Dalglish delighted Sir Alex turning up for stadium tribute
Liverpool unveil stand named after Scot today Legend insists Ferguson rivalry was not personal
At the peak of their powers, they were feuding foes who symbolised the bitter rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester United.
Today, Kenny Dalglish and Sir Alex Ferguson will stand side by side as Anfield pays tribute to the Kop legend.
The stadium’s Centenary Stand will become the Kenny Dalglish Stand, and ahead of tomorrow’s match between Liverpool and United, Sir Alex will accompany Sir Bobby Charlton as a VIP guest at a renaming ceremony.
Beneath their sporting enmity, Dalglish says there has always been respect between the two titans of the game.
“His actions speak louder than 1,000 words with him and Sir Bobby coming over,” said Dalglish. “They did exactly the same after Hillsborough. They were over here early. There is rivalry on and off the pitch but when it comes to something like that, there is not even a doubt about it – they will be over here supporting us and hopefully we would do the same for them.
“Away from working, there has never been a problem with him. Never, ever been a problem.
“We defended our clubs and our fans as best we could. How can you criticise someone who is totally supportive of his club? That is what you want as a supporter – someone who is defensive of your club and wants to make a contribution. He made a massive contribution to Manchester United.
“If someone came to manage Liverpool and never stood their corner, I don’t think the punters would be happy with that. He was exactly the same for Manchester United.
“He represents his club fantastically well and I have tried my best to represent the club I was at. I don’t see anything wrong with that.
“After the end of the game, there was never any animosity or dissent from either of us. There would always be a drink.
“When I came back [for a second spell as manager] and we had that first game at Old Trafford, he shouted to me when I was walking on to the pitch ‘are you coming in for a drink after?’ I said: ‘What do you mean? I’ve always been in for a drink!’ He said: ‘Aye, I know. But it’s changed a wee bit now.’ I said: ‘Not for me it hasn’t.’
“You never spoke about football. You never spoke about what happened out there. If you did, you end up arguing, don’t you?”
Dalglish famously said of Ferguson in 1988 “you’ll get more sense from my six-week-old daughter [Lauren] than you’ll get talking to him.” But any painful memories from scrapes on the touchline have evidently soothed with age. Dalglish ruled English football when Sir Alex arrived at Old Trafford in 1986, and the United manager’s fabled quip about “knocking Liverpool off their perch” was long after Dalglish’s first spell at Anfield, although the duo enjoyed more title rivalry when Dalglish moved to Blackburn.
“If he wanted to get to the top, he had to target Liverpool and Everton, because when he came down here in the Eighties, Liverpool and Everton were winning at least one thing every year,” says Dalglish.
“If you want to get to the top then somebody has to be knocked aside. I don’t think anybody will go back to that time of such success like we did in the Eighties.
“There are so many of them now that have access to finance that can help them out.you don’t have to do
‘His actions speak louder than 1,000 words. Him and Sir Bobby did the same after Hillsborough’
it in one transfer window, it may take four or five, but no matter. It took Fergie a long time to do it at Man United so I don’t see what the impatience is about at other places.”
Alongside the former rivals, Liverpool glitterati will be attending the unveiling of the stand. Dalglish says he was initially concerned when summoned to a meeting with the club’s owners to be informed of their plans. “I thought I was getting the sack again, but it was a happy story this time,” Dalglish, a nonexecutive director at the club, joked. “I don’t know if I will sit in it. I’ve not even got a car-park space.
“For everybody, for all the family, it is immensely proud that your name is on the stand. We only came here for football and to end up at that level is beyond everybody’s expectations and possibilities. To manage and play for the club was a great enough achievement and, to get your name up on the stand, it just goes beyond expectations.”
Child’s play: Kenny Dalglish referred to his daughter in a Ferguson put-down