Kenny quits as Liverpool manager

21 February 1991

As Kenny Dalglish watched on from the visitors' dugout at Goodison Park he could scarcely believe that he had just seen his Liverpool side lead four times without booking their place in the sixth round of the FA Cup.

It was one of the most sensational games in the history of the Merseyside derby and although his face bore the expression of a man who was far from happy with the 4-4 scoreline, few would have anticipated what would unfold in the aftermouth of such an incredible game.

In an eerie parallel to the shock events that saw the departure of the legendary Bill Shankly, a press conference was called at Anfield with the resignation of the manager the last thing members of the press were expecting.

But as Chairman Noel White emerged to face reporters alongside a weary looking Dalglish, there was a distinct sense of déjà vu about the setting.

"It was with very real regret that we learned of his decision to resign as team manager," said White.

"I would like to assure our supporters that we did everything in our power to change his mind, and to continue to do the job which he has done with such conspicuous success during the last five years or so.

"However he has made it clear - and I know he would tell you this himself - that he was determined to give up active participation in professional football and he has also assured us that we could do nothing to alter his decision to resign."

As news filtered through to supporters across the globe, few could understand the timing of his departure.

The Reds were stuck in a two-way tussle for the first division title with Arsenal and were about to face Everton in an FA Cup fifth round second replay at Goodison Park.

And yet, as Dalgish would later reveal in his autobiography, the stress of Hillsborough had finally taken its toll and as he sat as forlorn figure in the Anfield press room, it was clear that he was an exhausted, beaten man.

"This is the first time since I came to the club that I take the interest of Kenny Dalglish over Liverpool Football Club," said Dalgish.

"This is not a sudden decision. The worst I could have done was not to decide. One could argue that this decision hadn’t come at a good time but there is no good time in cases like this.

"The main problem is the pressure I put on myself because of my strong desire to succeed. The stress that comes right before and after games has got the better of me. Some might have difficulty understanding my decision but this decision stands.

"I would be betraying everyone if I wouldn’t let them know there is something wrong. I have been involved with football since I was 17. Twenty years with the two most successful teams in Britain, Celtic and Liverpool. I’ve been at the front all these years and it is time to end it."

Dalglish's departure sent shockwaves through the football world and stunned his players in the dressing room, who would go on to finish the season empty-handed.

It sparked a period of transition for the club and one that brought to a close our monopoly of winning trophies to ensure the 1990s were as disappointing as the 70s and 80s were glorious.