Dal­glish de­lighted Sir Alex turn­ing up for sta­dium trib­ute

Liver­pool un­veil stand named af­ter Scot to­day Leg­end in­sists Fer­gu­son ri­valry was not per­sonal

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Football - By Chris Bas­combe

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

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