Thirty years on from Liverpool clinching an incredible treble, we speak to the captain of the team, Graeme Souness, who explains why Joe Fagan deserves to have his name mentioned in the same breath as Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley.

In his first season in charge at Anfield, the man affectionately known as 'Smokin' Joe' built on the incredible legacy left by Paisley to guide the club on to even more success.

As his captain, Souness was the driving force of the team - and in many supporters' eyes, he remains one of the greatest players ever to have donned the red shirt.

The 1983-84 campaign was Souness's final season at Anfield before the midfielder moved to Sampdoria for a fresh challenge in Italy, and Kopites will tell you just how immense and instrumental a figure he was in that season, guiding the Reds to a treble of the League Championship, Milk Cup and European Cup.

In an exclusive interview with LFCTV GO, Souness recalls the stunning campaign in all its glory as he emphasises the importance of the man at the helm, Fagan, who steered the Reds to unprecedented success.

Asked if his former boss receives the credit his legacy merits, Souness said: "No he doesn't. Joe was an integral part of us. He was with us every moment of every day on the training ground and Ronnie Moran was the man who was growling at us.

"Joe was in the background watching things and if he felt he had to do something, he would step in. When Joe spoke everyone shut up.

"He was a lovely gentle man in every sense of the word. Joe was the one you went to if you had a problem that wasn't a football problem.

"Without getting too sentimental, we were playing Southampton in my last season at the club. My mother was dying and we got to Oxford where we stopped for a cup of tea. I got the news that she wasn't going to last the night.

"In those days there were no mobile phones. I had kept the bus waiting and when I got on it Joe had a right go at me. He then saw I was upset and I went and sat at the front of the bus on my own instead of being at the back in my usual spot with the boys.

"Joe came up and put his arm around me and spent the rest of the trip sitting next to me all the way down to Southampton. He was a special man and there was nothing to dislike about him.


"He was a unique man in every sense. Me, Kenny Dalglish, Alan Hansen, Phil Neal, the senior players, all loved the man.

"We knew what he was about and we all had the upmost respect for him. Out of that group I would be amazed if you found anyone from would say one word about Joe that wasn't complimentary.

"Joe was underestimated as Liverpool manager. Bob was a genius, he was great at assessing football matches and players.

"He was the quiet, gentile man - but you couldn't have had one without the other. I don't think we could have had success without Bob and I don't think we could have had success without Joe."

The first trophy to arrive in 1984 was the Milk Cup after a showpiece clash which saw the first all-Merseyside cup final unfold at Wembley.

Following a goalless draw under the twin towers, Souness fired the winner in the replay at Maine Road to give Fagan his first trophy as Liverpool manager.

Recalling the all-Merseyside final, Souness said: "We went into the game really fancying ourselves to win it as we were the favourites, and on the day we just didn't play and we got away with a draw.

"In the replay at Maine Road I can remember the ball being played up to me and I miscontrolled it! I just turned and hit it with my left foot and fortunately it went past Neville Southall, who was a top goalkeeper, and it turned out to be the winner.

"Looking back, it seemed like we used to win the League Cup every year. It was a competition worth winning, it was a big thing to win back then – every trophy is a big one to win.

"Winning trophies was just a habit we had at the time and it became natural. Every pre-season when we posed for a new team photo there was always at least one trophy with us so we expected to win things.

"We were a really good team, a strong team – a hard team to play against. We had two special guys up front for us in Kenny Dalglish and Ian Rush who would win games for us even if we hadn't played well. They were great days."

Look out for part two of our exclusive chat with Souness on Friday, when he recalls his famous confrontation with 'The Butcher of Bilbao'.