Football greats with a managerial legacy on their resume are a rare breed. at club level, it has become a impossible to challenge Johan Cruyff’s status as legendary footballer and manager. the feats that the Dutchman accomplished at ajax amsterdam and especially barcelona reserved his name in the annals of these institutions. If Rinus Michels had mapped out the genetics of los blaugrana, Cruyff ensured that they remained as their raison d’etreI, in its guise as tiki-taka, for eternity.
the current barca coach Josep “Pep” Guardiola has posted lofty achievements in the last two seasons but the benchmark, as Guardiola himself agrees, is Cruyff’s Dream team. In their composition, tactical audacity and technical ability, the Dream team of the early 1990s to 1994 has passed into football fable while Cruyff, despite the political divide of present day Camp Nou, still retains substantial sway over matters concerning the club and their management.
the nearest a club figure comes to the superlative player and manager like Cruyff is Kenny Dalglish, the most regal of the liverpool FC royalty. While Cruyff dragged barca into modern renown through his sheer force of will and a profound conviction of his football philosophy, there is a rather unique set of circumstances and grounds that underline Dalglish’s iconic height at anfield.
Unlike the Dutchman, Dalglish did not redefine the Reds’ psyche with a set of values that has been passed on through the decades. the liverpool way, at least on the pitch, revolved around the simplicity of the passand-move ethics that have been ingrained into the team from the bill Shankly era to that inherited by Dalglish in the mid-1980s. but like Cruyff, the Scot was part of a team and later the builder of another that enthralled football enthusiasts and stabbed fright in the heart of their rivals.
these exploits earned Daglish everlasting adulation from liverpool loyalists, who tend to enjoy unbroken relationships with their club stalwarts and former managers. though this view risks reigniting the feud on why liverpool supporters are seen as singularly unique in their reverence of their club heroes, a voyage through Dalglish’s new book My Liverpool Home perhaps expounds the reasons for such a rapport.
My Liverpool Home – Dalglish’s second literary effort after Dalglish: My Autobiography in 1996 – begins with his first visit to anfield as a trialist on the invitation of Shankly and progresses to the transformation of his awe into a full-blown fondness for the Reds as a player and later manager. through his recollections – divided into 20 chapters that include memories of his wife and children –