Jurgen Klopp has sent a heartfelt message to long-serving Melwood gateman Kenny Grimes, after the 71-year-old was forced to retire from his role with Liverpool.
Grimes had been working for the club for almost 30 years when he suffered a stroke in September, and has been recovering at his home Dovecot since.
Initially a steward, he took the role as gateman at Melwood in 1994—having followed the Reds as a supporter from the days of Bill Shankly—and he has struck up a strong relationship with players and managers over the years.
Klopp has been particularly supportive, and this has been no different after Grimes was instructed to retire by doctors, having hoped to return to the role.
In a video message shared by The Athletic’s James Pearce, Klopp tells Grimes he is “always welcome” at the club, and offered him a guided tour of Kirkby when the first team move there later this year.
‘You are always welcome at Melwood and Kirkby. I’ll show you around Kirkby personally.’
Classy message from Jürgen Klopp to legendary Melwood gateman Kenny Grimes who is retiring after more than a quarter of a century of service to #LFC pic.twitter.com/jt92IRnFGT
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceLFC) April 18, 2020
“Hello Kenny, my friend. I heard the doctor made the decision for you, and said it may be time to think about retirement,” the manager said.
“I can’t believe that, you are fit and so important to us.
“But of course, how it is in life, sometimes we have to listen to other people who know more about us!
“So I think it’s maybe a good moment, but I hope I see you more often than not, because I can tell you, you are always welcome to Melwood—or to Kirkby when we start going there.
“You’ll want to see it for sure, I will show it to you personally. We’ll walk through it, so you know everything about that.
“I just hope you can enjoy the time with your missus, and I hope in the moment especially that you are fine.
“It’s a difficult time, but still at least the sun is shining and we can make the best of it. As far as I know you, I know you will use the time for good stuff.
“I can imagine you will miss it, how we will miss you, 100 percent.
“Since the first day I was at Liverpool, you were there. You opened the gate, literally, for me and I will never forget that.
“So not to forgot, we are Liverpool, this means more and you’ll never walk alone. So many nice phrases from this club, and all of them are 100 percent true.
“You will never walk alone, because we are always with you. I wish you all the best, my friend, see you soon, bye!”
Grimes told The Athletic in January that he had planned to retire when the Reds made the move from Melwood to Kirkby, but changed his mind as he wanted “to be part of it.”
But now retired on medical grounds, he will instead be left to enjoy Liverpool as a fan again, with the privilege of being able to visit whenever he wishes.