King Kenny is back! After a 18 year hiatus, the man many hail as Liverpool’s greatest ever player, Kenny Dalglish, will rejoin Liverpool Football Club.
From the club’s official site:
“Dalglish will assume 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.”
Jamie Carragher had already sparked Liverpool supporters’ hopes for this possibility when he suggested the idea of Dalglish’s return in his 2008 autobiography:
“After the takeover was complete, I’d argued to friends there needed to be a greater Anfield connection on the board to balance out what Tom Hicks and George Gillett openly accepted was their limited understanding of our game and Liverpool in general.”
Carra also talked about Kenny being able to act as a go-between when tension and issues arose between manager Rafa Benitez and the owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett. It is unclear if King Kenny will be in a position to do this from his position within the youth academy or as club ambassador working “around the world,” but, in any case, the Dalglish presence at Liverpool should prove to be a healthy and inspiring one.
When I first thought of Dalglish return, after Carra’s book came out, I envision Dalglish in a role with the first team. Directly working with the players for the next bid for the title. But Rafa now has Sammy Lee at his side on the pitch, and putting Dalglish in a position to influence the youth players is a brilliant move. One feels Liverpool’s future is in the best hands with King Kenny getting involved with the youngsters.
Brought in in 1977 after Kevin Keegan left Liverpool, Dalglish played in 515 first team matches, scoring 172 goals. Prolific, visionary and selfless, Dalglish the player was a true footballing genius.
Then, in 1985, Joe Fagan announced his retirement as manager, hours before the Heysel disaster. The next season, Kenny Dalglish became player/manager, leading the team to much glory over the next few years, winning titles and cups galore. Dalglish also led Liverpool through difficult times. He took over in the wake of one tragedy and remained manager through another: Hillsborough. Many believe the effect of the latter, which weighed heavily on Dalglish, led to his surprise resignation in 1991.
But now, the King is back.
A legendary figure from Liverpool’s golden era, Dalglish’s deep knowledge of football as well as of the club itself will be invaluable to the young players coming up through the ranks.
It looks more and more like FIFA are going to pass the ridiculous 6+5 rule, requiring 6 “home grown” players in a club’s starting line-up. If passed, FIFA are expected to implement the rule slowly, taking a few years until it is fully in place, and with Dalglish helping the academy players grow, Liverpool could be in a position to turn this frustrating quota to their benefit.
An academy that has already produced the likes of Jamie Carragher, Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman may have more rich treasures to bear once King Kenny gets involved.
And his role with promoting the club around the world cannot hurt either. He is the perfect spokesman for Liverpool.
So welcome back, King Kenny. This is truly exciting news.