The Real Footie Analyst

Tribute to Kenny Dalglish – Happy 60th Birthday

The following is a fitting tribute I found on the Sun website on Liverpool’s current manager, Kenny Dalglish. It’s clear that he has a huge amount of respect from his peers and everyone else in the game. Cheers to the King!

Celtic 1972-77

DANNY McGRAIN came through the ranks at Celtic with Kenny Dalglish.

He recalled: “I first saw Kenny at trials for Scotland Schoolboys about 1965. This lad with a bright red face walked past me, looking as if he had just run a marathon.

“I saw him again two years later when we both ended up at Celtic. We quickly became good pals.

“Kenny was my best man in 1972. But while he was a brilliant footballer, his speech was terrible.

“Kenny’s first senior game at Celtic was a testimonial at Kilmarnock. He scored seven goals and was incredible.

“He was just so far ahead of the players he was up against. His anticipation was marvellous.

“He stood out with his talent. It was a privilege for me to have played with him.

“For Kenny later to go to Liverpool and replace Kevin Keegan the way he did said it all about him as a player. He was brilliant.”

Liverpool 1984

JOHN WARK reckons Kenny Dalglish was the BEST he ever played with – and the WORST to have as a room-mate.

Wark revealed: “I used to room with Kenny for Liverpool and Scotland. He was nearing the end of his career when I went to Merseyside and liked a kip in the afternoon.

“He would drive me mad because he wanted to sleep for a few hours at a time and would order me to draw the curtains like I was an apprentice.

“I’d turn on the TV and he’d shout for it to be switched off. He’d threaten to give me a slap if I even turned on a light!

“The funny thing was that, by the end of my career, I’d actually turned into him!”

Wark forged a lifelong bond with Dalglish during their glory days at Anfield.

He added: “I still play for the Liverpool Legends and met him at the Christmas party. Kenny was still taking the mick out of me for things that happened nearly 30 years ago!”

Scotland 1984

WILLIE MILLER would look on in awe as Kenny Dalglish destroyed defences.

Yet it was his uncanny ability to find a lorne sausage – a square Scottish sausage – anywhere in the world which sticks in Miller’s memory!

Miller said: “Playing for Scotland, the goal he scored against Spain at Hampden in 1984 sticks out for me. But my abiding memory of him on Scotland trips was the ability he had, no matter where we were, to get a hold of a roll and lorne sausage.

“That was his delicacy if you like and he just had to have it. There would be times we’d be travelling to Eastern Europe and beyond, places where I’m pretty sure lorne sausage wasn’t on the menu!

“But Kenny would wander off and the next minute come round the corner with a roll in his hand. It was a real talent.

“There were no airs and graces about him.”

Liverpool 1986

AUSSIE legend Craig Johnston’s finest hour came as a member of Liverpool’s 1986 Double-winning team under Dalglish.

Yet it is King Kenny’s steel, as much as his style, which springs to Johnston’s mind – most notably in a 1984 encounter with Manchester United when one clash with Kevin Moran left Dalglish with a fractured cheekbone.

Johnson revealed: “We all know he was a great player but he could look after himself too – not dirty, just very, very tough. When he broke his cheek against Manchester United, he actually wanted to finish the game.

“He tried to stay on but his face was a real mess. He was as white as a ghost and obviously he was told ‘no way’.

“The fundamental thing with Kenny wasn’t just to win every game but every tackle and, in Kenny’s eyes, I’ve no doubt that extended to winning every one in his dreams too.”

Scotland 1986

CRAIG BROWN had just been named assistant to stand-in Scotland boss Alex Ferguson when he dished out a half-time roasting to Dalglish.

The Scots were playing Romania in a World Cup friendly before the 1986 tournament and King Kenny was winning his 100th cap.

Brown revealed: “Those were the days when I was younger and a bit more fiery than I am now!

“We had been poor, so when we got the players back to the dressing room I told him straight ‘That was not acceptable’. Kenny just looked at me and said ‘Sorry’.

“He went back out there to put things right and we went on to win 3-0.

“When the boys came in, I complimented them and said it had been a lot better. Kenny looked at me and said ‘Thank you’.

“In fact he said only three words to me the whole time – ‘Sorry’ and ‘Thank you’.

“Now there is an aura about him. If he enters a room you know it.”

Blackburn 1991-95

STRIKER Kevin Gallacher got to know Dalglish when the Scotland legend signed him from Coventry for Blackburn in 1993.

Two years later, Rovers won the league title although, if it had been left to Kenny, the celebration party would have been low key to say the least.

Gallacher revealed: “After we’d won the title, at Liverpool of all places, we asked what had been organised – but Kenny said there were no plans. We thought he was taking the mick but he was deadly serious.

“So we got hold of Jack Walker’s son, Howard, who had a table booked at a French bistro in Preston and Kenny got us in at the function room upstairs.

“After a bite to eat, we gatecrashed the party downstairs and ended up celebrating with about 90 people.

“Kenny celebrated too but had been pretty laid back about the whole thing on the run-in.”

Newcastle 1997-98

ALAN SHEARER was already an England veteran when he joined Newcastle in 1996.

But, even then, King Kenny’s man-management took his breath away when the Scot arrived a year on.

Toon legend Shearer, 40, revealed: “Everyone says Kenny’s a great bloke but where he really stands out was that side of things.

“He played and managed through a few eras and really understands what it’s all about. That’s why everyone who has played with and for him is so loyal and full of respect. He knows exactly what’s needed, how to handle players and how to get the best from them. Kenny is a man of great dignity, especially when you consider all the trials and tribulations he’s been through.

“People said he’d been out of the game for too long before he went back to Liverpool but I tell you no one’s watched more games than him. Maybe if he’d been given longer at Newcastle he would have succeeded – and he did come at a tough time, after Kevin Keegan.

“And while Kenny wouldn’t use it as an excuse, there’s no doubt he was unlucky. A couple of days after agreeing to Les Ferdinand’s sale, I got injured and was out for 10 months.

“Also, what a lot of people don’t realise is that he’s got a great sense of humour when you get to know him. I’ve got nothing but respect for Kenny – happy 60th to him.”

Dalglish’s refusal to criticise his own players is legendary – yet Shearer’s former Toon team-mate Rob Lee reckons he should have broken his golden rule at St James’ Park.

When Toon fans were voicing their discontent under King Kenny, he once again did his best to keep the players out of the firing line.

But Lee, 45, insisted: “To be honest, Kenny probably had every reason to slag off a few of the lads he signed because there were a few who let him down quite badly.

“Their performances just weren’t up to scratch but, even then, Kenny didn’t say a word against them in public.

“He was very unlucky at Newcastle because he let Les Ferdinand go after the signing of Alan Shearer, who then picked up an injury and missed the whole season.

“It was so unfortunate for Kenny because I have no doubt that he would have brought back the glory days if he’d been allowed to stick around a bit longer.

“Personally, I have nothing but admiration for the man. After Alan joined Newcastle, everyone expected Kenny to make him captain too.

“But, to his credit, he didn’t. He left the armband with me when it would have been so much easier to take the other option.”

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