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      Gerard Houllier: Club Saviour or Under-Loved?

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      Robby The Z
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      Gerard Houllier: Club Saviour or Under-Loved?
      Feb 12, 2020 02:08:13 am
      https://www.theguardian.com/football/2020/feb/11/gerard-houllier-the-man-who-nearly-died-making-liverpool-great-again

      This article retells the Houllier story, from his stint at a teacher in the city way back when and then the brief joint-managership with Roy Evans, taking sole command, winning the treble, having a heart attack and the decline. The author says he literally saved the club from one its lowest points, and also says that he is much underappreciated about Merseyside.

      After my first match at Anfield I had the chance to speak with him in the  media room as well as listen to a long conversation about football tactics between him and then Times reporter Kevin McCarra. Thought he was total class.
       
      Interested to read the thoughts of veteran supporters about this man.
      « Last Edit: Feb 12, 2020 08:59:42 am by JD »
      Kopite78
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      Re: Gerard Houllier: Club Savior or Under-Loved?
      Reply #1: Feb 12, 2020 04:25:48 am
      I have a huge amount of love and respect for Gerard

      To answer the thread title I'm not sure its either to be honest, club saviour is maybe pushing it some, but he certainly dragged the club into the modern world, he was our Wenger, he transformed the diet and modern professionalism that was required, he added the coldness that was required to drag the club into the 21st century and away from the boot room that albeit a massive and integral part of the clubs history but ultimately that's where it needed to be..in the history.

      But by all accounts dont take that coldness as his overriding persona, the way he is talked about by the generation that came through under him, Stevie, Carra  and Owen is one of great love and respect also.. he loved and nurtured those players and they adore him.
      But as I said he was a tough man too, solely focused on getting the club professional and away from that spice boy reputation. Gone were the characters like Ince who he didn't respect as a leader of the new Liverpool.. gone were the likes of David James who he felt had made enough errors.. soon enough the likes of real fan favourites of my generation like Robbie Fowler who personally I took pretty hard and it tested that love at times.
      Robbie I think was also a bit of a power play, he wanted to rid that messing around element and the last part of the spice boys but also I believe looking back with more life experience now he wanted to show ultimately who was boss, who was the leader of this club now.. his way or off you go.

      Carragher was another example of that.. I heard a recent interview with Carra which backs this up. He wanted him to be professional and cut out drinking etc.. telling him he will be done by 25 if he didn't.
      The difference between Robbie and say Carra was age and he felt he could mould a 19 year old Carra but a 25 year old Fowler was too far gone and he wasnt sentimental about who the player was.. it was buy in or ship out

      2000-01 is still my favourite season ever, I was just turning into an adult, I'd lived through the baron 90s, I'd been a kid through the end of the title winning sides, been a kid watching the FA cup wins in 89.. but now in 2000 I felt like this was my team, my lads, my era..I was old enough to celebrate as an adult and we were winning most weeks, we played pretty much every game we could that year and we won the vast majority finish 3rd in the league, to win every other cup we entered.. it truly was an unbelievable season.

      Bearing in mind since 1990 we'd only won the 92 FA cup, the 95 league cup so to win the UEFA cup, league cup and FA cup all in the same season and the actual trophies all within a couple of months ( 2 in a week) and finish 3rd and qualify for the CL it was unbelievable and like I say my favourite single season in my memory - mind you this one will run it close.

      Gerard delivered that.

      By the time 2004 came it was time to move on and Rafa who I also came to adore took over but that doesnt take away from what Houllier meant to me and my generation

      Tough.. uncompromising .. but ultimately a kind and brilliant man.

      A winner

      Saviour of the club though? No but vital in the much needed modernisation of it

      Under loved? Not by me whatsoever
      « Last Edit: Feb 12, 2020 07:33:32 am by Kopite78 »
      FATKOPITE10
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      Re: Gerard Houllier: Club Savior or Under-Loved?
      Reply #2: Feb 12, 2020 07:12:22 am
      Top man, the way it ended was quite sad as his love for the club was and still is so obvious. The 2001 season after a fee barren years was fantastic. Remember the night he came back vs roma" was there and will live long in the memory. Joined at a low point but i will always remember him fondly
      Billy1
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      Re: Gerard Houllier: Club Savior or Under-Loved?
      Reply #3: Feb 12, 2020 07:49:57 am
      He did an excellent job considering the constraints placed on him with Moores trying to sell the club.He also had a good assistant in Phil Thompson whose only mistake was to fall out with Robbie Fowler.As mentioned in previous posts he was Liverpool through and through and he did the treble for us.
      JD
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      Re: Gerard Houllier: Club Saviour or Under-Loved?
      Reply #4: Feb 12, 2020 09:10:38 am
      I don't think he's underloved at all. 

      The 2000's were a much better time to be supporting the reds than the 90's were and Houllier was responsible for getting the ball rolling again.

      Obviously the five trophies in the year was a thing - but lets not forget that the following season we had effectively our first title race since Dalglish had left (and actually a higher points total than we got when we won number 18!)

      He was the first manager I'd say of the modern media era and he didn't always get everything right on that score but he certainly woke Liverpool up from their slumber IMO.
      GERNS
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      Re: Gerard Houllier: Club Saviour or Under-Loved?
      Reply #5: Feb 12, 2020 09:20:49 am
      Not what you’d call an iconic ledge nd of s manager, but done well for us. Probably better than he did for any of the other clubs he managed. Steadied the ship when we were floundering, and the 5 in one season the best of his time with us.
      Don’t forget, it was primarily his team the won the CL at the Atatturk !
      Nothing but admiration for the man.
      Very nice humble man outside of football as well.
      The Anfield spirit has a hold on his soul as well. He will forever be a red.
      Shabs
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      Re: Gerard Houllier: Club Saviour or Under-Loved?
      Reply #6: Feb 12, 2020 10:05:55 am
      Went in & cleared the decks and dragged us back into the modern era of football..

      Never forget the treble as it was a remarkable achievement that & still loved but not as much as I think he would have wanted & that’s probably down to how it all ended with Evans parting.
      heimdall
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      Re: Gerard Houllier: Club Saviour or Under-Loved?
      Reply #7: Feb 12, 2020 10:55:04 am
      I think he was a pivotal manager for us, without him we could very easily have become a mid table team, the same could be said for Rafa btw. These guys in their own way set the foundations for what Klopp is doing now, they brought the club into the 21st century.
      TameImpala
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      Re: Gerard Houllier: Club Saviour or Under-Loved?
      Reply #8: Feb 12, 2020 10:55:38 am
      Always had a massive soft spot for Houllier as 2000-2001 was the first season I properly started getting into footy, must have been about 6 or 7 at the time and it was incredible. With it being the treble season & us managing 5 trophies in a calendar year I just presumed that Liverpool won everything.

      01-02 was another great season and it felt as though we were on the cusp of winning the title, but obviously the buys in that summer set us back a good few years. We even started 02-03 really well and I think we were top of the table around November time with a decent bit of daylight between ourselves and second place but then the barren run started & we absolutely capitulated. That being said we still won a trophy that season & against Man United too! Although we did get battered in that game and I think Dudek got MOTM if I remember rightly!

      Still managed to get us to 4th in his final season which secured Champions League football for us in 2005 & we all know what happened that year!

      Definitely a legend and although you could argue he never won one of the two big trophies he managed to drag us, kicking and screaming into the 21st century & laid the foundations for us becoming a force once again. You could argue that is just as, if not more important

      brezipool
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      Re: Gerard Houllier: Club Saviour or Under-Loved?
      Reply #9: Feb 12, 2020 03:29:36 pm
      Great manager!! that treble season, 5 knock out cups entered , 5 trophies. fantastic.

      Also as noted dragged us into the modern footi world in terms of fitness etc.

      7-King Kenny-7
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      Re: Gerard Houllier: Club Saviour or Under-Loved?
      Reply #10: Feb 12, 2020 06:20:27 pm
      Lots of positives from his time with us; was the start of us being successful in the early 2000’s and came close to securing the league, but unfortunately was competing with what was becoming a very strong Arsenal team, think we missed out by 5 or 6 points.

      His final year or so with us wasn’t great, think a lot of that stemmed from some disastrous signings like Diouf, Diao etc and trying to get the next big thing with Pongolle and Le Tallec. For me, the thing that he/the club got notably wrong that held us back was not securing Anelka on a permanent transfer and going for Diouf instead. With Anelka I think it wouldn’t have quite ended in the way it did for him and think we would have been better off but that’s life, some transfers work out and some don’t, he couldn’t have predicted Diouf would turn out to be a massive c**t.
      Losing Fowler and Anelka over a couple years and having Diouf arrive was a killer. Got to the point where we were losing quality but not getting enough of it back in...Gary Mc was another loss and then Owen constantly flirting with Madrid probably wasn’t helping matters.

      Made some massive signings, most notably Hyypia who is one of the best bargains this club will ever have.

      The man done a lot for this club though. Certainly wouldn’t say he is underloved or under appreciated, but obviously a lot of supporters now wouldn’t be aware of his time as manager, like what happens with every generation, it was 20 years ago he came to the club.

      « Last Edit: Feb 12, 2020 06:33:17 pm by 7-King Kenny-7 »
      Swab
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      Re: Gerard Houllier: Club Saviour or Under-Loved?
      Reply #11: Feb 12, 2020 06:27:23 pm
      If Parry hadn't been here, he could probably have done a lot more.

      Don't really understand the article.
      Don't think I've met a Liverpool fan with a bad word to say about him.

      He did a decent job, right up until his ticker trouble, then he seemed to become much more cautious.
      Rush Goalie
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      Re: Gerard Houllier: Club Saviour or Under-Loved?
      Reply #12: Feb 12, 2020 06:50:25 pm
      I think his tenure went wrong simply by signing Diouf and Diao based on Senegal beating France in the World Cup. Anelka,who'd already been here on loan was available for £12m and Diouf £13.. Anelka went on to score loads for City, Bolton and Chelsea and Diouf became well Diouf..
      Houllier did great for us though, he got us back on track but was up against a great Arsenal side and a juggernaut called Man Utd but that treble winning season was so enjoyable, Owens goal in the FA Cup final with all the fans going nuts in the background is a iconic image and the Uefa Cup brought us back into the European big time, great time to be a red just ONE thing missing.. Not long now hopefully
      Robby The Z
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      Re: Gerard Houllier: Club Saviour or Under-Loved?
      Reply #13: Feb 12, 2020 07:27:40 pm
      If Parry hadn't been here, he could probably have done a lot more.

      Don't really understand the article.
      Don't think I've met a Liverpool fan with a bad word to say about him.

      He did a decent job, right up until his ticker trouble, then he seemed to become much more cautious.

      Yes, the under-loved part seems a bit forced. If he's saying he wasn't/isn't as popular overall as Rafa - well he didn't win a Champions League trophy, and who can account for what they like and don't like? I like whiskey better than wine, but I still like wine.
      Robby The Z
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      Re: Gerard Houllier: Club Saviour or Under-Loved?
      Reply #14: Feb 12, 2020 07:35:31 pm
      I think his tenure went wrong simply by signing Diouf and Diao based on Senegal beating France in the World Cup. Anelka,who'd already been here on loan was available for £12m and Diouf £13.. Anelka went on to score loads for City, Bolton and Chelsea and Diouf became well Diouf..
      Houllier did great for us though, he got us back on track but was up against a great Arsenal side and a juggernaut called Man Utd but that treble winning season was so enjoyable, Owens goal in the FA Cup final with all the fans going nuts in the background is a iconic image and the Uefa Cup brought us back into the European big time, great time to be a red just ONE thing missing.. Not long now hopefully

      Saw us beat Arsenal 4-0 in the league during that treble season. That was another early lesson for me in the power of Anfield because I was wary of that Gunners team with Viera and Bergkamp, but we just slashed through them.
      waltonl4
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      Re: Gerard Houllier: Club Saviour or Under-Loved?
      Reply #15: Feb 12, 2020 07:53:18 pm
      The football we played under Evans was breath taking so adventurous and exciting. Houlier was brought in to bring in some discipline into the side defensively. He was just too cautious for my liking particularly at home but he brought us some incredible successes as well. His illness came at such a critical time and it did change him.
      He also had a Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, Jamie Carragher and a young Stevie Gerrard it was a very good team.
      Sadly he also had Rik Parry who I cant say a good word about so I will leave it there with him.  For me he had incredible moments that are there in the history books but I also remember being at Anfield towards the end of his tenure and you could have a conversation with someone in the ground in the stand opposite the atmosphere was so bad. Actually if you think about it if we had of had a Allison Becker in goal who knows what we could have won
      JD
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      Re: Gerard Houllier: Club Saviour or Under-Loved?
      Reply #16: Feb 12, 2020 08:24:27 pm
      I think his tenure went wrong simply by signing Diouf and Diao based on Senegal beating France in the World Cup.

      Yeah, that was a couple of months after we had finished in second place.  Them, and Cheyrou.  A bad bad summer transfer window and our peak in league form didn't recover for another 5 years.
      TameImpala
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      Re: Gerard Houllier: Club Saviour or Under-Loved?
      Reply #17: Feb 13, 2020 02:03:15 am
      Just looking at the Arsenal side that pipped us to the title under Houllier in 2002 & remembered that they won their last 13 league games on the way to lifting the trophy.

      Then in 2009 Man United won 8 of their last 9 games (drawing to Arsenal in their 2nd to last game when they only needed a point to secure the title)

      And of course City's incredible winning streak at the end of last season

      Thank God we're basically already home & dry this season because I couldn't cope with another team pulling off another ridiculous run again  ;D
      ozi_wozzy
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      Re: Gerard Houllier: Club Saviour or Under-Loved?
      Reply #18: Feb 13, 2020 09:16:00 am
      I do think Houllier is under-appreciated just because he didn't win the title. But that treble, and the modernisation of the club is a huge service that should never be forgotten. I was at Liverpool Uni when he was around and he came to our department on a visit. Shook everyone's hand and came across as a real gents.


      A true gent and a massively passionate red. I actually agree, he saved us from falling into mid-table mediocracy and made us a force again.
      waltonl4
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      Re: Gerard Houllier: Club Saviour or Under-Loved?
      Reply #19: Feb 13, 2020 10:13:53 am
      Roy Evan finished 4th on equal points with second place in 96/97 and 3rd in 97/98 but this was when the top two qualified for CL this isn't a team going backwards like some suggest. Houlier came into a squad full of potential and promise.
      Evans never gets the credit he deserves for the excitement he brought to Anfield and the appointment of Houlier must have been a terrible kick in the bollocks for him.
      heimdall
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      Re: Gerard Houllier: Club Saviour or Under-Loved?
      Reply #20: Feb 13, 2020 10:18:28 am
      Just looking at the Arsenal side that pipped us to the title under Houllier in 2002 & remembered that they won their last 13 league games on the way to lifting the trophy.

      Then in 2009 Man United won 8 of their last 9 games (drawing to Arsenal in their 2nd to last game when they only needed a point to secure the title)

      And of course City's incredible winning streak at the end of last season

      Thank God we're basically already home & dry this season because I couldn't cope with another team pulling off another ridiculous run again  ;D

      We have had some insane bad luck over the years in our title runs, seems the footballing Gods are smiling on us this year though :-)
      heimdall
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      Re: Gerard Houllier: Club Saviour or Under-Loved?
      Reply #21: Feb 13, 2020 10:21:41 am
      Roy Evan finished 4th on equal points with second place in 96/97 and 3rd in 97/98 but this was when the top two qualified for CL this isn't a team going backwards like some suggest. Houlier came into a squad full of potential and promise.
      Evans never gets the credit he deserves for the excitement he brought to Anfield and the appointment of Houlier must have been a terrible kick in the bollocks for him.

      I distinctly remember being very very happy when Houllier was appointed so I think Evans's time at the helm had started to go wrong towards the end. Also remember that back then there really only three teams competing for the league, us, Manure and Arsenal, Citeh were bouncing between Prem and Championship, Chelsea were midtable and Spurs were the persennial also rans.
      fields of anny rd
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      Re: Gerard Houllier: Club Saviour or Under-Loved?
      Reply #22: Feb 13, 2020 10:36:42 am
      The double manager thing still makes me laugh, I don't know where the club dreamt up that move or how they thought it would work. Not sure it was ever done before or since but I can't see it catching on in the future.

      Houllier was the first manager I can remember properly, coming in to the club as joint manager (;D) and breaking up the boot room chain. No doubt though that he helped modernise the club in almost every aspect. Diet, preparation, professionalism, being the players boss rather than friend (putting Ince in his place) expanding our range of transfer targets into the european market.

      On the pitch we had success in the cup competitions and became a regular challenger for the CL spots. Many of those that went on to win the competition in 05 were brought in by Houllier so we have a lot to thank him for.

       Rafa took thise players on well beyond their means that season though and he deserves full praise for that.
      Tayls
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      Re: Gerard Houllier: Club Saviour or Under-Loved?
      Reply #23: Feb 13, 2020 10:40:36 am
      Like a few others on here Houllier's tenure was probably the first time I was properly conscious and fully invested in the team, and I'll always look back fondly on his time at the club.

      Beyond the impact he had on the club, which like Kopite78 said above he helped drag the club into the modern game in a similar way to Wenger at Arsenal, he was also a good man and you only have to listen to his ex players speak to hear the respect for him as a manager and a person.

      "Saviour" is too strong, but I've not met many Reds who under valued his contribution to the club.
      David Wright
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      Re: Gerard Houllier: Club Saviour or Under-Loved?
      Reply #24: Feb 13, 2020 10:43:52 am
      Very nice man, who gave his all for the club. I seem to remember although he did not win the title, he managed us to the "treble" an achievement in itself.

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