Decades of dominance for a Hampden, Parkhead and Anfield legend.
It’s entirely conceivable that you are from a generation that never witnessed Kenny Dalglish’s first stint as manager at Liverpool in the 1980’s, not to mention his heyday as a player at Anfield and Parkhead. But the Scotsman oversaw a fine team and the 1988 vintage featuring Beardsley, Barnes and Aldridge was tremendous fun to watch. A hugely underrated side in our opinion, which was sadly denied the opportunity to challenge the AC Milan of Marco Van Basten due to a ban on English clubs in Europe at the time. Cynics will point out that it wasn’t difficult for Dalglish to mould a strong team considering the continuity and ‘boot room’ mentality at Anfield in the 1980’s, but he was involved as a senior player and then manager during the Heysel and Hillsborough disasters and his moral fibre and mental strength should not be underestimated.
As the 1980’s turned into the 90’s Dalglish’s illustrious reign as manager of Liverpool FC was drawing to a close. His Liverpool side were ageing and many of Dalglish’s new recruits (think David Speedie) were deemed substandard by seasoned observers. ‘Not Liverpool players’, was a phrase regularly overheard. For every reference to a Premier League title with Blackburn Rovers, there is a the cold water that is Dalglish’s time with Newcastle as successor to Kevin Keegan, and his stint as director of football at Celtic. John Barnes, Super Caley, et al.
Time will tell whether Dalglish has the ability as a manager to raise Liverpool back to the levels enjoyed in previous decades, but as a player he was simply wonderful.
A ringmaster of supreme ability for Celtic between 1969 and 1977, Dalglish was sought to replace the iconic Kevin Keegan at Liverpool by Bob Paisley. No mean feat, the Hamburg bound England midfielder had been the fulcrum of Liverpool for much of the decade. Dalglish did not simply replace Keegan though, he vanquished his memory and exceeded to a level that few other than Paisley could have foreseen.
I was fortunate enough to spend some time talking with Ian Rush earlier this year and I wanted to avoid the basic topics that the Welshman must be asked about with a monotonous regularity. We discussed Platini, Juventus and Trapatoni (who did everything possible to persuade Rush to join him at Inter), however, I couldn’t resist a throwaway ‘who was the best that you played with?’ To be fair, amid all the talk of mercurial Frenchmen and other exotic dignitaries of Serie A, I knew the answer before Rush had responded. Kenny Dalglish. Without question.
Our latest gallery features Kenny Dalglish and there are sixteen pictures which chart Kenneth Mathieson’s career through the seventies and eighties. As ever, all the pics are available to buy as fine art prints directly from Colorsport. Something you really should consider. The more you purchase, the more often we can do this sort of thing.
IBWM is not a Liverpool FC website, just as it isn’t tied to any club, so while this may be difficult viewing if you are of a Manchester United or Everton bent, rest assured we will have something wonderful for you soon.
Something wonderful - exactly what Dalglish the player was. A sniffer, a poacher, a finisher, but also a magician, an orchestrator that could see those passes that others couldn’t. Doors were unlocked, hearts were broken. A player who could start a move and, as happened frequently, finish it too. We salute you Kenny. A true great. Without question.