Tom Burchill reports on Liverpool Football Club’s decision to rename the Centenary Stand and reflects on Kenny Dalglish’s career achievements.
Next year marks the 125th anniversary of Liverpool Football Club and what better way to celebrate that than honouring the incredible contributions of Kenny Dalglish?
On the 10th of August 1977, a 26-year-old King Kenny arrived on Merseyside for what would turn into one of the greatest love stories that football has ever seen.
The Scotland international was brought to Anfield by Bob Paisley for a British record transfer fee of £440,000 after a decorated spell at Celtic which saw him win four league titles, four Scottish cups and one League Cup.
It did not take long for Kenny Dalglish to make his impact at the club, scoring on his league debut against Middlesbrough. From there, the goals did not stop. In Dalglish’s first season he scored 31 goals in 62 games, including the winning goal in the 1978 European Cup Final which saw Liverpool retain their status as champions of Europe.
His playing career at Liverpool went onto be a success, to say the least.
6 league titles, 3 European cups, 1 FA cup, 4 league cups, 1 UEFA super cup and 7 charity shields.
In 1985, following the tragic Heysel Stadium disaster, Joe Fagan’s resignation saw Dalglish step up to become player-manager.
In his earliest season in the role he led the club to their first double by winning both the league and the FA cup – scoring the winner in a 1-0 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on the last day of the season.
To make the double even sweeter, Dalglish’s side not only pipped Everton to the league title by 2 points but defeated them 3-1 in the FA cup final.
Like player, like manager. King Kenny always had a winning mentality.
3 league titles, 2 FA cups, 1 league cup, 1 Super Cup, 4 Charity Shields
However, Dalglish’s contributions go way beyond achievements on the pitch.
On the 15th of April 1989, Kenny Dalglish was manager of Liverpool when the city was shocked to its very core by the Hillsborough disaster.
At a time when Liverpool was in its darkest hour, Kenny Dalglish was a shining light. It is widely known that the disaster affected him deeply but despite this, he did everything he could to support the cause.
After the tragic event, Dalglish attended many funerals of the victims, including four in one day and has been actively present at the annual memorials that have followed.
It’s not just his efforts in the wake of Hillsborough which make him stand out off the pitch.
King Kenny has always been involved with charity. In 2004, Dalglish and his wife Marina founded ‘The Marina Dalglish Appeal’ in order to raise money to help treat cancer.
The charity has been a huge success and is responsible for the opening of a £1.5 million Centre for Oncology at the University Hospital Aintree.
In January 2011, Dalglish returned for the second spell of his managerial reign at Anfield.
This time, he did not achieve the same heights as he had previously. However, he was the manager to sign the great Luis Suarez and it did see Liverpool win their only trophy in the last 10 years – beating Cardiff in the League Cup on penalties in 2012.
40 years since he first arrived, Kenny Dalglish is still at Anfield week in week out and represents the club as a non-executive director.
Recently, Dalglish experienced his first game in the Kop which so frequently sings his name which he described as “brilliant”.
Let’s hope he didn’t like it too much, though, because now that the Centenary Stand has been renamed in honour of him he may feel inclined to sit there.
If anyone deserves a stand named after them – it’s you, King Kenny.