Gary McAllister (born 25 December 1964), nicknamed The Enforcer is a retired Scottish footballer who spent two seasons playing for Liverpool, after joining from Coventry City on a free transfer on 1 July 2000. McAllister left Liverpool to rejoin Coventry on 13 May 2002, having made 87 appearances, scoring 9 goals. Thirteen years later, the Scotsman returned to the club as a first team coach.
The Bosman signing of Gary McAllister by manager Gerard Houllier caught many people off guard as he was 35 years old at the time. Many people questioned what contribution he could make to the team at his age, however in his two years at the club he played a key role as Liverpool won no fewer than five pieces of silverware.
A central midfielder by trade, McAllister could also play out wide on the flanks and was a dead-ball specialist. McAllister made his debut for Liverpool at Anfield in a Premier League match against Bradford City. He scored his first goal on 12 November 2000 in a home game against old club, Coventry in a 4-1 win. McAllister developed a habit of scoring important goals for the club, which included a penalty against Barcelona in the 2000-01 UEFA Cup semi-final- this being the only goal across both legs of the match; a 44-yard free kick in the last minute of injury time to win the Merseyside Derby away at Goodison Park, and a goal against Alaves in the 2001 UEFA Cup Final.
In the 2001 UEFA Cup Final, McAllister was voted man of the match after he was directly involved in four of Liverpool's five goals. He scored one himself from the penalty spot, set up two from free kicks (including the golden goal) and set up Robbie Fowler from open play. After the match, Liverpool legend Alan Hansen proclaimed: "The best player on the pitch was also the oldest. Gary McAllister was outstanding. At 36, to keep going the way he did, keep taking those freekicks and producing it when it counted, was sensational." Only four days earlier, Gary McAllister appeared in the 2001 FA Cup Final, and impressed as Liverpool fought back from 1-0 down to seal a famous 2-1 victory against Arsenal. Liverpool's equalising goal resulted from one of McAllister's free kicks.
At the start of the 2001-02 season, McAllister scored a penalty as Liverpool beat Manchester United 2-1 in the 2001 Charity Shield. McAllister continued to play a prominent role in the Liverpool midfield for the season, and reached 50 competitive appearances for the club in a European match against Haka, appearing as a substitute in a 5-0 away win.
McAllister departed Liverpool at the end of the 2001-02 season to rejoin Coventry City as player-manager. Largely due to the key roles he played in Liverpool's successful 2001 cup matches, Gerard Houllier described his free signing of Gary McAllister as his "most inspirational signing" as Liverpool coach. McAllister's exploits have seen him write his name in Liverpool folklore, and he was voted 32nd in the 100 Players Who Shook The Kop list in 2006.
After the dismissal of Mike Marsh, Liverpool required a new first-team coach, with rumours coming out that Brendan Rodgers preferred someone who had previously played for the club. On 11 July 2015, it was confirmed that McAllister was to return to the club in this position. Speaking about his return to Liverpool, McAllister said: "I'm delighted. I'm really excited about the prospect of coming back. It's fantastic and I'm really looking forward to it. I feel as if I owe Liverpool, getting that opportunity at the last stage of my career, at 35 and getting that opportunity.
However, after the dismissal of Brendan Rodgers in October, new manager Jurgen Klopp brought in his own backroom staff, and McAllister was released from his coaching duties after just three months. He was, however, kept on as an official club ambassador.
- UEFA Cup (1): 2001
- UEFA Super Cup (1): 2001
- FA Cup (1): 2001
- League Cup (1): 2001
- Charity Shield (1): 2001
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- Gary McAllister career stats at Soccerbase