Players - Gary Ablett

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
League games / goals: 109 / 1
Total 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 the 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
Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 109 18 11 6 3 147
1985-1986 0 0 0 0 0 0
1986-1987 5 1 0 0 0 6
1987-1988 17 5 0 0 0 22
1988-1989 35 6 6 0 2 49
1989-1990 15 0 1 0 0 16
1990-1991 23 6 1 0 1 31
1991-1992 14 0 3 6 0 23
A more detailed look at the player's appearances
Total Opponent
12 Everton
10 Arsenal
9 Nottingham Forest
8 Wimbledon
8 Coventry City
7 Manchester United
7 Luton Town
6 Sheffield Wednesday
6 Tottenham
6 Derby
5 Aston Villa
5 Southampton
5 Norwich City
5 Manchester City
4 Charlton Athletic
4 West Ham United
3 Millwall
2 Crystal Palace
2 Brighton & Hove Albion
2 Middlesbrough
2 Newcastle United
2 Walsall
2 Chelsea
2 Kuusysi Lahti
2 Auxerre
2 Swarowski Tirol
1 Oldham Athletic
1 Leeds United
1 Stoke City
1 Portsmouth
1 Sunderland
1 Hull City
1 Sheffield United
1 Carlisle United
1 Brentford
1 Notts County
1 Crewe
1 Peterborough United
1 Blackburn Rovers
1 Port Vale
1 Watford
Total Started/substitutions
138 Started
26 On the bench
9 Substitute
3 Substituted
Total Competition
109 League
18 FA Cup
11 League Cup
6 UEFA Cup
2 Charity Shield
1 Centenary Trophy
Goals per season
Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 1 0 0 0 0 1
1985-1986 0 0 0 0 0 0
1986-1987 1 0 0 0 0 1
1987-1988 0 0 0 0 0 0
1988-1989 0 0 0 0 0 0
1989-1990 0 0 0 0 0 0
1990-1991 0 0 0 0 0 0
1991-1992 0 0 0 0 0 0
A more detailed look at the player's goalscoring
Total Opponent
1 Nottingham Forest
Total Started/substitutions
1 Started
0 Substitute
Total Competition
1 League
Total Goal minute period
1 61-75 minutes
Total Open play/Penalty
1 Open play
Milestone Appearances
# Date Against Stadium Competition
1 20.12.1986 Charlton Athletic Selhurst Park League
50 17.12.1988 Norwich City Anfield League
100 10.11.1990 Luton Town Anfield League
Milestone Goals
# Minute Date Against Stadium Competition
1 68 18.04.1987 Nottingham Forest Anfield League
Related Articles
Gary Ablett: 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.

A snore draw

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

Hansen's tribute to Ablett

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

Gary Ablett - Tribute To A Mersey Marvel

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

Gary Ablett's view on Coventry - Liverpool - Nottingham Forest 2 May 1987
Gary Ablett's view on Coventry - Liverpool - Nottingham Forest 2 May 1987
Gary Ablett's view on Liverpool - Everton 25 April 1987
Gary Ablett's view on Liverpool - Everton 25 April 1987
Gary Ablett's view on Liverpool - Nottingham Forest 18 April 1987
Gary Ablett's view on Liverpool - Nottingham Forest 18 April 1987
Gary Ablett's view on Manchester United - Liverpool - Nottingham Forest 20 April 1987
Gary Ablett's view on Manchester United - Liverpool - Nottingham Forest 20 April 1987
Looking like a typical Liverpool player - April 1988
Looking like a typical Liverpool player - April 1988
Match poster of Ablett - 1987
Match poster of Ablett - 1987
Poster in LFC Official Matchday Magazine
Poster in LFC Official Matchday Magazine
Other Clubs
Club Season Club rank League apps League goals Total apps Total goals
Derby 1984-1985 England Third Division 6 0 6 0
Hull City 1986-1987 England Second Division 5 0 5 0
Everton 1992-1993 England Premier League 40 0 48 0
Everton 1993-1994 England Premier League 32 1 39 1
Everton 1994-1995 England Premier League 26 3 30 3
Everton 1995-1996 England Premier League 13 0 21 1
Sheffield United 1995-1996 England First Division 12 0 12 0
Birmingham City 1996-1997 England First Division 42 1 49 1
Birmingham City 1997-1998 England First Division 36 0 44 1
Birmingham City 1998-1999 England First Division 25 0 30 0
Birmingham City 1999-2000 England First Division 0 0 0 0
Wycombe 1999-2000 England Second Division 4 0 4 0
Blackpool 1999-2000 England Second Division 10 1 12 1
Long Island Rough Riders 2000-2001 MLS 3 21 2 21 2
Total 272 8 321 10