had to succeed or hang himself before we could get anyone else in. However, he proved me wrong.

    However, the one thing that has worried me is how late Kenny waits to change things. We used to criticise Rafa for waiting for the hour before changing things. Against Wolves, Mick McCarthy made 2 possitive changes at half time to try and get something out of the game. We did not make any changes until after 70 mins, despite being immediately under the cosh in the 2nd half

  • Comment number 6.

    Ah, roll out the armchair generals to tell us where Kenny is currently going wrong - no doubt if he had taken the advice of Septimus_Red then someone else would now be saying 'why isn't there any experience in defence?', 'why didn't Henderson get a better run of games to prove himself?' and so on.

    I'm also amazed that some folks can't grasp the fact that Aqua and Merieles wanted to leave and nothing was going to stop them.

    Anyway - everything coming out of Anfield and the moment is positive, unless you believe the whingers, who always know better and can't appreciate that the squad needs time to gel.

    My prediction is that under Kenny Liverpool will have a strong second half to the season and silverware will be achieved very soon.

  • Comment number 7.

    Kenny was and will always be a legend at LFC but some of the decisions particularly team selection baffles me. Henderson has all the time in the world to tone in his skills but for the life of me his selection ahead of Dirk Kuyt and the now departed Miereles does not make any sense. While i don't assign total blame on Kenny for the apparent lack of match fitness of Carrol , Dirk or Bellamy should be the preferred striking partner of Suarez, the link up that Bellamy had with Suarez at the league cup win shows promise a promise that Carrol has so far failed to honor.

    I still hope that Carrol and Henderson do surprise us come seasons end but i cant seem to shake off the eery feeling that the two will be the achilles heel in LFC this season.

  • Comment number 8.

    Ah, nice to see the anti-Liverpool band out in force already.

    Since the same point about finances have been made twice, may I point out that we have a game changer on the horizon in financial fair play. We're the one's who are trying to build a 60-70000 seater stadium, not Chelsea and Man City. We are the ones with a truly global support base, not City or Chelsea. We're the ones who can generate our own wealth better than those two clubs, and when these rules come into force, as long as Platini is as determined as he says he is to make them work, it will mean the likes of United, Liverpool and Arsenal will have an advantage.

    Then we see criticism from Dalglish for one bad spell with Celtic. He won the League at Blackburn and got Newcastle to their joint highest PL finish. He has already turned the club around from mid table obscurity to real Champions League spot competitors on a relatively low budget, and with a Liverpool team without for the most part Steven Gerrard.

    We're not title challengers yet, but we have a real shot at the Carling Cup with us playing a strong team in that competition, and the FA Cup where most of our competitors will have more end of season fatigue due to them having European Football. Not to mention that once Gerrard slips back into the team, I think we have a stronger squad than our challengers for 4th with less games to play. One bad day against Spurs doesn't mean we cannot finish above them in the league, I really believe that 4th place is there for us to take.

    No doom or gloom, just a building process.

  • Comment number 9.

    Some interesting comments, can i ask if Dalglish hadn't been asked to become manager again.. who would you see as the right man to

    1. Unite the club after years of bad ownership?

    2. Bring direction to a club who had lost its roots in how it plays the game?
    'Houiller won trophies but our football was not in the same philosphy as the teams which built the history everyone is 'harping' on about. In fact i remember being on holiday with two mates, and apologising for putting them through a Liverpool game.

    Rafa in the year we finished 2nd had us playing like Valencia when they won La Liga, high tempo in defence, mentally very tough and decisive in attack with Gerrard, Torres and Alonso. The latter, we have have missed the most, out of any other player who has come and gone in recent times.'

    i for one have enjoyed watching Liverpool attempt to play pass and move and football this season. And if they lose then at least i know they have played to their philosphy.

    3. To do this all without a multi billionaire Oil Baron behind him?

  • Comment number 10.

    Interview on LFC.TV with Steve Clarke

    What is that philosophy you share? - Re: How the game of football should be played

    The philosophy is to pass the ball. To pass the ball, to move and find different positions, and also to work hard as a team. It's not something that's unique to us as a management group. A lot of people have it but there's a way to put it across and at the moment we seem to be doing a decent job - hopefully we can continue that into the future.

  • Comment number 11.

    Nice piece Phil. Even as a Chelsea fan, I grew up knowing all about Liverpool because so many of my friends supported them. I remember the whole thing pretty well and Liverpool had become synonymous with footballing drama through their exploits on the field and also the notoriety of off field events such as Heysel and Hillsborough.

    I can understand Dalglish wanting out, it was just a surprised that he pitched up elsewhere relatively soon with Blackburn. (And who doesn't remember the scene as Dalglish was celebrating as Liverpool beating Blackburn, but Blackburn still securing the title!)

    Whatever the romance though, Dalglish enjoyed a nice honeymoon when he took over last season, but after so many changes, the buck most definitely stops with him as far as this season goes.

    I don't think the game has really changed as much as some might be suggesting. Still 11 men and a ball isn't it, regardless of any shift in politics, expectation and coverage.

    I suspect Everton might get something out of the game which will probably, prematurely, raise questions about Dalglish but I think he will be given the license to spend a couple of seasons trying to get things right, particularly as Liverpool aren't as competitive as they have been up until relatively recently.

  • Comment number 12.

    Thanks for that Phil. Kenny Dalglish has galvanised the club since his return, no doubt. Following the utter turmoil of the Hicks&Gillette years LFC is sailing in relative calm waters and has in FSG committed and sincere owners who will work very hard to restore the club's reputation. How much time they'll give Kenny is questionable - would they wait 6,7 years, a la Arsenal, for a trophy?
    Historically the club has not yet recovered from the Hillsborough tragedy and will only do so once all the facts are known and a full apology to the families from the authorities given. The emotional energy surrounding that tragic day still influences all those connected with LFC - Kenny included - and hopefully there will be some sort of closure this season when all the information is made public. I think this will be a turning point for LFC, a cathartic release of pent up frustration,anger and sadness.
    Football wise we are advancing and expectations are growing, despite lack of european involvement. In reality, I think its true to say that if we don't qualify for the CL come May 2012, players such as Reina, Agger and yes even Suarez will be off to sunnier climes. Loyalties will be stretched to the limit. On the other hand, best case scenario is 4th place in the league and a Cup run to the semis, at least. If we can fight for 4th and win it LFC will start to believe again. The squad is strong and getting younger,on average. God knows what'll happen to FSG's thinking if we don't get CL. Would they tolerate Europa league football and give KK another shot? Henry and Tom are tradionalists at heart and they appear open and honest.Perhaps they'll want Kenny for the next decade, to oversee LFC's move to pastures new?
    At present we are in a sort of limbo.It's transition time,we're waiting to see if the transplants are compatible and as of yet we're not wholly certain they'll take. Adam is OK ish,Henderson not yet in the groove,Carroll struggling for goals.Downing it seems lacks that cutting edge - Enrique will come good and we all know Luis is a magician. Coates is Carra's replacement as Jamie, great Scouser that he is, begins to wind down. Sterling and Coady from the juniors should be getting 1st team run outs, and Kelly,Flannagan and Robinson are quality youngsters. Now all we need is a system that works when Carroll plays -against Wolves recently we employed the long ball,- if we do then we MUST get the midfield to back him up on 2nd phase ball winning.Carroll needs help- 3 or 4 players around him when it comes to a short passing ga

  • Comment number 13.

    Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will Kenny new liverpool squad but the early signs are bright. We have gone from being a 2 man team (Stevie G/Torres) to suddenly having options. Its an exciting time to be a liverpool fan as the club as a whole for the first time in years feels positive.

  • Comment number 14.

    The issue for Liverpool (Spurs and Arsenal too) is that if sucess is measured by winning a trophy a season + finishing >4th then finishing 5th and winning the Carling Cup hinders the persuit of the charge for 4th and Champions League cash - the Europa League for a team on the hunt for a CL place is a drain on resources unless your younger players do well enough to get through to say Quarter-Finals and then you need to consider that you still next season need to play in the League Cup again...Kenny Dalgleish really needs to leap over the Europa League and get into the Champions League in one bound (very, very tough thing to do) and still manage to win a competion otherwise will the fans give him time to linger at 5-7th place and say win a League Cup only to knock the season after Europa League on the head ASAP - the answer is surely not to have teams in Europe playing in the League Cup (or maybe their reserve teams?) and the winner of Europa League getting a Champions League birth (even as 3rd round qualifier).

  • Comment number 15.

    @ 14
    Keny seems to be going for the league cup this year by fielding a strong team. It is the one domestic trophy Kenny has never won as a manager and it would give a large boost to the club to gain any silverware this year. It also would give the owners a feeling of the club moving in the right direction.

    I know its not a major cup but look how detrimental a loss in the final last year was for Arsenal, their whole season seemed to capitulate after that loss to Birmingham.

    I do agree 4th is the target this year but with no Europe a little jaunt in the cup should not be a problem.

  • Comment number 16.

    I don't think Kenny Dalglish went back to Liverpool to give his personal, football story a happy ending. He was desperately needed at the club, as it proved to be the case. He still has at least 10+ good years in him to stay in football management. And it was needed more than anything someone to come and re-instill the traditional values at Liverpool F.C.

    In #1, Septimus_Red may be arguing that the board shouldn't have given him the contract until the end of the season but, to my taste, it was a disgrace that they were so late in giving him the contract they gave him. A lot of silly really details are mentioned about why Liverpool are not ticking like a swiss clock week in, week out. You can never have some people satisfied.

    In truth, Daglish cleared the bad wood from the Liverpool squad, very quickly.
    - He brought new heroes for the Liverpool fans.
    - He introduced Liverpool talent in areas where he couldn't invest because the priority was in creativity.
    - He improved the performance of some other players
    - It is vividly clear that, already, Liverpool are serious candidates for Champions League football again.

    If these are just a little progress then some people need to see a psychologist, to examine the correctness of their way of thinking.

    We've seen Torres showing that he's coming back to his best on every match he plays. Last night, the way he controlled the ball and shot in a split second for only to be denied by a magnificent save of a goalkeeper on a splendit day was exactly the same with Messi in scoring that super goal for Barcelona. Dzeko started well this season. Andy Carroll will make the same progress too. Just, football fans are quick to criticise and slow in seeing progress when they don't want to.

    There is much more in Dalglish's contribution to his second spelling in Liverpool that people don't take into consideration because headlines haven't been written yet in the tabloids backpages. Qualify for Champions League and examine the commercial comparison of the following season for Liverpool with what it has been recently. It doesn't need special brains to expect a huge improvement. Don't forget, Beckham moved to Spain and then to USA and, in both countries, both teams made profit on the cash the spent to get him from shirt sales. Liverpool's commercial activity will definitely improve and people who know will be laughing of all of them criticising what Dalglish paid for the A' or B' player.

    Commercial activity along with team performance is the very area where, I'm certain, Ar

  • Comment number 17.

    Agree with Clummers.

    This time last season there were real reasons to despair and everything looked seriously bad, especially with the way Hodgson handled himself with the media.

    Kenny is so cool and collected in front of the camera and instills confidence and he is the same with the players - I recall Flannagan's debut against Arsenal where he was joking around with him on the touchline as he was being subbed on.

    The guy is a genius and certainly in the top ten managers in the world, but in addition to that he truly has a first class coaching team supporting him.

  • Comment number 18.

    I thought when Dalglish took the role last season that it was a very brave move to make as his name is synonymous with Liverpool success, similar to that of Paisley, Fagan and Shankley. Liverpool's relatively poor season (by a club with such high aspirations anyhow) last year, I thought, may help them this season as without the 'hinderance' (as amazingly Harry Redknapp and a few others seem to think) of the Europa League, I thought Liverpool could concentrate all their efforts on regaining a Champions League position.

    Dalglish has undoubtedly been backed financially, but it will be interesting to see how successful this season proves to be. Dalglish was part of that great Liverpool era and when he became a manager he had a solid foundation of success and good players to build on; this time around, the club have suffered from not challenging for the title often enough since his departure and he inherited a squad low on morale and confidence and, in my view, nowhere near able enough to claim that elusive 19th league title.

    I think it would be excellent for English football if Dalglish could reproduce something akin to what we saw in the mid to late Eighties and help take away the stranglehold Manchester Utd have on the Premier League.

  • Comment number 19.

    Still trying to figure out the background as to why this blog now. The dust around 'Tevezgate' is yet to settle... so many reactions and stories still coming out. Your previous blog has 850+ comments (appreciated!) and then you write about weekend's derby match. Is this diversion tactics or you really think Liverpool are going to create some sort of history even if they beat Everton? Does BBC have a role to play in favor of Man C or Carlos or Kia Zeroesbchian?

  • Comment number 20.

    @19 - Because we are bored with Tevez/Man City debacle, it's embarrasing for football as a whole that this jumped little man can't get off his backside with a £200k a week pay packet and yet Argyle players don't get paid when turning out each week.

  • Comment number 21.

    The king will be back with a bang

  • Comment number 22.

    I don't think it really matters whether Liverpool are fielding a strong team at this stage of the League Cup, because teams like Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea will all start to field stronger teams by the semi-final stage.

    If, for example, Liverpool reach the final and play Manchester United, do you really think Ferguson is going to play a team containing Ezequiel Fryatt, Ben Amos and Darnell Cole?!

  • Comment number 23.

    @ 19.At 10:47 29th Sep 2011, SS11,

    If you think about it a bit, a blog with 850 responses is not a reason for another blog not to be written, on a different issue.

    Instead of criticising Phil McNulty, perhaps, you should type 'thank you' for giving all of us one more blog to debate upon, spending time to create it. It would only be fair.

  • Comment number 24.

    But in the essence of a cup comp it doesnt mean that the strongest team will always win. Liverpool are capable on their day of beating Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal, Man City.

    That is the beauty of football my friend!

  • Comment number 25.

    Some great comments and a great blog Phil. Hopefully Kenny is the man to build us back into a championship winning team but this isn't going to happen overnight. I think that the likes of Carroll and Henderson have £55 million of pressure on their shoulders at the moment and are playing that way. I think Gerrard will steady the ship when he's back in the starting lineup and he will help them with their confidence.
    I think there's a great future ahead. The academy is rebuilding now that loads of the deadweight has gone and is looking very British which can only be good. There are the likes of Robinson, Flanagan and Kelly who are solid and there seems to be a great team bond that the likes of Man City will never have.
    Give us 2-3 years and we'll be challenging for the title but for this year a top four finish and a cup will be a great achievement.

  • Comment number 26.

    Very good article, and as a Liverpool supporter for 47 years I have absolutely no doubts that Kenny is the right man to lead Liverpool. It may be, as has been said, that he is not up to date with modern methods, but the first appointment he made was to bring in the best coach in the English game, one Steve Clarke. Clarke is the man who trains and coaches the team, nobody would question his abilities or pedigree. Kenny provides inspiration and motivation and leadership. No question that the club is in the right hands.

  • Comment number 27.

    Why is it Liverpool fans can't see what everyone can see? One of the main problems in the team is the lack of pace in central midfield. They have 2 tyre draggers and that is why they will not challenge for the top 4. Because these players are so slow it means they find it difficult against quality teams who just pass round them. Going into tackles they are a yard or 2 short of pace and give away too many fouls.
    The reason why Meireles and and Aquilani wanted to leave was Adam and Henderson were bought by Dalglish and they were going to be starting ahead of them. Meireles was Liverpools best player from from January and Acquilani had a pretty good pre-season by all accounts.

  • Comment number 28.

    @ 19.At 10:47 29th Sep 2011, SS11,

    What a silly comment to make! So everything has to be about the Tevez affair? really? get a grip - a bit of diversity is good to read, who wants to read the same stuff over and over!

  • Comment number 29.

    #19 SS11

    If anything, I think many of us are already bored of that particular story and the 'he said this', 'no, he said that' nature of it.

    Many a journalist has thrown their arms up in disgust at 'all that is wrong with the game' yet happily stay on the gravy train, saying nothing about the real issues, to ensure that the train doesn't come to a halt.

    I like this particular blog because it talks, sincerely, about something of substance in the game, a long romantic association of someone like Dalglish who is remembered for all the right reasons for his contribution to the game.

  • Comment number 30.

    Kenny is one of the luckiest players/managers ever to be involved in British football.

    He walked into an already established Liverpool team as Keegans replacement. A team that was probably the best in Europe of not the world at the time and started winning trophies and scoring goals from the off.

    Then when he became player manager again the were at a level where they were the best in England and maybe Europe still a the club still carried on winning trophies.

    He took over at Blackburn where he was presented with a blank cheque book and was told to knock him self out.

    If you don't get good then get lucky.

    After that he struggled at Celtic.
    Failed a Newcastle.
    And seems to be failing at Liverpool.

    Seems like he used up all his luck early doors.

  • Comment number 31.

    @27 - I would hardly call Lucas or Henderson 'tyre draggers'.

  • Comment number 32.

    @ 30 - You call being a manager and player at liverpool in the 80's and early 90's 'lucky', yeah because Heysel and Hillsborough were lucky weren't they..idiot.

  • Comment number 33.

    @30 using your theory then you could label Rooney as a very lucky player.

  • Comment number 34.

    lol@Zeemo - no one is gonna bite.

  • Comment number 35.

    Dalglish's barbs against the media are very welcome, and even though he often comes across as a whiner and a moaner (which he disguises behind sarcasm), his return is good for the game as far as I'm concerned.

    Put it this way, in the 20 years he's been away Man Utd have absolutely ripped up the record books; in the 20 years before that Liverpool did the same. English football has been completely dominated by these two clubs for decades, and English football needs a powerful Liverpool - provided it isn't one backed by a sugar-daddy - at this time more than ever. I'd love to see the next 5 years turn into a head-to-head battle for supremacy between the best two clubs in England - as long as United come out on top, obviously.

  • Comment number 36.

    @ 31. Henderson has been playing wide. Adam and Lucas are the central pair.

  • Comment number 37.

    #30 Zeemo

    Bit harsh isn't it? You note though that the success that you suggest he inherited seemed to continue with him there, in both the player and manager capacity. Presumably, though he may have landed in favourable circumstances, surely he deserves some credit for their continuation with him involved?

    Celtic is a funny one and Newcastle is some sort of soap opera that no one seems to have really got a handle on.

    As for his second stint at Liverpool, I think it is wayyyyy to early to be drawing any conclusions.

  • Comment number 38.

    Building on comments re Kenny Dalglish.

    Can anyone confirm whether one club (in this case Glasgow Celtic) have ever seen so many former players go on to manage at the top level, @ the same time i.e. Premier League.

    To illustrate this, ex Celtic players currently managing Premier League clubs:

    Kenny Dalglish
    David Moyes
    Owen Coyle
    Mick McCarthy
    Paul Lambert
    Steve Kean?

    - not even Manchester United come close....

  • Comment number 39.

    @ 36 - Not quite wide, more of right of midfield!
    This is why many LFC fans believe KK is making a mistake not playing Kuyt there as Kut can go wide

  • Comment number 40.

    24. At 11:15 29th Sep 2011, clummers wrote:

    Yes, Liverpool could beat United, Chelsea or City in a one-off final game, or even over a two-legged semi-final. But the odds are against them if they have to face two out of those three from the semi-final onwards.

    It just seems that a lot of Liverpool fans are naively overestimating their chances in that competition, on the basis that Liverpool had the most first-teamers playing out of the ''big 6''.

    Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham, City and Chelsea's are more than capable of getting to the semi-finals with a team largely full of youth/reserve team players, so I'd still consider United, City, Chelsea and probably Spurs to be ahead of Liverpool in the running for the League Cup.

  • Comment number 41.

    Why does an article on Liverpool, even one like this that is not controversial in nature, attract bad, bad whoppers who feel the need to share their hateful opinions?

    For example, the second comment by "Liam" is some of the biggest load of trash on the internet.

    Comment 7 - is this the same Ayub that is a bad, bad whopper on the official Liverpool boards? Then if so, end yourself.

    Even comments like "Mr Blue Burns" one although not necessarily vindictive, phenomenally misses the point. He didn't just pitch up at Blackburn, he wanted to go back to Liverpool first and foremost. But they wouldn't have him back. The ridiculous people running the club at the time couldn't recognise that Kenny needed a break for his own health.

    Then look at David Villa's soul patch. An embarrassment to himself.

  • Comment number 42.

    @39 Kuyt is another one who lacks pace. His passing and first touch let him down at times too. His effort and commitment are never in question.

  • Comment number 43.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 44.

    At 11:23 29th Sep 2011, Zeemo wrote:

    Kenny is one of the luckiest players/managers ever to be involved in British football.

    He walked into an already established Liverpool team as Keegans replacement. A team that was probably the best in Europe of not the world at the time and started winning trophies and scoring goals from the off.

    Then when he became player manager again the were at a level where they were the best in England and maybe Europe still a the club still carried on winning trophies.

    He took over at Blackburn where he was presented with a blank cheque book and was told to knock him self out.

    If you don't get good then get lucky.

    After that he struggled at Celtic.
    Failed a Newcastle.
    And seems to be failing at Liverpool.

    Seems like he used up all his luck early doors.


    Finish yourself. It's the only way I'm afraid.

    You don't become one the greatest players this island has ever produced, and Britain's third most successful post-war manager through luck, you absolute WUM.

    Kenny Dalglish, one of the all time greats of English football, doesn't need answering to the likes of you.

  • Comment number 45.

    @ 42 - That's right you must have a really poor 1st touch and passing ability to get in the dutch 11, who might I add are a far better team than good old England

  • Comment number 46.


    I dont think anyone is overestimating Liverpools chances in the league cup, they are just hopeful that this could be a comp where they can pick up some silverware and with the other 5 concentrating on Europe they might not want to commit all their star players to this comp. If and buts though my friend ifs and buts.

    I feel the way the club is going we have reason to be optimistic.
    Who knows in 20's years time the top spanish clubs could be feeder clubs for Liverpool and not the other way around as you stated earlier.

  • Comment number 47.

    cant post my comment

  • Comment number 48.

    comment part 1
    Agree that Henderson, Carroll and Adam, should be plan B. The fluidity and interchanging with Maxi, Kuyt, Suarez and Bellamy is clear to see. Add Gerrard to the mix and we have it all attacking wise. The shor sharp one touch and go with the quartet up front and the more expansive and killer balls of Gerrard. Lucas has earned his spot and deserves to be in the 1st team, yes he isnt your typical silky skills Brazilian but he does a job and does it well. As much as I love carrageher his time has come, his reading of the game is second to none he just does not have the legs to get there anymore.

    When fit the starting line up should be
    GK reina
    RB Johnson/Kelly
    CB Skertle
    CB Agger
    LB Enrique/Flanagan
    RW Kuyt
    CMF Lucas
    CMF Kuyt
    LW Downing
    ST Suarez
    ST Bellamy

  • Comment number 49.

    @ 40 - Didn't Spurs get knocked out??

  • Comment number 50.

    comment part 2
    On the article itself I remember the game and was shocked how we conceeded the goals and remember Dalglish looking Lost and thinking to myself its a blip next game things will change. Then came the announcement I was absolutely gutted.

    The Souness and Evans era had very few highlights (some exciting games but no major honours)However Houllier and Rafa gave us back a lot of respect and between them won everything going apart from the elusive title. Cant help thinking how Rafa would have faired with FSG backing, when Kenny retires I hope rafa is given another crack. There is no doubting his love for the club, city and fans and he made us one of the most feared teams in Europe.


  • Comment number 51.

    46. At 11:47 29th Sep 2011, clummers wrote:

    Who knows in 20's years time the top spanish clubs could be feeder clubs for Liverpool and not the other way around as you stated earlier.

    I don't believe it! I just glanced out the window and saw a herd of pigs flying past!

  • Comment number 52.

    #41 Gavelaa

    Easy there fella. I may not know the in's and out's of Dalglish's appointment to Blackburn, but hopefully you've read enough of what I've said on this blog to see that I've commented rather affectionately on him.

  • Comment number 53.

    49. At 11:50 29th Sep 2011, Reinasbaldhead wrote:


    Sorry, my mistake. For some reason I though they knocked out Fulham on penalties, but that was, of course, Chelsea.

    Well, I'd still put Liverpool as 4th favourites for the competition.

  • Comment number 54.

    @45 Meireles and Acqilani are starters for their countries, who are both above England, and can't displace Adam, Henderson and Lucas.

  • Comment number 55.

    @53 - A semi against Utd or Chelsea would be good for me

  • Comment number 56.


    You may mock Mr Villa but spanish football is currently living in a purple patch which if history is anything to go by does not last.
    Granted spanish clubs have won 5 champs leagues between since the turn of the millenium but prior to that they only had 2 since 1966.

    Things change my lad and as wise as you believe you are there is no way of telling where the next great team will come from. If you could do that then you would be doing something more with your life then being a professional blogger!

  • Comment number 57.

    How many rounds of golf did Kenny Dalglish play between managing Newcastle and resuming his Anfield responsibilities?

  • Comment number 58.

    @54 - Clutch at straw I see! Lucas is a starter for Brazil who are placed above Italy, Portugal and England..thanks for coming though!

  • Comment number 59.

    56. At 12:01 29th Sep 2011, clummers wrote:

    If we're both still here in 2031, then I'll be the first to post ''I told you so'' when Barca or Real are lifting their umpteenth European Cup, and Liverpool are plying their trade in Evo-Stick Division One North. :D

  • Comment number 60.

    Would agree with others that this is a very good blog on one of Britain's modern-day football icons. KK was absolutely immense as a player and very much at home with Liverpool in management. But he really was atrocious at Celtic and I was relieved when he and John Barnes were shown the exit door at Parkhead. Partly the Celtic disaster comes down to the strength of Rangers at the time but just as critically to Henrik Larsson's leg break against Bordeaux (?) in Europe early in that season. It pretty much sunk the team but what finished it was the cup defeat to Inverness, the dressing room bust up with Mark Viduka less than keen on playing (Tevez anyone?) and his his very poor handling of the media: backing John Barnes as the best thing in management at Celtic since Jock Stein and the final embarrassment of switching press conferences to 'sawdust' Celtic pubs in Glasgow's East End.

  • Comment number 61.

    Alright, I have read the blog and yes it's well written and refreshing I must say.
    My earlier comment #19 was made because I got off my zone and shocked and was left wondering where KD came into the picture when world is still gaga-ing about Tevez.

  • Comment number 62.

    I do agree that Kenny has always had success when he has either inherited a great squad of success fuelled player like his first stint at Liverpool or when he managed Blackburn to success (the Chelsea or City of their day) and now he is back at Liverpool he has spent 100m odd. If he were to manage a team with no funds he would struggle big time.

  • Comment number 63.

    #60~ My point exactly. Can yu imaging KK at Plymouth Argyle??

  • Comment number 64.

    Sorry, Obviously meant can you imagine KK at Plymouth!

  • Comment number 65.

    No surprises here Phil has written another boring article about Liverpool!

  • Comment number 66.


    Barca will get my respect when they manage to retain the trophy, something that no team has done since Milan in the early 90's. A team I believe would have given the current Barca side a run for its money.

  • Comment number 67.

    #62 Only One Tony Adams

    If he were to manage a team with no funds he would struggle big time.
    That is such a nebulous point. You could apply that to any manager quite frankly, and it doesn't tell you anything.

  • Comment number 68.

    I for one am pleased to see Kenny back. He has injected a well needed boost in morale throughout the club and amongst the fans. The only thing that is holding Liverpool back as a club is the need for a new stadium. That has to be the priority at the moment. If we could get a 70,000 seater stadium built then we could start to compete against the top teams in the league. Without it we may as well give up.

  • Comment number 69.

    @58 When everyone is available Lucas Leiva would not be a starter for Brazil.

  • Comment number 70.

    @69 think you need to do your research about caps won and who against, but again thanks for coming

  • Comment number 71.

    At 12:15 29th Sep 2011, Only One Tony Adams wrote:

    I do agree that Kenny has always had success when he has either inherited a great squad of success fuelled player like his first stint at Liverpool or when he managed Blackburn to success (the Chelsea or City of their day) and now he is back at Liverpool he has spent 100m odd. If he were to manage a team with no funds he would struggle big time.


    Comparing Blackburn to Chelsea and City is so, so glib. It's the type of superficial analysis that I've come to expect when reading comments on these blogs. Of the day, he spent a lot of money, but he didn't have unlimited resources, he couldn't have players who he bought fail, and still have a great team. All his signings needed to be relative successes, and they were.

    The squad Kenny inherited at Liverpool were potless. They hadn't won a trophy the season before. He then leads them to the double. But he inherited such an amazing team. Then he rebuilt it again. Tell me, do you think that the majority of the players were then when Kenny took over when they won the league in 88 and 90? Here's a clue: they weren't.

  • Comment number 72.

    KD was exactly what was needed at a time when the club was in crisis. With his results while in charge he deserved a contract to have a real go. Lets also make this clear, KD IS NOT responsible for how much money is paid to buy players, this is the responsibility of the owners and Comolli.

  • Comment number 73.

    #67~ David Moyes? All I am saying is that My Nan could put a decent team out as Manager of City/Chelsea or any of the big four, what wins you leagues is the tactical nouse at the end of the day and after all his years in management I am not convinced KK is the man to overturn Utd et al.

  • Comment number 74.

    #71~ I refer you to my comment No 73. I am not slating Kenny at all, but I do think he is a 'sunshine' manager and struggles against the top top managers for tactical ability that's all

  • Comment number 75.

    #71~ Also, it was THE team at the time and all the top players wnated to join KK at Liverpool, it was an easy sell to gather a quality squad. I just want to re-iterate, I am NOT slating Kenny as I like him a lot and was very happy for Liverpool when he came back, steadied the ship and got the contract. I just think the Liverpool fans who are expecting miracles and for Liverpool to mount a serious title challenge may be disappointed as I think Liverpool/KK come unstuck against more tactically aware top managers

  • Comment number 76.

    #73 Only One Tony Adams

    Where does this myth come from that Moyes has never spent any money? The purse strings may be tight at Goodison (in fact, people would moan if they spent money they didn't have - you can never win), and overall they may balance the books, it's all comparative, yadda, yadda, yadda, but in the last four years, they have still spent nearly £60m. That is not managing 'a team with no funds'.

    Anyway, Dalglish has been there less than a year, his record is probably better than average and so it's probably too early to convince you (or others).

  • Comment number 77.

    #75 Only One Tony Adams

    'I think Liverpool/KK come unstuck against more tactically aware top managers'

    Such as this example I guess

  • Comment number 78.

    I think the surprising thing at Celtic with Kenny was that he managed to make such a cock-up with a club and fans that he had a big connection with, unlike the Plymouth's of the world. As a player he was one of Stein's 'Quality Street' kids and was rumoured at the time to have gone to Liverpool reluctantly: sold to help pay a manager's debts to bookies allegedly. But irrespective of the truth of that and despite the inconsistencies of his managerial record I just really liked watching him as a player. Once substituted in boys football at half-time because he had already scored 8 goals!

  • Comment number 79.

    #76~ £60m in four years is total peanuts in this day and age and he has consistanly had to buy the likes of Beckford to replace their better players who get snapped up elsewhere. I like Kenny I really do, I remember Arsenal Vs Livepool games in my youth in the 80's were my fondest memories and I hope he does well.

  • Comment number 80.

    As you said Kenny can't attrack the top top players at the moment as Liverpool are not buying from a position of power. This is why the Majority of their signings are not world class but more like premiership class. They are there to get Liverpool to the next level.

    More players will be added to create competition for each place, lots of liverpool players have had it easy recently knowing their place is secure.
    As Paul Ince said on Goals on sunday this week when gerrard was coming through he used to be on him at training like a tramp on chips letting the big boys know I am after your place. This is culture Kenny wants to bring liverpool back too, fighting just to get your name on the team sheet!

  • Comment number 81.

    Phil - Kenny didn't fall out with the Liverpool hierarchy when he left but he did ask to come back as little as 6 weeks later, after he had a bit of time away from the game to recharge, and I believe the hierarchy turned him down. All he needed was a bit of special leave to recover from the stresses he had endured.

    I know its pointless but what if?...what if Kenny had been allowed to come back? He wouldn't have made the same terrible decisions as Souness that's for sure. He would have been given more respect and discipline than Evans. I think United would have still finally won the league - maybe in the late 90s with the team the had then - but no where near as often as they did. Liverpool of the mid 90s was a prodigously talented team. Would have loved seeing Fowler in a Dalglish team.

    What if...

  • Comment number 82.

    #77~ There are always exceptions and I loved that game!
    #78~ Kenny was an outstanding player, I loved watching him and when AFC played LFC I sometimes had to watch from behind the sofa! We had some great tussles back in the day and more often than not came off second best!

  • Comment number 83.

    #79 Only One Tony Adams

    Might be 'peanuts' compared to some of the big boys etc but, I very much doubt it will be the lowest spend in the league either. (In fact, I know it's not, but I can't be bothered to work out just where it fits in the league.) The absolute figure isn't important for these purposes, it's just to counter the idea that he has spent no money.

  • Comment number 84.

    #80~ Now that is what a lot of teams are missing - at Arsenal we need the younger players like that too like we used to have, the Merson's-Rocastle's-Adams of this world, but unfortunately in this day and age, clubs buy foreigners who go straight into the team as clubs are hard pushed to 'risk' the youth for fear of it backfiring and dropping down the league. It's a 'keeping up with the jones' environment now. I really respect Liverpool for buying British as I would love more in our team at the emirates

  • Comment number 85.

    #83~ MrBlueBurns, believe it or not, I agree with you and most of what you say!

  • Comment number 86.

    Ah, nice to see the anti-Liverpool band out in force already.

    Since the same point about finances have been made twice, may I point out that we have a game changer on the horizon in financial fair play. We're the one's who are trying to build a 60-70000 seater stadium, not Chelsea and Man City. We are the ones with a truly global support base, not City or Chelsea. We're the ones who can generate our own wealth better than those two clubs, and when these rules come into force, as long as Platini is as determined as he says he is to make them work, it will mean the likes of United, Liverpool and Arsenal will have an advantage.

    Then we see criticism from Dalglish for one bad spell with Celtic. He won the League at Blackburn and got Newcastle to their joint highest PL finish. He has already turned the club around from mid table obscurity to real Champions League spot competitors on a relatively low budget, and with a Liverpool team without for the most part Steven Gerrard.

    We're not title challengers yet, but we have a real shot at the Carling Cup with us playing a strong team in that competition, and the FA Cup where most of our competitors will have more end of season fatigue due to them having European Football. Not to mention that once Gerrard slips back into the team, I think we have a stronger squad than our challengers for 4th with less games to play. One bad day against Spurs doesn't mean we cannot finish above them in the league, I really believe that 4th place is there for us to take.

    No doom or gloom, just a building process.

    Ha ha take ya rose tinted glasses off bud there is no way your squad is stronger than spurs

  • Comment number 87.

    Great article, he will always be King Kenny.

  • Comment number 88.

    The best thing about the british lads is that they don't get homesick but there is still a chance of misunderstandings with Kenny's accent :-)

  • Comment number 89.

    #83~ Plus..If Moyes was Manager at one of these 'Galacticos' with an open cheque book, I reckon he would manage them to the CL within 2-3 yrs easy. I think he is the best Manager out there (SAF aside)

  • Comment number 90.

    Okay, one at a time fellas!!!

    34- Dogeared- seems like one or two already have!

    33- messibeatsrio.....not really. Rooney joined when SAF was going to rebuild again.

    44- gavalla...easy there tiger. Just an opinion. And I have to admit, I don't know what a WUM is. Sorry.

    32- reinashead....I think you missed the point I was making. Plus, what's with the name calling? Are you incapable of having a civilised debate? Grow up.

    You could have commented like MrBlueBurns. A more mature and civilised approach.
    I agree with your point about his current stint at Anfield. Of course it's too early.

    For the record- I still stand by my post.

  • Comment number 91.

    #88~ Ha ha very true, could say the same about Gerard too in his post match interviews!! How on earth do him and Kenny converse!?!

  • Comment number 92.

    If you look at it properly, the real reason "King Kenny" left was because he saw a team that he inherited (not built or bought AT ALL by him) was just going on the downslope. He had no idea how to rebuild it and didnt want to be the one at the helm when the 80's domination came to an end.

    Instead he resigned and hid, leaving Graeme Souness to pick up and pieces and attempt to rebuild. He tried but didnt do a very good job. Liverpool have been feeling the effects since and still are.

    "King Kenny" then bought the title at Blackburn when the full riches of the Premier League were only just becoming useful (and only just got there). He then chose to run away and hide again, leaving Ray Harford to pick up the pieces.

    He did a similar thing at Newcastle and Celtic (Martin O'Neill actually chose not to keep him on at the club in any capacity when he took over even though "King Kenny" wanted to stay.

    He's now back and have things improved? His signings dont appear to be pulling up any trees (AC £35m!!, Suarez wasnt his choice (Hodgson had already identified him), Henderson £20m (we'll reserve judgment but hasnt done anything yet).

    Lets just wait and see where things eventually end up but I wouldnt be getting carried away if I was a supporter of that club.

  • Comment number 93.


    Seems you're right - a few did bite, at what was clearly a troll.

    And you're still a trolling WUM :o))

  • Comment number 94.

    Moyes strength in the past has been getting the best out of underated players ie Baines, Jagielka, Cahill etc but what he has never done well is using the cheque boo ie Johnson, Beattie, Bilya whatever, Yakubu etc

  • Comment number 95.

    BTW, does King Kenny still wear his knee length Liverpool puffer jackets like he did back in the day??

  • Comment number 96.

    #94~ Trouble is though top players don't want to go to Everton, Moyes feeds off scraps - has no choice. They can't pay top dollar, can't pay top wages, can't attract the plyers who want CL football. He has to do it all on motivation and team spirit. The bloke is a top manager, everyone in the game knows it

  • Comment number 97.

    @90 - I didn't miss the point at all but i would hardly call a man who has been through 2 football tragedies and helped his wife through a long running cancer battle 'lucky'.
    KD brought in the like of Beardo, Barnes, Aldridge, Houghton etc and turned Liverpool into one on the most attacking teams the top tier of English football has lucky, no. Do your research lad!

  • Comment number 98.

    #97~ what a team they were too... like I said, when they played vs Arsenal I couldn't watch sometimes apart from Anfield 1988 of course, when Michael Thomas was charging through the midfield.....

  • Comment number 99.

    @92 if you look at it properly Dalglish did rebuild the Liverpool first time his short time. Once was after the comparatively disappointing 86/87 season when Liverpool lost two absolute pillars of the team ( Ian Rush and Kenny himself) and he made the shrewdest of moves by bringing in Aldridge, Barnes, Beardsley and Ray Houghton who went on to form the spine of the fantastic 87/88 league.

    If he had stayed on and been given the kind of money that Souness and Evans enjoyed he would have achieved even more

  • Comment number 100.

    @92 - The scouting network Rafa put in highlighted Suarez not Hodgson.
    I do like anti LFC posts when they get facts so clearly wrong.


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