Kenneth Mathieson "Kenny" Dalglish (born 4 March 1951 in Glasgow, Scotland) is a retired Scottish international footballer and former manager of Liverpool. He currently serves as a non-executive board member at the club. Dalglish moved from Celtic to Liverpool in 1977 for a then club record transfer fee and later became player-manager in 1985. During his initial time at Liverpool he won seven league titles, three European cups, and five domestic cups. Because of his prolific career at Liverpool supporters gave him the name King Kenny. He is widely regarded as the greatest footballer in Liverpool's history, as evidenced, for example, by being voted number one in the 100 Players Who Shook The Kop list. He is also highly-regarded at the club for the continued success he brought the club as a manager during the late-1980s and his personal involvement in supporting the club and the affected families through the aftermath of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. After vacating his post as manager of Liverpool in 1991 he came back 20 years later in 2011 to become caretaker manager after the departure of Roy Hodgson. On 12th May 2011 he signed a three year deal to become manager for the second time in his Liverpool career, however he was relieved of his managerial duties following a disappointing 2011-12 League campaign on 16 May 2012. On 4 October 2013, he returned to the club after accepting an offer to become a non-executive member of the club's board. In 2017, the Centenary Stand of Anfield was officially renamed to the Kenny Dalglish Stand, in honour of his immeasurable contribution to both the club and city.
Dalglish joined Liverpool from Scottish giants Celtic on 10 August 1977 for a club and British record fee of £440,000. He was brought in as a direct replacement for star forward Kevin Keegan, who had left the club to join Hamburg.
He made his debut against Manchester United on 13 August 1977 in the Charity Shield, which ended in a draw. He scored his first goal for the club only seven minutes into his league debut, away at Middlesbrough on 20 August 1977. Three days later Dalglish scored on his Anfield debut in a 2-0 win over Newcastle United. He finished his first season at Liverpool as the club's top scorer, having found the net 31 times. Of these strikes, perhaps the most important came in the 1978 European Cup Final, as he scored the only goal of the game to beat FC Bruges at Wembley, sealing the trophy for Liverpool for the second year in succession.
In his second season with Liverpool, Dalglish hit 21 league goals, which would prove to be his most fruitful league performance as Liverpool sealed their first title with Dalglish in the team. Dalglish's exploits saw him win the 1979 Football Writer's Player of the Year award. He made his 100th competitive appearance for the club in this season, in the Merseyside Derby on 13 March 1979 and just 11 days later, scored his 50th competitive goal for Liverpool in a game against Ipswich Town. His third season with the club was the first in which Dalglish was not Liverpool's top scorer. Dalglish had began to develop a strong partnership with David Johnson, who netted a club-best 28 goals that season. Johnson revelled in his strike partner's play, whose immaculate skill and clever footballing brain saw him turn provider for many of Johnson's goals. Dalglish himself still netted an impressive 23 goals in 60 appearances that season as Liverpool retained the league title.
Domestically, Dalglish's fourth season at Liverpool was much less successful as the club finished a disappointing fifth in the league. Liverpool did however win both the League Cup and the European Cup, with Dalglish netting in the League Cup Final. The following season saw Liverpool return to the summit of the Football League as Dalglish formed a new striking partnership, this time with Ian Rush. Rush finished as Liverpool's top scorer and, as with David Johnson before him, owed much to the creativity of Dalglish. Dalglish had hit his 100th competitive goal for Liverpool in this season, after scoring against Exeter in the League Cup on 7 October 1981.
In the 1982-83 season, Dalglish and Rush's striking partnership was in full swing as the two, combined, netted 51 goals in all competitions. Liverpool retained the League title for the second successive year, and the League Cup for the third successive year. Dalglish won the FWA Footballer of the Year award for the second time in his career at the end of the season.
The 1983-84 season would prove to be most successful in Dalglish's career, as Liverpool again won the League and League Cup, but this time added the European Cup as well. Together, Dalglish and Rush hit 59 goals in all competitions, though only 12 of those strikes were Dalglish's who had began to adopt a deeper midfield role. He hit his 150th goal for Liverpool in a League match against West Ham, on 7 April 1984, and by this time had made over 400 competitive appearances for the Reds. After the success of the 1983-84 season, the 1984-85 season would prove to be something of a disappointment as Dalglish completed the only season of his Liverpool career without silverware. Liverpool finished runners up to rivals Everton in the league as Dalglish netted only six times in 53 games. This season however was marked by the Heysel Stadium disaster, where 39 Juventus fans lost their lives in the 1985 European Cup Final.
Manager Joe Fagan left the club at the end of that season, and was replaced by Dalglish who assumed a player-manager role. Inevitably therefore his contributions as a player reduced, as he made only 31 appearances in all competitions in the 1985-86 season, scoring seven goals. He did however score the goal in the 1-0 away win at Chelsea, which clinched Liverpool's 16th First Division title on the final day of the season. Dalglish scored eight goals in 25 games the following season, but made only two appearances in the 1987-88 season. He made two more appearances the following season, before making his final ever appearance as a Liverpool player on 5 May 1990, coming on as a substitute in a League game against Derby County. He finished his playing career with Liverpool having scored 172 goals in 515 appearances. He is widely regarded as the finest player to have ever worn the Red of Liverpool.
Dalglish was appointed as player-manager of Liverpool on 30 May 1985 at the age of 34. With the help of Bob Paisley, Dalglish led Liverpool to a league and FA cup double in the 1985-86 season. Liverpool failed to follow up this success in the following season however, as they completed only their third season in 15 years without silverware. Dalglish led the team to regain the league title in the 1987-88 season and won it for, what is to date the last time, in the 1989-90 season. Liverpool had also come agonisingly close to sealing the 1988-89 league title, but lost on the last day of the season at home to Arsenal- sealing the title for the Gunners instead. Dalglish had however led Liverpool to victory in the FA Cup for the second time in his managerial career in that season.
During his time in charge at the club, Dalglish took steps to alter both the Liverpool squad and the gameplay employed by the team. His first foray into the transfer market saw him replace renowned but ageing full backs Phil Neal and Alan Kennedy with Steve Nicol and Jim Beglin. He moved Jan Molby into a deeper, sweeper position and began to develop a three-pronged attack, to make his team more offensive. He recruited John Barnes and Peter Beardsley in the summer of 1987 who flanked centre forwards John Aldridge, who Dalglish signed in 1987, and, later, Ian Rush, whom Dalglish resigned for the club from Juventus in 1988.
Despite no fewer than five major domestic honours in his six years as manager, Dalglish's managerial tenure was also dogged by the two major disasters associated with the club. The first- the Heysel Stadium disaster (which occured when predecessor Joe Fagan was manager) meant that Dalglish never had the opportunity to lead his team in Europe due to the ban imposed by UEFA. The second was the Hillsborough disaster, which cost the lives of 96 Liverpool supporters in the semi final of what was ultimately a successful 1988-89 FA Cup campaign. Dalglish was admired by Liverpool fans for the personal support he gave to the families of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster. He attended many of the funerals of the victims- at times attending as many as four a day, and was highly proactive in the 'Justice for the 96' campaigns that followed.
Dalglish resigned as manager of Liverpool on 21 February 1991- a move that shocked the footballing world. Liverpool's season was going well, however the team was also being criticised for failing to beat their opponents more emphatically. Dalglish's last game as manager was an FA Cup 5th round tie against rivals Everton, which finished 4-4, despite Liverpool taking the lead four times. Of his resignation, Dalglish gave this statement the day after he left the club: "This is the first time since I came to the club that I take the interest of Kenny Dalglish over Liverpool Football Club. This is not a sudden decision. The worst I could have done was not to decide. One could argue that this decision hadn't come at a good time but there is no good time in cases like this. The main problem is the pressure I put on myself because of my strong desire to succeed. The stress that comes right before and after games has got the better of me. Some might have difficulty understanding my decision but this decision stands. I would be betraying everyone if I wouldn't let them know there is something wrong. I have been involved with football since I was 17. Twenty years with the two most successful teams in Britain, Celtic and Liverpool. I've been at the front all these years and it is time to end it."
After nearly two decades away from Liverpool, Dalglish returned to the club on 3 July 2009 where he was described by the club's board as having "assume[d] a senior role at the Liverpool Academy and will also act as a Club ambassador working with the commercial side of the business around the world." Following the departure of manager Rafael Benitez, Dalglish was asked by the board to help find a replacement. Being dissatisfied with the potential candidates, Dalglish put his hat into the ring and asked to be considered for the post. The board however chose to appoint Roy Hodgson. Hodgson's tenure was to be unsuccessful and short-lived. When new owners, the New England Sports Ventures group dismissed Hodgson in January 2011, Dalglish was appointed caretaker manager in his place.
Dalglish, working alongside new coach Steve Clarke, quickly turned Liverpool's fortunes around on the pitch, despite numerous injury problems and the sale of Liverpool star player, Fernando Torres. He invested large sums of money in strikers Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll and led the club to a sixth place finish in the league, despite the club languishing in 12th place when he took over. Dalglish is largely credited with restoring a feelgood factor to the club, which had gone missing over the previous 18 months and brought a great deal of optimism amongst the fans for the future. Due to the success of Dalglish's spell as caretaker manager, he and Clarke were handed three-year contracts on 12 May 2011.
During his time as caretaker manager, Dalglish also had the opportunity to lead out Liverpool in Europe for the first time as manager. He managed four Europa League games, winning one, losing one and drawing two as Liverpool crashed out at the round of 16 stage to Portuguese outfit- and eventual runners up, Braga.
Dalglish spent heavily in the 2011 summer transfer window and entered the 2011-12 season with a new-look squad. The club set a target of challenging for a place in the top 4 and hence sealing Champions League qualification. The team's top 4 challenge was progressing steadily in the first half of the season, with them generally maintaining a four or five point gap from the Champions League places. However the new year saw a dramatic slump in form that was to last for the rest of the campaign. An unfortunate home defeat to Arsenal on 3 March 2012 left the team 10 points adrift of 4th and Liverpool quickly fell away, ultimately ending the season in 8th place, 17 points off 4th. Of particular concern was a fruitless home record as Liverpool won just 6 of their 19 games at Anfield, and also a disappointing lack of goals- the team managing just 47 strikes in the 38 games. Liverpool's 52 point haul represented the club's worst League campaign since they were relegated in 1953-54. As the season deteriorated, Dalglish came under fire and in particular was heavily criticised for his expensive purchases that were deemed to be failing to live up to their price tags- notably Jordan Henderson, Andy Carroll and perhaps most of all, Stewart Downing. A number of fans called for Dalglish's removal, however a large section insisted Dalglish be retained for the 2012-13 season.
Whilst the League campaign had not gone to plan, on 25 January 2012, Dalglish coached Liverpool to their first major cup final since 2007 after his team negotiated a series of tricky away fixtures against the likes of Stoke and Chelsea, and then a two-legged semi-final tie against high-flying Manchester City to make the 2012 League Cup Final against Cardiff City. It was the first match Liverpool played at the new Wembley stadium, and first at Wembley full stop since 1996. Dalglish then guided his side to a hard-fought victory on penalties over a stubborn Cardiff City side to land Liverpool their first piece of silverware in six years.
Dalglish then coached the club to their second appearance at Wembley after sealing a semi-final berth in the season's FA Cup, following home victories over Oldham, Manchester United, Brighton and Stoke in the preceding rounds. His side claimed a 2-1 victory over rivals Everton in the semi-final, but fell to a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea in the final.
In spite of all of this however, Dalglish's first full season back in charge of Liverpool was arguably overshadowed by a race row that engulfed the club over the winter period. Striker Suarez was accused of racially abusing Manchester United left back Patrice Evra on 21 October 2011. Suarez maintained his innocence and received the unwaivering support of Dalglish. Although most observers were critical of Dalglish and Liverpool's handling of the case- in particular their very public support of Suarez, Dalglish came under particularly heavy fire from the press when, after Suarez had served a ban, he refused a handshake with Evra in one of his first games back in the side, which was away to United on 11 February 2012. This was widely condemned, however Dalglish initially came out fighting, exclaiming to one journalist "I think you're bang out of order to blame Luis Suarez for anything that happened here today." Dalglish- at the behest of the club's owners- apologised a day later, stating "When I went on TV after yesterday's game I hadn't seen what had happened, but I did not conduct myself in a way befitting of a Liverpool manager during that interview and I'd like to apologise for that."
Upon the season's end, Dalglish flew to Boston to speak to Liverpool's owners, Fenway Sports Group. It was believed he was there to evaluate with them the season that had just passed and discuss the reasons behind the team's poor League campaign. It was also thought that Dalglish had effectively issued a 'back me or sack me' ultimatum to the owners. On 15 May 2012, with Dalglish returning from the brief meeting, speculation was rife that he was no longer Liverpool manager- this being fuelled by Liverpool's refusal to comment on the matter. The speculation died down however the next day, it was confirmed that FSG had terminated Dalglish's contract. In a statement, owners John Henry and Tom Werner were full of praise for Dalglish, however Werner stated that "results in the Premier League have been disappointing and we believe to build on the progress that has already been made, we need to make a change." Dalglish himself released a statement, where he said "It has been an honour and a privilege to have had the chance to come back to Liverpool Football Club as Manager... Of course I am disappointed with results in the league, but I would not have swapped the Carling Cup win for anything as I know how much it meant to our fans and the Club to be back winning trophies... I said when first approached about coming back as Manager that I would always be of help if I can at any time and that offer remains the same."
In addition to the poor League campaign, it has also been widely speculated that the disappointing form of Dalglish's expensive summer acquisitions and perceived poor handling of the Luis Suarez saga made his position untenable. Dalglish's sacking was met with a great deal of sadness from the Liverpool fans with many maintaining he should have been granted more time, however others agreed a change was indeed required in order to see the club mount a more sustained top 4 challenge in the 2012-13 season.
Dalglish had developed Liverpool's style of play into a neat pass-and-move game that was pleasing on the eye- a stark contrast to the grittier style of play under predecessors Roy Hodgson and Rafael Benitez towards the end of his tenure. In the majority of matches, he had his Liverpool side creating a vast number of chances, however a recurring theme for the 2011-12 season was the team's inability to convert their chances into goals. The team hit the woodwork a record 33 times in the season and missed 5 of 6 penalties as the team seemed incapable of finding the back of the net. It has been suggested that a more reliable goalscorer was all that was needed for the team to realise their top 4 ambitions- or at least to have gotten closer to it.
After leaving his second spell as manager, it was widely believed that the club wished to recruit Dalglish to the club again, but in a different capacity. Indeed, shortly after his sacking as manager, his successor Brendan Rodgers stated that "My door is always open for Kenny Dalglish. This is his home. As chairman Tom Werner said, he is the heart and soul of this club."
On 4 October 2013, it was confirmed that Dalglish had accepted an invitation to join the club's board of directors as a non-executive member. Of his new role, Dalglish stated "It is an honour and privilege to be asked to return to Liverpool. I am looking forward to working with the board of directors and contributing to the strategic issues that affect Liverpool Football Club." Brendan Rodgers spoke glowingly of the appointment, and the club's owner John Henry enthused "We are delighted Kenny has accepted our offer to join Liverpool as a non-executive board director and we are sure he will make a valuable contribution to the club's strategy. Kenny has a unique relationship with our supporters and embodies everything that is special about Liverpool."
- Football League First Division (6): 1978-79, 1979-80, 1981-82, 1982-83, 1983-84, 1985-86
- FA Cup (1): 1985-86
- League Cup (4): 1980-81, 1981-82, 1982-83, 1983-84
- Charity Shield (3): 1979, 1980, 1982
- Shared (2): 1977, 1986
- European Cup (3): 1977-78, 1980-81, 1983-84
- European Super Cup (1): 1977
- League Championship (3): 1986, 1988, 1990
- FA Cup (2): 1986, 1989
- League Cup (1): 2012
- Charity Shield (2): 1988, 1989
- Shared (2): 1986, 1990
- PFA Player of the Year: 1982-83
- FWA Footballer of the Year: 1979-79, 1982-83
- Manager of the Year award: 1985-86, 1987-88, 1989-90, 1994-95
- Inaugural Inductee to the English Football Hall of Fame: 2002
- Member of the FIFA 100
- Member of the Liverpool F.C. Hall of Fame
- No. 1 on 100 Players Who Shook The Kop (2006)
- No. 2 on 100 Players Who Shook The Kop (2013)
- Scotland: 30 goals in 102 international caps (both national records)
|Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Other||Total|
|Competition||Total||Wins||Draws||Losses||Goals for||Goals against|
|Competition||Total||Wins||Draws||Losses||Goals for||Goals against|
|Liverpool F.C. – managers|
| McKenna and Barclay (t) (1892–96) • Watson (t) (1896–1915) • Ashworth (t) (1919–23) • McQueen (t) (1923–28) • Patterson (t) (1928–36) • Kay (t) (1936–51) • Welsh (t) (1951–56) • Taylor (t) (1956–59) • Shankly (t) (1959–74) • Paisley (t) (1974–83) • Fagan (t) (1983–85) • Dalglish (t) (1985–91) • Moran (1991) (c) • Souness (t) (1991–94) • Evans (t) (1994–98) • Evans and Houllier (t) (1998) • Houllier (t) (1998–2004) • Benitez (t) (2004–10) • Hodgson (t) (2010–11) • Dalglish (t) (2011–12) • Rodgers (t) (2012-15) • Klopp (t) (2015-)
(c) - caretaker manager, (t) - transfers made by manager