No. 78 – The Day Gerrard Houllier Arrived
The TIA Panel have voted Gerrard Houlliers arrival at Anfield in at number 78 in the TIA Days We’ll Remember all our Lives Countdown. For the first time since the dawn of Liverpool Football club, the board decided to let two managers run team affairs. Houllier arrived at Liverpool in the summer of 1998 after a successful spell as France’s Technical Director when they won the World Cup. He came to join a joint managerial ticket with Roy Evans.
TIA Columnist Jim Gibson looks back at Houllier’s managerial tenure at Liverpool…
“In 1998, Houllier was invited to become joint team manager at Liverpool. Houllier began what he described as a five-year programme to rebuild the team, starting in 1999. Ince, James, McAteer, Jones, Harkness and McManaman left and Hyypia, Henchoz, Hamman, Smicer, Westeerfeld and Traore came.
He was responsible for overhauling Melwood and turning it into a top class professional training ground. His restructuring resulted in the treble season of 2000/01 where he won the League cup, FA cup and UEFA cup as well as finishing third in the league, and winning the Charity shield and UEFA super cup. In October he had an 11 hour heart operation. Upon his return he didn’t again reach the levels of 2000/01.
A turning point was the Champions League Quarter Final match against Bayer Levekusen where he substituted Hamman with Smicer and we went on to lose. His signings of Diouf, Diao, Cheyrou and Cisse were expensive flops and signalled an end to his time as manager. On 24 May 2004, Liverpool announced that Gerard Houllier was to step down from his position as manager.
Although Gerrard came into the team under Houllier, he wasn’t very successful in bringing on young players. Biscan, Baros, Cheyrou, Tallec and Pongolle all failed to live up to early promise. Every trainer at Liverpool is measured by National success in the Premiership and there he failed. But he did have the memorable treble year and he did re-structure Melwood.”
Gerrard Houllier recently said his fondest memories of Liverpool Football Club include the 2001 FA Cup and Uefa Cup triumphs over Arsenal and Alaves respectively, and the fans’ tribute at Anfield when he was recovering from heart surgery.
What are your best memories of Gerrard Houillers six-year reign at Anfield? Let us know in the comment section below!