The worst thing I could have done was carry on

"The worst thing I could have done was carry on"

by Colin Gibson of "The Daily Telegraph"


But before deciding on a full-time successor, the Liverpool board, led by chairman Noel White, were still trying to come to terms with Mr. Dalglish's sudden exit. It was the speed of his departure and lack of any real hints of disaffection that surprised the club's hierarchy, who first learned of Mr. Dalglish's intentions on Thursday morning, hours after a 4-4 draw at Everton, regarded as one of the greatest FA Cup ties.


At 10.30 there was a routine management meeting for Peter Robinson, the club's chief executive, Mr. White and Mr. Dalglish. The first words were uttered by Mr. Dalglish. He told his shocked colleagues that he could go on no longer. For the next 10 hours the Anfield board did everything within their power to try to persuade Mr. Dalglish to stay. They pleaded with him, offered him everything they could think of. But Mr. Dalglish would not change his mind.


They tried to convince Mr. Dalglish to wait until the end of the season and even offered him a sabbatical. Again he refused. By 8.30pm with Liverpool's ground in darkness, the decision had been accepted with extreme reluctance. They watched him leave with Tom Saunders, the club's scout and his close confidant.


They knew at that moment the end of another spectacularly successful era was at an end. "Watching Kenny Dalglish walk out of Anfield was the saddest moment of my life," said Mr. Robinson.


A press conference was called for 11am. No attempt was made yesterday to press Mr. Dalglish, who had two years of his contract to run, to change his mind. There was no turning back.

Before entering to face the press for the last time, he spent some moments with his players to tell them of his decision. It was as much a shock to them as it had been to the board.

Alan Hansen, the club captain and a golfing partner for Mr. Dalglish said: "It came as a shock to everybody. We just couldn't believe it."


Mr. Dalglish looked distraught when he was flanked by Mr. White and former chairman Sir John Smith, who had appointed him player-manager in 1985.


"This is not a decision that I just woke to," he said as he struggled to explain why he was leaving the most successful club in Britain. It is something that has taken me a long time to come to. The worst thing I could have done was not to make a decision at all and just carry on until the end of the season, knowing that I was not happy. I felt I had gone far enough and could not delay it and longer. The biggest problem was the pressure that I was putting myself under because of the desire to be successful. It was the build-up to matches and the aftermath that was the problem. It is just me as an individual who had a problem and the best way to solve that problem was to take this action."


He had not a clue what he would do next but he will welcome the opportunity to spend more time with his wife, Marina and four children. Mr. Dalglish has made a lot of money from the sport and has invested in leisure projects.


He is also a keen golfer and may well unwind on the links on the Lancashire coast. He spent yesterday playing golf with Ron Yeats, the former Liverpool defender.


Mr. White emphasised that Mr. Dalglish, manager for six years, departed on amicable terms, even though there had been suggestions of a rift developing between boot room and board room.

"He was an outstanding player and his career as a manager as been every bit as successful," said Mr.White.


Mr. Moran, 56, first-team coach for eight years was named as acting manager and installed by bookmakers as favourite to succeed Mr. Dalglish, who left without clearing his office.

The Liverpool board are coming to terms with the prospect of breaking with tradition. For 32 years, since the arrival of Bill Shankly, the founder of the modern Liverpool, the club have picked their managers from within. They may have to change this time.

Copyright  - The Daily Telegraph

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