Liverpool football club and their fans may be celebrating after beating Tottenham Hotspur by 2-1 at Anfield and being back in pole position on top of the Premier League table, but they are also mourning the passing of Gerard Houllier.
The 73-year-old Houllier recently died following a heart operation. After managing Liverpool FC for 6 years between 1998 and 2004 he went on to manage Aston Villa, but due to ill health caused by heart problems, he retired from football management in 2011. In an illustrious career, he also managed the French national men’s football team, and Paris Saint-Germain..
Houllier was never officially rated as the Reds’ best manager. Nor did he ever quite make it into the top 10 greatest English club managers of all time listing as published by Sportingbet. The No1 ranking goes to Alex Ferguson who was appointed manager of the Red Devils in 1986. He led them to an astonishing 13 league titles, 2 Champions League Cups, 5 FA Cup crowns, 4 EFL Cups, 1 Cup Winner’s Cup and 1 World Club Cup.
But Liverpool managers do figure in the listing. The No2 slot is filled by Bob Paisley, who was the manager at Anfield from 1974 to 1983, and Kenny Dalglish, who managed the club twice – first from 1985 to 1991, and second from 2011 to 2012.
But while Gerard Houllier didn’t make the Top 10, he holds a special place in the heart of Liverpool Football Club as the man who led the team to their one and only cup treble. It was in the 2000 -2001 season, and the team won the FA Cup, the League Cup, and the UEFA Cup. Another notable Liverpool manager’s name missing from the Top 10 list is that of Bill Shankly who managed the club from 1959 to 1974.
Gerard Houllier’s heart-health problems first became public knowledge back in October 2001 when he underwent open-heart surgery having experienced chest pains during a home game against Leeds United. After the operation, he returned to the dugout where he was to remain for a further 3 years before moving on in May 2004.
Under his stewardship, the Reds won 6 trophies in over 300 games. In the club’s famous cup treble year, he also oversaw Liverpool claim a place in the Champions League. However, it is not just silverware for which the Frenchman will be remembered. He is also revered for helping to modernise the club and foster the talents of homegrown players.
Tributes have poured in from players and managers alike from all over the world. He will be sorely missed.