Kenny Dalglish was a world class player when he played for Celtic and Liverpool.
Kenny Dalgish – only 7th in the league table
And there cannot be too many Scottish players that were better than Kenny, and when he was player manager at Liverpool and manager of Blackburn, he was also a very good manager.
But since 1995, when he won the Premier League title with Blackburn, he’s done nothing in management.
That’s other than be at Newcastle for 20 months and at Celtic for a short while, and of course he’s now back at Liverpool.
But at Newcastle he took the side from a 2nd place finish in 1997, when he came in for the departed Kevin Keegan in January of that year, and took Newcastle to fighting relegation in the next season and finishing 13th in the table on 44 points, and above Tottenham, Wimbledon and Sheffield Wednesday only on goal difference.
That’s after Kenny sold a number of local lads in the summer of 1997, including Lee Clark and Robbie Elliot, as we recall.
And that was the lowest position Newcastle had ever finished in the Premier League at that time, and we remember well when John Hall called the season a disaster.
And when Kenny was told about that statement in a press conference, he seemed surprised, but after the first few games of the 1998-1999 season he was sacked by Freddy Shepherd, and in came Ruud Gullit, who turned out to be not much better and he only lasted about a year.
Former Newcastle striker Faustino Asprilla got short shrift from Kenny during that time, and found himself mostly on the bench and he has this to say today to the local press:
“When Kenny Daglish arrived at Newcastle I had heard so many good things about him.” “And I could not wait to play for him.”
“Anyone who achieves so much as a player like he did you would naturally expect him to do well as a manager.” “This was not the case. Within months he had the team playing a style that was alien to most of us and he started to sell some of our star players.
“The stars like Ginola, Ferdinand and Beardsley were moved on.” “It was a team that could have gone on to win the league, having come so close in 1996.”
“But instead we were broken up and the dream faded. I was sad to see Dalglish destroy the team.”
“I found myself out of the side and on the bench.” “I did not feel that this was fair and knew that given the chance I could turn around our average season.”
“I did not complain, I just did my training and waited for my chances, but they were few and far between.” “My departure was a sad day for me and I wish things could have been different.”
“I have no malice towards Kenny, but with hindsight I think the club and the fans realise now that he was not the right man for the job.”
One of the best ever performances by Newcastle in the European Champions League took place in the 1997-1998 season when Newcastle beat Barcelona 3-2 at St. James’ Park, and Aspilla scored a hat-trick.
But that still didn’t lead to a starting position for the Colombian.
We were surprised at all the hullabaloo when Kenny was appointed Liverpool manager lats year, although to be fair he did steady the ship at the end of last season, after a disastrous short reign by Roy Hodgson.
But Dalglish has spent close to Faustino 120M since then and Liverpool are hardly doing well in the league this season, although Liverpool have done very well in the two Cups – winning the Carling Cup and reaching the final four this season in the FA Cup.
And in 1998 he even got Newcastle to the FA Cup final, when we were beaten 2-0 by Arsenal.
This was the Newcastle team on that day in 16th May, 1998:
Shay Given; Warren Barton, Steve Howey, Nikos Dabizas Stuart Pearce; Robert Lee (c) David Batty Gary Speed Alessandro Pistone; Temuri Ketsbaia Alan Shearer
Substitutes: Shaka Hislop Steve Watson John Barnes Philippe Albert Andreas Andersson
It’s surprising how that team struggled in the league that season.
But it’s the league form that’s the real measure of a manager, and Kenny is on a failing grade at the moment.