Kenny Dalglish (2nd term)
Birthdate: 4 March 1951
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland
Other clubs as manager: Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United
Arrived from: Ambassador for Liverpool
Signed for LFC: 8 January 2011
First game in charge: 09.01.2011
Contract Expiry: 16.05.2012
LFC league games as manager: 56
Total LFC games as manager: 74
Honours: League Cup 2012
Liverpool fans were heartbroken when the club's biggest legend left the club in February 1991 after leading Liverpool to three League titles and two FA Cups in five years. Before the end of the calendar year in which he had left Liverpool, Dalglish was back in football as the manager of Blackburn Rovers and he took the Lancashire club not only to The Promised Land of the Premier League but to its very summit, achieved on a memorable afternoon back at Anfield in the middle of May 1995 when, despite losing 2-1 to Liverpool on the day, Rovers were crowned English champions. Shortly after that success, Kenny became Blackburn's Director of Football with Ray Harford replacing him as team manager. It was not a successful move. The team's performances at home and abroad started to decline and eventually Kenny left Blackburn 'by mutual consent'. In the middle of January 1997 he was unveiled as Newcastle United's new manager. He steered the North-East club to become runners-up in the Premier League in 1997; and also took them to an F.A. cup final the following year. But the real success he had enjoyed at Liverpool and Blackburn was elusive and after starting the 1998-1999 season with draws in the opening two League matches, Dalglish was replaced by Ruud Gullit.
Kenny became Glasgow Celtic's Director of Football in June 1999 with John Barnes appointed at the same time as Head Coach. But Barnes was sacked in February 2000 and Kenny took over the manager's responsibilities and guided the Celts to a Scottish League cup final success over Aberdeen. Despite that trophy, Kenny himself was soon replaced as manager by Martin O'Neill. But the way his contract was terminated led to a short legal battle, at the end of which Dalglish accepted Celtic's settlement offer.
Kenny Dalglish was inevitably linked with many managerial posts during the first decade of a new millennium. But it seemed nothing could tempt him back into the game that had become his life. Twenty years after the Hillsborough Disaster, Kenny spoke openly about that day and its aftermath in a frank television interview. He also spoke at the Memorial Service at Anfield in April, 2009. It was clear that Liverpool's supporters admired, respected and loved him as much as they had when he had been player and manager. On the 3rd of July, 2009 the club officially announced Kenny's return to Anfield, where he was said to "assume a senior role at the Liverpool Academy and will also act as a Club ambassador working with the commercial side of the business around the world". Dalglish was asked to help the club find a replacement for Rafael Benítez as manager. Despite wanting the post himself, the job eventually went to Roy Hodgson. But a wretched start to the Premier League season saw the Reds in the unfamiliar territory of the relegation-zone after losing at home to Blackpool in October. When results failed to improve, Hodgson left the club 'by mutual consent' and Kenny was appointed on the 8th of January 2011 to replace him until the end of the 2010-11 season.
After successfully leading Liverpool from the bottom half of the table to challenging for a spot in the Europa League Dalglish was appointed long-term manager on the 12th of May, signing a three-year contract. Coach Steve Clarke, who arrived not long after Dalglish also signed a three-year contract. John Henry, Liverpool's new principal owner thankfully recognised Dalglish's importance to the club: "Kenny is a legendary Liverpool figure both as a supremely gifted footballer and successful manager. Since returning in January he has shown extraordinary leadership and the ability to bring the best out of so many people associated with the club. It was obvious to us very early on that the atmosphere surrounding the club had been transformed by his presence. No-one else could have produced such a response. Therefore, I’m delighted we have agreed to a new contract. We didn’t need nor want to look elsewhere for the right man to manage the team.”
Dalglish was back at the helm for real now: “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to help build something special here again. I want to salute the efforts of all the players as they have been fantastic and thank everyone at the club for the welcome they have given me since I returned in January. I also want to pay tribute to Steve Clarke’s input since we started working together as he has brought great experience and knowledge to the role. The players enjoy the training sessions, understand their relevance to our actual football games and have responded brilliantly.” King Kenny's smile lit up Anfield once again and the fans' faces once again and most importantly Liverpool had reclaimed its long-lost identity!
Despite winning Liverpool's first trophy for six years, the League Cup, and coming close to a cup double in the FA Cup Dalglish was sacked following his first full season after Liverpool's worst League campaign since the start of the Premier League. Liverpool Managing Director, Ian Ayre, said even though it was difficult to let Kenny go the reason was simple. "If you don't believe the results are right and feel 37 points off the champions and 17 points off Champions League pace is a long distance you have to make a change," Ayre said bluntly. "The history the club was built on was about success and that means success in the league, which leads to Champions League football, and also winning trophies. No-one is saying we didn't enjoy winning the Carling Cup and getting to the FA Cup final but ultimately the backbone of football now is the Premier League and European football at the highest level."