Glasgow 4.3. 1951
"Let's get out og here before they realise what they've done."
Those were Bob Paisley's words to Liverpool chairman John Smith as the pair left the meeting with Celtic officials at which the transfer of Kenny Dalglish to Anfield had been agreed.
The men from Parkhead were probably thinking the same thing , as they had just secured £440.000 record fee for e deal between two British clubs. But over the next ten years and more it was quite obvious who had concluded the better piece of business that day.
In Dalglish, who was already by far the best player in Scotland, Paisley had aquired a man who would quickly establish himself as indisputably the finest performer in Liverpool's history and, indeed, the greatest footballer the British game has ever seen.
He has received greatest acclaim from those who really know their football: Among his peers Franz Beckenbauer, for one, rates him the finest player he ever saw, while team-mate Graeme Souness ranks only Pele and Johan Cruyff above him. And on the streets of Merseyside and Glasgow, his place in soccer folklore has been long assured.
Those bare facts of his Anfield entrance are impressive enough, but the full roll of Dalglish honours is even more admirable. As well as winning three European Cups, six League Championchips, four League Cups and one FA Cup as player - not including the further pair of League titles and the other FA Cup he led Liverpool to as manager - he was twice Footballer of the Year, became the only man to win the classic League and Cup double as a player-boss, the only man to score 100 goals on both sides of the border, the only Scot to win more than a century of caps for his country and, with Denis Law, Scotland's record international goalscorer.
Yes, that list of titles and all the goals per game figures that could be recorded till only half the story of Kenny Dalglish's greatness. For it was the awe-inspiring manner in which he took those chances and the eye-catching excellence of his all-round game that really crowned him "King Kenny" in the eyes of Kop.
Always a team player rather than an individual glory hunter, Dalglish was as close to being the complete footballer as one could ever reasonable hope to find. He didn't have the greyhound pace of, say, Ian Rush, but as Bob Paisley once remarked: The first five yards are always run in the head and Kenny's brain was easily the fastest around.
Take an extra look at the picture above. That scene has been repeated on television so often over the years and is etched on the memory of every Kopite of the time - Dalglish racing towards the crowd, his arms outstreched, his face split by the broadest of bearns that conveyed his love for the game and the sheer joy of scoring more eloquently than any words could ever do. On that day, at Stamford Bridge, Liverpool won The Double and the matchwinner: "King Kenny".
He resigned in 1991 and became Blackburn manager. But he should never be allowed to detract from all he achieved in the name of Liverpool Football Club. He will forever be rightly exalted as the finest player ever to wear the famous red jersey. (Taken from "Liverpool Greatest Players" by David Walmsley)
10.6.99: Dalglish becomes "Director of Football" at Celtic.
19.3.00: Celtic's interim manager Kenny Dalglish fended off talk about taking the job on a full-time basis after his side lifted the CIS Insurance Cup with a 2-0 victory over Aberdeen at Hampden Park. Goals from Vidar Riseth and Tommy Johnson lifted some of the gloom over Parkhead after a troubled season that threatened to end with no trophy in the cabinet for a second successive season.
Thor Zakariassen ©