Player profile

Gary Ablett

Birthdate: 19 November 1965
Birthplace: Aigburth, Liverpool, England
Date of death: 1 January 2012
Other clubs: Derby County (loan 1985), Hull City (loan 1986), Everton (1992-96), Sheffield United (loan 1996), Birmingham City (1996-99), Wycombe Wanderers (loan 1999), Blackpool (2000), Long Island Rough Riders (2000-01)
Bought from: Local
Signed for LFC: Joined October 1981 - Professional 19.11.1983
International caps: U-21 1/0
Liverpool debut: 20.12.1986
Last appearance: 01.01.1992
Debut goal: 18.04.1987
Last goal: 18.04.1987
Contract expiry: 13.01.1992
Win ratio: 53.74% W: 79 D: 38 L: 30
Honours: League Championship 1987/88, 1989/90; FA Cup 1989
Total games/goals opposite LFC: 5 / 0
LFC league games/goals: 109 / 1
Total LFC games/goals: 147 / 1

Player profile

A hard-working defender dedicated to Liverpool's cause who played either at left-back or centre-half. Ablett came through the ranks at Liverpool and made his debut for the reserves on 23 November 1982. Four years later the 21-year-old finally took his bow for the first team. Ablett made quite an impression on his senior home debut against Nottingham Forest on 18 April 1987 as the Times reported: "For one so young, Ablett produced a quite memorable display. He carried out his defensive duties with elegant poise and underlined his rich potential by scoring Liverpool's third goal after 68 minutes with a quite delightful volley." This turned out to be his only goal for Liverpool. A week later Ablett helped Ian Rush make local history as his pass led to Rushie equalling Dixie Dean's record of 19 goals in Merseyside derbies. Gary Gillespie and Barry Venison were first choice when the historic 1987/88 season started, but from end of January onwards Ablett played every game except one due to his rivals' injuries. As the following League season kicked off Ablett found himself again in the reserves, but soon enough Venison was on the sidelines and then Gillespie suffered a serious injury which kept him out for four months. After featuring in 49 matches in 1988/89 Ablett no doubt looked forward to the following campaign, but to his dismay he was considered second best to a number of players. Gillespie's rotten luck with injuries was to Ablett's benefit in 1990/91 and he started 30 games for the club. Ablett was in Souness' first eleven as the following season started, but after a dismal run of results that left Liverpool in ninth place he was booted out of the team and sold to Everton for £750,000 in January 1992.

Ablett wrote his name in the history books by becoming the only player to win the FA Cup at Liverpool and Everton when the Blues beat Manchester United in the 1995 final, having won the cup previously in 1989. Ablett went on to make 156 appearances for Everton in four years before establishing an excellent understanding with Steve Bruce in the middle of Birmingham's defence from 1996-1998. When Bruce left to become player-manager at Sheffield United, Ablett was appointed captain of the club. He finished his career in the unlikely venue of New York as a member of Long Island Rough Riders. Ablett spent a few years as coach at Everton's academy and in the summer of 2006 he returned to Liverpool as manager of the reserve team. That appointment brought success as under Ablett's guidance Liverpool won the Premier Reserve League North in April 2008 and a month later became national champions by convincingly defeating the Southern champions Aston Villa 3-0 at Anfield. His second season in charge proved to be somewhat of an anti-climax and he was sacked as part of Rafa Benítez's rebuilding of the youth system at Liverpool in the summer of 2009. On 8 July 2009 Gary Ablett was named as the new manager of League One club Stockport County who had a miserable 2009/10 season and were relegated back to League Two. Just over two months later it was announced that Ablett had left the club. 

In the summer of 2010, Ablett was offered a way back into the game by Roy Keane at Ipswich Town, who wanted to add him to his coaching staff at Portman Road. Unfortunately, before he was really able to take up this new post in earnest, Ablett was rushed to hospital after being taken ill on the training ground. It was subsequently confirmed that the 44-year old was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma - the same form of cancer that ex-Arsenal midfielder David Rocastle died from in 2001. Only three days passed from diagnosis to the first session of chemotherapy so it was a massive shock to Gary and his family. Gary Ablett passed away on 1 January 2012 only 46 years of age.

Appearances per season

SeasonLeagueFALCEuropeOtherTotal
Totals109181163147
1985-1986 000000
1986-1987 510006
1987-1988 17500022
1988-1989 35660249
1989-1990 15010016
1990-1991 23610131
1991-1992 14036023

A more detailed look at the player's appearances

TotalOpponent
12Everton
10Arsenal
9Nottingham Forest
8Wimbledon
8Coventry City
7Manchester United
7Luton Town
6Sheffield Wednesday
6Tottenham
6Derby
5Aston Villa
5Southampton
5Norwich City
5Manchester City
4QPR
4Charlton Athletic
4West Ham United
3Millwall
2Crystal Palace
2Brighton & Hove Albion
2Middlesbrough
2Newcastle United
2Walsall
2Chelsea
2Kuusysi Lahti
2Auxerre
2Swarowski Tirol
1Oldham Athletic
1Leeds United
1Stoke City
1Portsmouth
1Sunderland
1Hull City
1Sheffield United
1Carlisle United
1Brentford
1Notts County
1Crewe
1Peterborough United
1Blackburn Rovers
1Port Vale
1Watford
Total Started/substitutions
138 Started
26 On the bench
9 Substitute
3 Substituted

Goals per season

SeasonLeagueFALCEuropeOtherTotal
Totals100001
1985-1986 000000
1986-1987 100001
1987-1988 000000
1988-1989 000000
1989-1990 000000
1990-1991 000000
1991-1992 000000

A more detailed look at the player's goalscoring

TotalStarted/substitutions
1Started
0Substitute
TotalCompetition
1League
TotalGoal minute period
01-15
016-30
031-45
046-60
161-75 minutes
076-90
091-120
TotalOpen play/Penalty
1Open play
0Penalty

Wartime Appearances / Goals

SeasonAppearancesGoals
No records to display.

Stats note

Milestone Appearances

#DateAgainstStadiumCompetition
120.12.1986Charlton AthleticSelhurst ParkLeague
5017.12.1988Norwich CityAnfieldLeague
10010.11.1990Luton TownAnfieldLeague

Milestone Goals

#MinuteDateAgainstStadiumCompetition
16818.04.1987Nottingham ForestAnfieldLeague

Related Articles

Review of Gary Ablett's The Game of My Life

In essence this is a happy story because Gary Ablett was able to play football at a high level for many years. But it is not a story with a happy ending.More

A snore draw

Match report from British Soccer Week on Manchester United - Liverpool on 06.10.1991.More

Hansen's tribute to Ablett

Alan Hansen has spoken of his sadness following the death of former Liverpool defender Gary Ablett.More

Gary Ablett - Tribute To A Mersey Marvel

More

Related Quotes

"I just thought there was no harm in applying so I sent my CV in and a couple of days later Rafa called me and said 'would you like to come in?' I was interviewed for an hour and a half and found it fascinating to be quite truthful. He grilled me on the tactics board so obviously he wanted to see I knew what I was doing. I waited for 10 days, maybe two weeks, before I got another call asking me to come in when he asked me to do a plan of the season for him, which I did for the young players. Four to five days later I was asked to come in again and was told that the job was mine.

I'm under no illusions. I know from the conversations I had with the manager there was some illustrious names who had applied for the job, probably players with a lot more personality, a lot more character and a lot more history with Liverpool Football Club. I think the fact the background I had come from was working with players at Everton for three or four years at under-18 level, that maybe I was the type of personality that Rafa was looking for."

Ablett became Liverpool's reserve team manager in the summer of 2006

"Not in a million years. I was about to become an Everton player and crossing Stanley Park is a very strange feeling. Although I'd always been a Liverpudlian all my thoughts and energies were suddenly focused on Everton and I wanted to prove Liverpool were wrong for letting me go. When I eventually hung up my boots and returned to England it was Everton who gave me my break on the coaching side and that's all I was concentrating on. I would never have dreamt that four years down the line I'd be crossing sides again."

Gary Ablett in March 2007 on if he ever thought he would return to Liverpool again after he left as a player in January 1992

The player was in the squad the following season

SeasonShirt #Position
1985-1986 * Defender
1986-1987 * Defender
1987-1988 * Defender
1988-1989 * Defender
1989-1990 * Defender
1990-1991 * Defender
1991-1992 * Defender
* Note, Since the 1993-94 season players have been allocated a fixed number.

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