Birthdate: 25 December 1964
Birthplace: Motherwell, Scotland
Other clubs: Motherwell (1981-85), Leicester City (1985-90), Leeds United (1990-96), Coventry City (1996-2000), Coventry City (2 / 2002-03)
Bought from: Free Transfer
Signed for LFC: Bosman, 01.07.2000
International debut: 25.04.1990 vs. East Germany
International caps: 57/5 (no caps at LFC) - 31.03.1999
Liverpool debut: 19.08.2000
Last appearance: 11.05.2002
Debut goal: 12.11.2000
Last goal: 09.10.2001
Contract expiry: 13.05.2002
Win ratio: 60.92% W: 53 D: 19 L: 15
Games/goals ratio: 9.67
Total games/goals opposite LFC: 24 / 3
LFC league games/goals: 55 / 5
Total LFC games/goals: 87 / 9
Gary Mac joined Leeds in 1990 after starring for Leicester, having been linked with a move to Liverpool. McAllister, David Batty, Gordon Strachan and Gary Speed clicked in midfield and with Eric Cantona up front they created the nucleus of the championship-winning team in the 1991/92 season. McAllister was voted Leeds' Player of the Year in 1993/94, but two years later he was on his way to Coventry. Leeds didn't agree to McAllister's terms and Coventry benefitted. £3 million was considered a high fee for a 31-year-old, but then Coventry boss Gordon Strachan knew his old teammate wouldn't fail. McAllister became Coventry's captain and he even captained his national team for a while. In his final season at the Sky Blues, he was voted their best player.
Few could believe Houllier's decision to sign McAllister in July 2000 at the age of 35, not least the man himself. "This is fairytale stuff for someone at my stage of life. It did surprise me when Liverpool came in for me," McAllister told the Echo. "Liverpool have got three cup competitions next season plus a tough Premiership campaign. The average age of their side last season was under 25, and that's very young indeed for a top-flight club. The manager explained that there was a need for some experience around the squad, an old head in the side. I've just had my best ever scoring tally in the Premiership with 13 last season, and I'm feeling as fit as ever. It's too early to say just how many games I will play, maybe people will be surprised."
Did McAllister rise up to the challenge! He wasn't a regular starter until the second part of the season when he led by example as Liverpool marched through all three cup competitions. He ensured his name would be in Liverpool folklore when Everton and Liverpool were heading for a 2-2 draw in the League at Goodison Park on 16 April 2001. McAllister prepared to take a free-kick 44 yards out in stoppage-time. Paul Gerrard in the Everton goal expected a cross but McAllister had other ideas and hit a dipping shot into the bottom right-hand corner, 3-2 and delirium for Reds inside the stadium. McAllister was rightly proud of his fantastic goal. "Just a moment of inspiration I just went for it and it just managed to creep in the bottom corner. It just manages to miss a couple on the 18 yard line a few of the Everton players who could have got a head on it. I think they were taken a wee bit by surprise that I went for goal. I think it was even suggested that it was a fluke but no, I've got to tell you that I did mean it, I did mean it!" In the following game McAllister’s confident penalty past Barcelona’s Pepe Reina at Anfield guaranteed the Reds a place in the UEFA Cup final. He was pulling all the strings in the last third of Liverpool’s adventurous season, scoring in five consecutive games. Following his scoring exploits against the Blues and Barca McAllister scored from the penalty spot in a 3-1 win over Tottenham, a beauty of a free-kick defeated his former club Coventry, and another exquisite free-kick followed against Bradford City. No wonder fans still sing today about Gary Mac’s baldy head, his sweet right foot and numerous goals after signing on a free. These were exciting times for a Liverpool supporter. The League Cup, FA Cup and a UEFA Cup were won and McAllister was voted man of the match against Alaves in Dortmund, where he was involved in four of Liverpool's five goals.
McAllister was less influential in his second season at Anfield, mostly on the bench in the second part of the campaign. Liverpool made a decent title challenge but Arsenal couldn't be conquered. The Kop chanted tongue firmly in cheek "What a waste of money" as McAllister exited Anfield for the last time leaving behind a whole host of wonderful memories. He couldn't have wished for a better send-off. "I want to thank all the fans who gave me such a great ovation. They were immense. I thought I would get a decent reception but that surpassed all my wildest dreams," McAllister said. "That sort of ovation is normally reserved for players who have won European Cups for a club. It was nice to hear the Kop's humour at its best again when they were telling me to go back to Coventry." McAllister rejoined the Sky Blues as their player-manager in May 2002. Sadly, his wife Denise was diagnosed with terminal cancer and McAllister resigned from the club in January 2004 so that he could spend more time with his family. Denise, who married Gary in 1993, passed away in March 2006. After nearly four years out of the game, McAllister was lured back into football management by one of his former clubs, Leeds United, in January 2008. A popular choice with the Elland Road club's supporters, he took Leeds to the play-off final at Wembley but they were beaten by Doncaster Rovers. Things did not go well the following season and he was dismissed four days before Christmas 2008 after a bad run of results that included an embarrassing FA Cup exit to non-League Histon. McAllister joined Middlesbrough as first-team coach in May 2010. Four months later McAllister left his post at Boro to become Gérard Houllier's assistant manager at Aston Villa. When Houllier had to take a sick leave in April 2011 McAllister deputised for him until the end of the season, His last game in charge was a 1-0 home victory over Liverpool. When Alex McLeish took over as manager McAllister left Villa.
The 2000/01 season was one of the most memorable in McAllister's distinguished career. "There was a time when I went into training and we were off to Rome, then on a jet to Cardiff for the League Cup final, then Barcelona, then Portugal, then down to qualify for the Champions League at Charlton. That's what you come into football for, to be involved in the best games against the best players where there's a lot at stake. It was magic."