by Richard DJJ Bowdery.
Former Liverpool great Ian Rush summed it up best when he said: “No one had a clue it was coming or why.”
When Kenny Dalglish resigned as Liverpool manager on 22 February 1991 it sent shock waves through the club, the city and the footballing world.
Here was a man who had transferred his winning ways from the pitch to the dugout and everyone loved him for it. He was, in the eyes of the fans, a legend in every sense of the world.
It was just another day for the players and coaching staff. The first-team squad had reported for training after a pulsating 4-4 derby draw with Everton the night before and were in the dressing room getting ready. In walked Dalglish and simply announced his departure. Then he was gone.
According to one of those present it was a shock but they just get on with it as footballers do, as if on auto-pilot. Coach Ronnie Moran broke the stunned silence. “Okay,” he said, “let’s go training now.” And that’s what they did.
Dalglish went on to manage at Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United and Celtic before returning to Liverpool in 2009 to work in their Academy. He took over as interim manager when Roy Hodgson left.
In January 2011 he was appointed manager once more. But he wasn’t as successful second time around, and a year later he was sacked because of the side’s poor performance in the Premiership.
Despite this set back he was brought back to the club in October 2013 as a non-executive director.
Kenny Dalglish considered man-management as important as tactics. He would deflect attention from his players onto himself so they could concentrate on what they were paid for. Perhaps he took too much upon himself. And let’s not forget, he was in charge when the tragic events of Hillsborough unfolded. That took a toll on everyone associated with the club, particularly the manager who attended as many funerals as he could.
But whatever his reasons for walking away from one of the biggest jobs in football, he will always be a hero to those in the red half of Stanley Park (and maybe a few in the blue half too).