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Gerrard Houllier


Ant

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I remember walking out of the ground v Newcastle May 2004. We had just secured 4th place, Michael Owen had scored his last goal in front of the Kop, and we have finished 30 Points behind the eventual champions Arsenal.

 

I turned to my mate and said 'I'd be happy if Houllier stayed to be honest', despite the fact I was a massive critic at the time. He was staunchly defended by some, but in the end many had lost their faith in him, and both parties amicably parted ways. It's 10 years more or less since really you could say it went wrong for Houllier, some point to the Bayer Leverkusen game, though my memory is of Boro away and listening to it on the radio.

 

Ultimately the 2002/2003 transfer window was the turning point in terms of the direction of the club, though after seeing Bruno Cheyrou play like Zidane in a friendly v Lazio, and Diouf and Diao come back from a successful World Cup, there was plenty of optimism though that was soon to be eroded.

 

If Benitez put us back on the top of European Football, it was surely Houllier who gave us our pride back in an historic treble winning season, the job that almost cost him his life, he produced some fantastic memories which only get better with age. As someone who was a critic, I actually look back on the Houllier error with fond memories, I'm more prone to discuss the Michael Owen Cup Final, Cardiff 2003 etc rather than dwell on the bad-times which to be honest that I really can't remember well at all.

 

Mellwood as we see it was built in his image, although it was evolved, the modern facilities where part of his image. We must not forget that his team of Sammy Lee and Phil Thompson where really a force. Thompson himself having a decent spell as manager when Houllier took ill.

 

His influence is there to see even today, in Gerrard and Carragher. Even those who have departed recently such as Finnan, Hyypia, Riise, Hamman. Instrumental in our success, where all brought in or molded by Ged, something not many give him credit for.

 

I think history looks back upon his time here with great fondness, he fell in love with the club and as I said before, gave the club it's pride back. Dion Fanning said that we would look back upon the Benitez years as being a 'Golden Age', I suppose now we can truly say the same was the case with Houllier.

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I think Houllier's greatest achievement was changing us from "Spice Boys" to something more focused and more driven.

 

Made some great signings over the years, Sami, Didi, Finnan, Dudek, Riise, Henchoz, Gary Mac

 

It seemed the more he moved forward the more he got it a bit wrong I thought

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If Benitez put us back on the top of European Football, it was surely Houllier who gave us our pride back in an historic treble winning season, the job that almost cost him his life, he produced some fantastic memories which only get better with age. As someone who was a critic, I actually look back on the Houllier error with fond memories, I'm more prone to discuss the Michael Owen Cup Final, Cardiff 2003 etc rather than dwell on the bad-times which to be honest that I really can't remember well at all.

 

Mellwood as we see it was built in his image, although it was evolved, the modern facilities where part of his image. We must not forget that his team of Sammy Lee and Phil Thompson where really a force. Thompson himself having a decent spell as manager when Houllier took ill.

 

His influence is there to see even today, in Gerrard and Carragher. Even those who have departed recently such as Finnan, Hyypia, Riise, Hamman. Instrumental in our success, where all brought in or molded by Ged, something not many give him credit for.

Agree with all of this apart from what I've highlighted there.

 

I'm not aware of anyone who doesn't give Houllier the credit he deserved, he was absolutely loved by the supporters.

 

I still want to see that mysterious formation that included Berger, Litmanen, Owen and Heskey. Think the closest we came was FC Haka away.

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Anelka, Owen and Heskey really had the potential to be a fantastic front 3.

 

Riise was a fantastic signing looking back and big Sami as well.

Wasn't Sami first brought to our attention by Robinson? But yeah, it was the start of something that Benitez built further upon, only for H & G to f*** it all up.

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He signed some amazing players and some terrible ones.

 

His tactics worked well up to a point. He generally only had one way of playing which was sit deep and counter attack with fast players. Our inability to win after falling behind in matches demonstrated this.

 

Signing Diouf, Diao and Cheyrou was possibly the worst transfer window ever. Choosing speed merchant Cisse when Eto'o was begging to come here was unforgivable.

 

I also resented him for selling Fowler, even though he probably made the right decision there.

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Did a lot of positive things, but f*** me, I could not wait to get rid towards the end. He completely lost it, there was no sense to him at all. Whether that coincided with his illness or not I don't know, but I was glad when it finally ended.

I'm kind of like that too but I remember trouncing Boro' at home once and we'd Litmanen, Redknapp and Berger all on song. We were a joy to watch that day.

Always confuses me why he didn't stick with that.

He's just can be too a restrictive coach but a brilliant administrator.

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He was a decent manager for us, loved him at the time, but I find it difficult to warm up to him now

Agreed. His self aggrandizement, his refusal to take responsibility for failures, his "4th is good enough" attitude and his "no one has replaced you boss" bulls*** really undermined his legacy.

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Can't understand people slagging him off at all. Loved him being here. Considering what we were before going on to win 5 trophies was probably

the best season ever for me as I was old enough to fully appreciate it really. Before when I was a kid it was just the norm to win stuff.

He gave us self belief again and set us up for all managers since.

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No mention of the title challenge in 01/02 when played some great football in the last few months. Remember Smicer's injury time volley at home to Chelsea to. Take us top by a point. Granted Arsenal had 2 games in hand but belief was massive back then.

 

The following season things went wrong and we failed to qualify for the CL and got knocked out away to Basel in the group stages and we had a horrible period over that winter. That said we did win the Carling Cup in 02/03 but there was a debate being had.

 

Following season we scrapped it past Newcastle for 4th as they only drew 2-2 away to Southampton before coming to Anfield. It was a 2nd bad season and the club decided to move.

 

I only look back with fondness on Houlliers time. He took us from UEFA Cup whipping boys to title challengers and a force in Europe.

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he was the wrong man at the wrong time. a better manager and we might have built on gerrard, owen and carragher all emerging at roughly the same time, and won the title.

And we might have lost them to the bright lights and continued to slide towards Spursdom

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and so what if he did

 

 

Nah, I'm sure there is a lot said behind the scenes in football to stroke each others egos and belittle someone else, but it was a bit of a s***ty thing to bring out in public soon after Rafa was sacked.

 

As far as the 'wrong man at the wrong time' thing said earlier, I couldn't disagree more, he dragged the club back to being a professional outfit.

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