Kenny Dalglish

Kenneth Mathieson "Kenny" Dalglish, or simply King Kenny to the Liverpool faithful, MBE, was born 4 March 1951. As far as Liverpool fans are concerned he is Liverpool's greatest ever player, an accolade duly recognised when in 2006 he was voted in first place in Liverpool's official list of "100 Players Who Shook the Kop". It wasn't only Liverpool fans who recognised his talent because in 2009 he was named by FourFourTwo magazine as the greatest striker in post-war British football.

Liverpool fans worldwide were rightly concerned in 1977 when the inspirational Kevin Keegan left the club to sign for Bundesliga giants Hamburg, for £500,000. They needn't worry because in the summer of 1977 the Liverpool manager Bob Paisley paid a British transfer record of £440,000 to bring Dalglish to Liverpool. His years at Liverpool marked one of the club's most successful periods.

Dalglish won seven league titles, three European Cups and five domestic trophies. His influence and talent was so great he was given the name King Kenny by Liverpool supporters. Immediately after the ill-fated European Cup Final in 1985 at the Heysel Stadium, Dalglish became player-manager of Liverpool and after six years as manager he won three league titles and two FA Cups. To everyone's surprise he resigned as Liverpool manager in 1991, in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster. As already mentioned, Dalglish was signed to replace Kevin Keegan.

Dalglish quickly settled into his new club. He made his debut, wearing Keegan's number seven shirt, on 13 August 1977 in the season opener at Wembley, in the Charity Shield against Manchester United. He scored his first goal for Liverpool in his league debut a week later on 20 August, against Middlesbrough. Dalglish also scored three days later on his Anfield debut in a 2–0 victory over Newcastle United. Liverpool fans very quickly forgot about Kevin Keegan as by the end of his first season with Liverpool, Dalglish had played 62 times and scored 31 goals, including the winning goal in the 1978 European Cup Final final at Wembley against Bruges. In his second season, 1978-79, Dalglish recorded a personal best of 21 league goals for the club, and he was also named Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year.

After becoming player-manager after Heysel, Dalglish selected himself less and less. In fact he played in just 21 First Division games in 1985–86 as Liverpool won the double, but he did start in the FA Cup final win over Everton. Even though he did not play that many games in the league, it was his goal, away at Chelsea on the last day of the league season in a 1–0 win that gave Liverpool their 16th league title. Dalglish was the manager of Liverpool at the time of the Hillsborough disaster on 15 April 1989, a disaster that claimed 96 lives. Dalglish, along with the players, attended many funerals of the victims, including four in one day. He was widely praised for the dignity and compassion he showed in the aftermath of the tragedy.

However, the strain took its toll when Dalglish resigned after the 4-4 draw against Everton in the FA Cup in February 1991. The aftermath of Hillsborough was cited as being the key factor for his resignation. Dalglish broke a twenty-year silence about the disaster in March 2009. He felt that the police and the FA should have delayed the kick-off of the match, a move which might have prevented the 96 deaths.

Two years later, during the Hillsborough Memorial Service on 15 April 2011, Liverpool MP Steve Rotherham announced that he would submit an Early Day Motion to have Dalglish knighted, "not only for his outstanding playing and managerial career, but also the charity work he has done with his wife, Marina, for breast cancer support and what he did after Hillsborough." Liverpool were clearly still in Dalglish's blood and it was no surprise when in April 2009 Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez invited Dalglish to take up a role at the club's youth academy. Dalglish was also made the club's ambassador.

Following Rafa Benitez's departure from Liverpool in June 2010, Fulham's Roy Hodgson was appointed manager. However, his tenure did not last long as a poor series of results at the start of the 2010–11 season led to Liverpool fans calling for Dalglish's return as manager as early as October 2010, noticeably Dalglish's name was chanted loud and often in the 2-1 home defeat against Premier League newcomers, Blackpool. From there on there was no subsequent improvement in Liverpool's results up to the end of the year, during which time the club was bought by New England Sports Ventures. It came as no surprise when Hodgson left Liverpool and Dalglish was appointed caretaker manager on 8 January 2011.

The Liverpool fans were delighted and many said that it was right and fitting that "King Kenny" returned as they felt that Dalglish had unfinished business from his previous stint as manager. Dalglish's first game in charge was on 9 January 2011 at Old Trafford against Manchester United in the 3rd round of the FA Cup, a game that Liverpool lost 1–0. Dalglish was certainly very busy during his first transfer window as Liverpool signed Andy Carroll from Newcastle for a British record transfer fee of £35 million and Luis Suárez from Ajax for £22.8 million at the end of January.

He wasn't only busy bringing players in as the misfiring Fernando Torres was allowed to sign for Chelsea for a staggering £50million. Dalglish began to turn Liverpool's fortunes around and it came as no big surprise when, on 12 May 2011, the club announced that Dalglish had been given a three-year contract. Dalglish was busy again in the 2011 summer transfer window as the club splashed out big money for new recruits Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam and Jose Enrique. In February 2012, Dalglish led Liverpool to victory in the League Cup in his first full season back as manager. The King was back, doing what he does best, winning trophies for Liverpool Football Club.

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