The King’s Coronation: When Kenny Dalglish Signed For Liverpool OTD In 1977

45 years ago, Dalglish joined up with the Anfield club
07:00, 10 Aug 2022

When Kevin Keegan departed Liverpool at the end of the 1976/77 season he left a huge void to fill, but Reds fans need not have worried, as the man stepping into his shoes would prove to be more than an able replacement.

It’s August 1977 Donna Summer, Brotherhood of Man and Showwaddywaddy are riding high in the UK charts, the country is in the grip of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations, Liverpool are League and European Champions; and a certain Kenneth Dalglish has just arrived at Anfield.

Dalglish's Liverpool love affair had begun back in August 1966 when he’d travelled south of the border for a trial at Anfield aged just 15 under the watchful gaze of legendary Liverpool boss Bill Shankly.


Although the young forward’s first journey to Merseyside came to nothing,11 years and 167 Celtic goals later, he was finally recruited by Liverpool to replace a club legend who had decided that his future lay with Hamburg rather than the champions of Europe.

Dalglish had made his name at Parkhead as part of the Jock Stein side which won nine titles in a row, bagging four himself, along with four Scottish Cups and a Scottish League Cup in an illustrious spell with the Hoops.

Not surprising then that Liverpool manager Bob Paisley was prepared to break the bank to get his man and spend £440,000 on Dalglish, a record fee at the time which made him the most expensive player in the country.

But it would be money well spent as Dalglish quickly became a pivotal part of one of the greatest Liverpool teams in the club’s history, not to mention one of the most formidable sides in the game during the 1970s and ‘80s.

In his debut season on Merseyside, Dalglish scored 31 goals in 61 appearances across all competitions and despite Liverpool losing their English First Division crown to Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest, they did retain the European Cup, defeating Club Brugges in the final at Wembley, with Dalglish scoring the only goal.

In his second season, Dalglish recorded a personal best of 21 league goals for the club, and he was also named Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year as the championship returned to Anfield - where it would stay until the end of the decade.

Another European Cup followed in 1981 as Liverpool overcame Real Madrid in Paris before a string of three successive league title wins followed between 1982 and 1984 - crowned by another European Cup triumph as the Reds defeated Roma on penalties in their own backyard.

Liverpool win the European Cup in 1981
Liverpool win the European Cup in 1981

The 1984/85 campaign was the only one in which Dalglish did not lift a major trophy during his playing career at Anfield despite the reigning European champions reaching the European Cup final for a second successive season - eventually losing 1-0 to Juventus in a game which was marred by the death of 39 supporters at the Heysel Stadium.

Reds’ boss Joe Fagan retired immediately after that dreadful night in Brussels with Dalglish himself being named as his replacement in a player-manager capacity at the age of just 34 - ensuring the silverware continued to mount-up at Anfield.

He led Liverpool to a league and FA Cup double in his first season in charge in 1986, playing in 21 league games and scoring three goals - one of which clinched the title away at Chelsea on the final Saturday with nearest rivals Everton unable to close the gap having led for much of that campaign.

After hanging up his boots, Dalglish would guide the club to two more English league titles in 1988 and 1990, as well as another FA Cup in 1989, before stunning the world of football in February 1991 when he announced he was quitting his role just 48 hours after a thrilling 4-4 draw with neighbours Everton in the FA Cup.

But for all he achieved on the pitch, both as player and manager, the way Dalglish dealt with the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster of 1989, in which 97 Liverpool fans eventually died following a crush at the FA Cup semi-final clash with Nottingham Forest, will perhaps be his greatest legacy.

He and his wife, Marina, opened up their hearts and their home to grieving families when they needed it most and Dalglish himself, along with most of the playing staff, attended as many funerals as they possibly could – offering a shoulder to cry on to the people of the city, regardless of their footballing allegiances.

Having won the Premier League with Blackburn Rovers in 1995 and following spells at Newcastle United and Celtic, before officially retiring from the game in 2000, the pull of a return to Anfield proved too much for Dalglish when Liverpool came calling following Roy Hodgson’s departure in January 2011 and once more he returned silverware as his side won the League Cup by beating Cardiff City at Wembley.

To this day, Dalglish remains as committed to the Liverpool cause as when he was terrifying defences across the continent and guiding his team to unprecedented success; confirming his place in Anfield folklore as arguably the greatest player ever to represent the club.

And though his name may not be found anywhere in the club’s record books, the impact is there for all to see, and that’s why Kenny Dalglish will always be known to Liverpool fans throughout the world as – King Kenny.

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