Gerard Houllier

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  Date of Birth: 03 Sep 1947

  Birthplace: Lille

  GAMES: 307

  WON: 160

  DRAWN: 73

  LOST: 74

 

 

 

STAFF HONOURS:

Worthington Cup 2001 

FA Cup 2001 

UEFA Cup 2001

FA Charity Shield 2001

UEFA Super Cup 2001

Worthington Cup 2003

PROFILE:

The summer of 1998 heralded the beginning of a French revolution at Anfield.

The Reds had struggled to make the final steps towards title glory under Roy Evans and it was felt that the arrival of former France international coach, Gerard Houllier, would help add some much-needed steel and discipline to Liverpool's attacking flair.

The Frenchman's association with the club stemmed from his days spent teaching in the city when he would cheer the Reds on from the Kop. Now he was back, charged with the task of trying to help rekindle the type of success he had witnessed from the stand.

At first Houllier was brought in as joint manager alongside Roy Evans.  But as the double-act failed to come to terms with their dual role, results suffered, and Evans opted to part-company following a 3-1 League Cup defeat at home to Tottenham.

It proved to be a season of transition for Liverpool as inconsistency and injury saw them finish in a disappointing seventh place. It left Houllier with the task of transforming an under-achieving squad into one capable of challenging for trophies.

There was to be no quick fix either, as the Frenchman oversaw a complete overhaul of his playing staff, including seven new arrivals and 10 departures.

Out went the likes of Paul Ince, Jason McAteer and, regrettably, Steve McManaman (Bosman transfer), while Sami Hyypia, Dietmar Hamann and Stephane Henchoz headed the new contingent.

That trio in particular would provide the defensive resilience the Reds had been crying out for as Houllier set about making Liverpool difficult to beat again.

The 1999-2000 season brought with it serious progress as the Reds overcame some teething problems early on in the campaign to lie in second place with just six games remaining.

However, qualification for the Champions League would prove to be a bridge too far as Houllier's men failed to win any of their remaining fixtures.

It was a frustrating time for the manager but one that made him even more determined to succeed the following year - and what a year.

The 2000-01 season was the fruition of the Frenchman's revolution, a remarkable campaign that would see the Reds end a six-year barren spell without a trophy in style.

The Worthington Cup success over Birmingham was the just the precipice, as the FA Cup, UEFA Cup, Community Shield and Super Cup all found their way into the Anfield trophy cabinet in the same calendar year.

It had also been another solid season in the league and a third placed finish was not only proof of further improvement, but also meant the Reds would be involved in the Champions League for the first time since its inauguration.

The unique cup treble restored Liverpool's reputation as one of the best sides in Europe and once again raised expectations ahead of the 2001-02 season.

However, the exertions that came with trying to restore the Reds to the summit of English football were taking their toll on Houllier and on October 13 he fell ill during a 1-1 draw at home to Leeds United.

It would have dramatic repercussions for the rest of the season as Phil Thompson took temporary charge of team affairs while Houllier recovered from life saving heart surgery.

Thommo ran a steady ship while his boss was away and although the return of Houllier could not inspire Liverpool to title or Champions League glory, a second placed finish would again show progress.

But a sequence of gradual league improvement would not continue the following season and rather than end a 13-year wait for the title, the Reds finished in a disappointing fifth position.

The Frenchman had made a number of disappointing summer signings such as Bruno Cheyrou, El Hadji Diouf and Salif Diao and although he led Liverpool to a 2-0 win over Manchester United in the Worthington Cup final, it was a consolation prize in terms of what he had previously achieved.

The 2003-04 season would again see the Reds struggle to sustain a title challenge and only a late rally would see them secure that much-coveted fourth Champions League place.

However, the Reds board had decided it was time for a change and despite a reluctance to leave what he felt was an incomplete project, Houllier left Anfield during the summer of 2004.

It was a sad farewell for a man who had helped restore Liverpool's flagging reputation, but his tenure had not been without its success; the 2001 treble winning season regarded by many as one of the finest in our illustrious history.