Players - Alan Kennedy

Alan Kennedy
Birthdate: 31 August 1954
Birthplace: Sunderland, England
Other clubs: Newcastle United (1971-78), Sunderland (1985-87), Hartlepool United (1987), Beerschot (1987), Grantham Town (1987), Wigan Athletic (1987-88), Colne Dynamos (1988-89), Enfield (1989), Wrexham (1990), Morecambe (1991), Netherfield (1991-92), Northwich Victoria (1992), Radcliffe Borough (1992-93), Netherfield (2 / 1993-94), Barrow (1994-96)
Bought from: Newcastle United
Signed for LFC: £330,000, 13.08.1978
International debut: 04.04.1984 vs. Northern Ireland
International caps: 2/0 - 02.05.1984
Liverpool debut: 19.08.1978
Last appearance: 14.09.1985
Debut goal: 09.09.1978
Last goal: 08.09.1984
Contract expiry: September 1985
Win ratio: 60.45% W:217 D:84 L:58
Honours: League Championship 1978/79, 1979/80, 1981/82, 1982/83, 1983/84; League Cup 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984; European Cup 1981, 1984
Total games/goals opposite LFC: 8 / 0
LFC league games/goals: 251 / 15
Total LFC games/goals: 359, / 20

Player Profile

A great attacking left-back who had the knack of scoring vital goals for Liverpool that brought further glory to the club. He's Liverpool's history in the early 80's embodied. Who can forget when he scored the winning goal in Paris against Real Madrid in the 1981 European Cup final and everyone will remember the look on his face when he celebrated the deciding spot-kick in Rome 1984. Kennedy was a 19-year-old full-back for Newcastle United on the day that Liverpool destroyed his FA Cup final hopes in 1974 by outplaying the Geordies 3-0 at Wembley. He didn't know it at the time but although he never would collect a winners' medal in the FA Cup, he would win more trophies than he could ever have dreamed possible after his transfer from the North-East to Merseyside just before the start of the 1978/79 season. Kennedy was an England B-international and now the most expensive full-back in England. Bob Paisley was quite pleased with his new signing who he captured two days before the European deadline of 15 August 1978: "He will be a first-class capture. He is fast, likes to move up to attack and should fit into our side very quickly. There would be seven men challenging for the back four positions - Hughes, Thompson, Hansen, Neal, Jones, Kennedy and Irwin. I wanted Kennedy because I wanted more competition for places." Paisley added: 'If this lad doesn‘t play for England I‘ll throw myself in the Mersey...when the tide is out.' 

The left-back position had been a bit of a 'problem-area' for Liverpool in 1977/78 with Joey Jones, Tommy Smith and Alan Hansen all wearing the No. 3 shirt at some stage of that season. Kennedy came across Bill Shankly of all people before his debut as he told "Shankly looked at me: 'Hi ya, son. How you‘re doing?' 'I am alright, Mr. Shankly. I am a little bit nervous.' He went into his pocket and pulled out... and I don‘t know what he had given me, but he gave me a couple of tablets. I thought, 'What has he given me here?', but it‘s Mr. Shankly and whatever he says is right. All of a sudden my mind was going back to the World Cup of ´78 where there was a Scottish player who had taken some kind of drug, Willie Johnston, and so in the end... He might have given me drugs like. I better have a little look. When I brought them out there were two sweets there and that's all they were, just two sweets. I thought if Mr. Shankly had given me them they must do me good so I ate the sweets. I felt great now. I didn't really. It's like somebody telling you to eat a steak before a game, it makes you feel good. It doesn't make you feel good. It makes you feel terrible. It just made me more relaxed." Kennedy's first game was against Queens Park Rangers and even though Liverpool won 2-1 he didn't have an ideal debut. "Early on I miskicked with my right foot - the one I use for standing on - and knocked a policeman's helmet off. I also conceded a couple of corners and made a few errors. I just wanted half-time to come to get some reassurance from the manager but when I got back to the dressing room, Bob said to me, 'I think that they shot the wrong Kennedy!'

Kennedy eventually adapted to the side and played 37 League games in each of his first two seasons at Anfield, winning League Championship medals on both occasions. He missed large parts of the 1980/81 season through injury but still contributed two priceless goals to keep the club's run of success going on into the 80's. His extra-time goal narrowly failed to beat West Ham in the League Cup final at Wembley but he was a member of the team that beat the Hammers in the Aston Villa replay 18 days later. On an unforgettable night in Paris his blistering shot fizzed past the Real Madrid keeper in a blur to bring the European Cup to Anfield for the third time in five seasons. His astonishing record of scoring in big games continued as he struck a second-half equaliser against Manchester United in the 1983 League Cup final and then a year later came the most dramatic moment of all, the decisive penalty-kick in the shoot-out that followed the 1-1 draw with the Italian champions from Rome. This was no doubt the biggest moment of Kennedy's career, one which he was happy to share with "To this day I've got no idea why Fagan gave me the opportunity to take a penalty. He may have panicked. He may have looked at the rest of the team and thought, 'Why not Ronnie Whelan, Michael Robinson' or whoever was still on the pitch at the time?", Kennedy recollects. "And then to say: 'Alan, how are you feeling?' And I said: 'I'm fine', because I hadn't been picked. He said: 'OK' and then he walks off. Then he pointed to Graeme Souness and Ian Rush. Phil Neal was always going to take one. But the two others, Steve Nicol and me. thought 'no chance'. He picked Steve Nicol, the youngest man of the team and all of a sudden... I didn't realise he had picked me at the time. It suddenly sinks in and I panicked. I didn't want it to happen. I hadn't had a bad game in the 120 minutes, but in that situation you have to stand up and be counted. No player had any confidence in me. In the end they were looking at themselves and thinking to themselves, 'He's bound to miss this one. Who's going to take the next one?' That didn't obviously give me the confidence I needed when I am walking up there. You put the ball down... I thought of my family, my girlfriend at the time... I just felt I can't let these people down... We were so bad the week before we had to abandon the practice. The kids beat us in the penalty shoot-out. They say you should be clear, be focused and never change your mind. I didn't have any of those three in my mind. I opened up my body at the end... I didn't know why I did it... Tancredi the goalkeeper went to his left-hand side and I got the ball into the right hand side. You can't imagine the relief I had at that particular moment. I just wanted to be with all my family, all my friends, all the players and just to say a big thank you. What a relief it was. And I saw all the players afterwards and they were telling me, 'We can't believe you scored that goal.' I said, 'I know!'"

Kennedy played in most of the following season's first division fixtures but got injured at the end of March which helped Jim Beglin establish himself in his place. Kennedy did play in the opening eight League matches of the 1985/86 season but an own goal in the last of those games at Oxford was the final straw for the new player-manager, Kenny Dalglish. Kennedy never played for the club again and Phil Neal, his full-back partner for so long and with whom he had enjoyed so much success, would only last a few more games before he too was replaced by Steve Nicol. Kennedy had a brief spell in Belgium and unsuccessful trials at Husqvarna in Sweden and B 1903 in Denmark. He made 18 appearances for fourth division Wrexham before heading to non-league football until he had passed his forty-second birthday. "My greatest strengths were pace and attitude. I would never give up and always give a 100%. I really thought that coming to Liverpool really made me feel I could play football because if you could get into that team you could get into any team. They were so strong and so good and I felt comfortable in the team. There were quite a few players who tried to take my position. I felt I was good enough to beat all of them."
Appearances per season
Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 251 21 45 36 6 359
1978-1979 37 2 1 3 0 43
1979-1980 37 5 7 1 1 51
1980-1981 19 1 7 6 1 34
1981-1982 34 3 6 4 0 47
1982-1983 42 3 8 6 1 60
1983-1984 42 2 13 9 1 67
1984-1985 32 5 3 7 2 49
1985-1986 8 0 0 0 0 8
A more detailed look at the player's appearances
Total Opponent
18 Tottenham
17 Nottingham Forest
16 Arsenal
16 Ipswich Town
14 Aston Villa
14 Norwich City
13 Manchester United
12 Stoke City
12 Birmingham City
12 WBA
12 Everton
12 West Ham United
11 Southampton
11 Coventry City
10 Manchester City
8 Sunderland
8 Brighton & Hove Albion
7 Leeds United
7 Wolves
6 Luton Town
6 Watford
6 Notts County
5 Swansea City
4 Bristol City
4 Middlesbrough
4 Chelsea
4 Bolton Wanderers
4 Leicester City
4 Sheffield Wednesday
4 CSKA Sofia
4 Benfica
3 Crystal Palace
3 Burnley
3 Fulham
3 Derby
3 Newcastle United
2 Blackburn Rovers
2 Walsall
2 Dundalk
2 Stockport County
2 Tranmere Rovers
2 Bradford City
2 Oulu Palloseura
2 Aberdeen
2 Athletic Bilbao
2 York City
2 Din. Bucharest
2 Brentford
2 Barnsley
2 Odense BK
2 Exeter City
2 Austria Vienna
2 Lech Poznan
2 HJK Helsinki
2 Widzew Lodz
1 Roma
1 Independiente
1 Grimsby Town
1 Altrincham
1 Real Madrid
1 Chesterfield
1 Dinamo Tbilisi
1 Juventus
1 Anderlecht
1 Bayern Munich
1 Oxford United
1 Bury
1 Rotherham United
1 Sheffield United
1 Portsmouth
Total Started/substitutions
357 Started
5 On the bench
2 Substitute
9 Substituted
Total Competition
251 League
45 League Cup
34 European Cup
21 FA Cup
5 Charity Shield
2 European Super Cup
1 World Club Championship
Goals per season
Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 15 0 2 3 0 20
1978-1979 3 0 0 0 0 3
1979-1980 1 0 0 0 0 1
1980-1981 2 0 1 1 0 4
1981-1982 3 0 0 0 0 3
1982-1983 3 0 1 2 0 6
1983-1984 2 0 0 0 0 2
1984-1985 1 0 0 0 0 1
1985-1986 0 0 0 0 0 0
A more detailed look at the player's goalscoring
Milestone Appearances
# Date Against Stadium Competition
1 19.08.1978 QPR Anfield League
50 08.09.1979 Coventry City Anfield League
100 30.08.1980 Norwich City Anfield League
150 06.02.1982 Ipswich Town Anfield League
200 30.11.1982 Norwich City Anfield League Cup
250 22.10.1983 QPR Loftus Road League
300 12.05.1984 Notts County Meadow Lane League
350 31.03.1985 Manchester United Anfield League
Milestone Goals
# Minute Date Against Stadium Competition
1 81 09.09.1978 Birmingham City St Andrews League
Related Articles

We are pleased to welcome columnist Declan Sloan aboard at He takes a look at important penalties for Liverpool throughout the years.

Alan Kennedy - European Cup hero

Alan Kennedy not only scored the winning goal in one European Cup final, but was destined to clinch Liverpool's success in two! A European legend for Liverpool and a winner of five League titles. It was an honour for LFChistory to interview this tremendous ambassador of Liverpool FC.

Alan tackles the problem

An article from the Liverpool Echo on 10 February 1979.

Blues Humiliated By Euro Champs

The Coventry Evening Telegraph report on Birmingham City - Liverpool on 09.09.1978.

Alan and Ray Kennedy were an odd couple

Alan and Ray Kennedy were an interesting duo on the left flank at Liverpool.

The Guardian match report

Match report from the Guardian on 27.05.1981 from the European Cup final in Paris.

The Guardian match report

The Guardian reports from Rome on 30.05.1984.

Great matches: Liverpool could have scored six!

The FA Cup final in 1974 was a one-sided affair for Liverpool vs. Alan Kennedy's and Terry McDermott's Newcastle.

Shoot! Focus on Alan Kennedy

An old focus from Shoot! on the left-back of old, who feels somebody owes him a drink.

Related Quotes

"I had planned all the way through the shoot-out to put the ball to the keeper's left, but changed my mind during the run-up and put it to his right. I had also planned, if I scored, to do a wonderful cartwheel/somersault celebration but I was so carried away that I just ended up running, running and, eventually, jumping up in the air, like a madman!"

Alan Kennedy on his celebration in the penalty shoot-out against Roma

"My first game was against Queens Park Rangers at Anfield early on and I miskicked with my right foot - the one I use for standing on - and knocked a policeman's helmet off. I also conceded a couple of corners and made a few errors. I just wanted half-time to come to get some reassurance from the manager but when I got back to the dressing room, Bob said to me, 'I think that they shot the wrong Kennedy!'"

Alan Kennedy on Bob Paisley

"I had Alan Kennedy playing with me. That wasn’t easy. You’d go short and he’d hit it long. You’d go long and he’d hit it short. I used to say: ‘Alan, you took five years off my career.’ When people asked which Kennedy I was I’d say, ‘the intelligent one.’"

Ray Kennedy on his namesake Alan

"That was the beauty of playing with Alan, you never, ever knew where he was going to be."

Alan Hansen reflects on the unpredictability of the wandering Alan Kennedy

"I am a Manchester United fan and there I was, standing in front of the Kop waiting to take a penalty. Kennedy came up to me and bet me £5 that I would miss it. But I only missed two penalties in my entire non-league career and I wasn't about to make a fool of myself in front of the Kop. I was nice and calm, put the ball past Clemence and stood in front of the Kop fans taking the applause, they were pretty decent about it. Then Kennedy came up to me in the players' bar afterwards and gave me a fiver."

Graham Heathcote took non-league's Altrincham's penalty in the match vs Liverpool on 3rd of January 1981

Other Clubs
Club Season Club rank League apps League goals Total apps Total goals
Newcastle United 1972-1973 England First Division 2 0 2 0
Newcastle United 1973-1974 England First Division 18 0 25 0
Newcastle United 1974-1975 England First Division 28 3 34 3
Newcastle United 1975-1976 England First Division 42 1 57 1
Newcastle United 1976-1977 England First Division 42 2 48 2
Newcastle United 1977-1978 England First Division 26 3 31 3
Sunderland 1985-1986 England Second Division 32 2 37 2
Sunderland 1986-1987 England Second Division 22 0 27 0
Hartlepool United 1987 England Fourth Division 5 0 6 0
Beerschot 1987 Belgium N/A N/A N/A N/A
Grantham Town 1987 Southern League Midland Division 3 0 3 0
Wigan Athletic 1987-1988 England Third Division 22 0 22 0
Colne Dynamoes 1988-1989 Northern Premier League Division One 16 0 16 0
Enfield 1989 Conference 2 0 3 0
Wrexham 1989-1990 England Fourth Division 7 0 7 0
Wrexham 1990-1991 England Fourth Division 9 0 12 0
Morecambe 1991 Northern Premier League N/A N/A N/A N/A
Netherfield 1991-1992 Northern Premier League Division One N/A N/A N/A N/A
Northwich Vict. 1992 Conference 1 0 1 0
Radcliffe Borough 1992-1993 Northern Premier League Division One N/A N/A N/A N/A
Netherfield 1993-1994 Northern Premier League Division One N/A N/A N/A N/A
Barrow 1994-1996 Northern Premier League 29 0 29 0
Total 306 11 360 11