16 Feb 2012

Redknapp: LFC boss couldn't handle this 'explosive' Anfield 'maverick'...

Many Liverpool fans - myself included - were massively disappointed when Gerard Houllier allowed Nicolas Anelka to leave Anfield at the end of the 2001-2002 season after a six months loan spell. Liverpool had had just finished second in the league, and the club was unbeaten in 19 of Anelka's 22 appearances. The decision to him go was inexplicable, but former midfielder Jamie Redknapp has now shed some more light on why it happened.

In his column for The Daily Mail, Redknapp wrote:

"When I played for Gerard Houllier, the Liverpool dressing room loved Nicolas Anelka.

"He was a talent and an explosive footballer, but Houllier didn't like the unpredictability of his nature. Some managers can't handle mavericks".

Houllier's snub hurt Anelka, as he told The Telegraph in 2008:

"He [Houllier] said 'I promise I will sign you' but then he changed his mind and never explained why. I really wanted to sign for them and I have a lot of regret about that."

In 2009, Houllier himself admitted he made a mistake. He told The Mirror:

"I think it was a mistake on my part because I should have should have carried on regardless. I thought, right to the end, I was going to sign him, but then I didn't feel the thing was right"

At that time, Anelka was in the prime of his career, and if he'd stayed, perhaps the 2002-3 season may not have been so atrocious...?

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. I didn't know Anelka had regrets about that. Interesting.

  2. We will never know now. 

  3. Anelka and Litmanen, criminal losses.

  4. Houiller was clueless, when it came to strikers wasn't he. Fowler and Owen were presented to him. He bought Heskey, Baros, Diouf Cisse and got rid of Anelka and Jari... aye clueless. Anelka worst transfer blunder of the early naughties.

  5. This makes me want to cry

  6. Houllier pathetically chose Diouf over Anelka

    My theory has always been that Houllier, who met Wenger on a near weekly basis for dinner, wanted to discover his own talent rather than settle for one of Wenger's greatest coups

    This decision was both shocking and idiotic, and caused us to waste countless millions on Diouf, Cisse, Morientes etc

  7. Morientes... Fernando came over under Benetiz and was only a 5.5 million if i remember correctly, which isnt that much for a world class striker. Yes It didnt work as much as we would have liked but he clearly didnt have the pace for the league. Let Anelka go for 10 million on Diouf in hindsight was a very dumb move. It doesnt help now.. water under the bridge..

  8. I know that Morientes came in under Rafa

    Seems a very distant memory at this stage, but we still spent over £100 million on strikers that we then flogged off while Anelka was still at the top of his game (this includes £26 million on Torres, £20 million on Keane, £10 million on Diouf, £14 million on Cisse, £6.7 million on Morientes, £7 million on Crouch, £7 million on Bellamy, Ryan Babel £11.5 million etc)

    Probably the most expensive blunder in our recent history, remember being GUTTED when we didn't sign him

    Looking through the stats on soccerbase.com, we really have paid through the nose for players for years now - Keane, Johnson etc

  9. I think it was in a piece that Sky Sports did before the 2008 CL Final between Chelsea and The Cunts where Anelka described Liverpool as 'my club' and expressed that the happiest he's been in his playing career was when he was at Anfield. He said that he was being played in a position that brought the very best out of him and that it was a big regret for him to have to leave.
    Very odd to hear him talk about us before a Final that didn't involve us and another example of how Liverpool have at times been the authors of their own misfortune.

  10. Cisse had a decent record even with two broken legs during his time at Anfield, and a lot of time played on the right wing. 

    He outscored everybody's favourite "duracell battery" at least!

  11. I remember from Robbie Fowler's autobiography that he said he thought Houllier was clueless. He came to the club with a '5 year plan' after a good season and made some terrible blunder in the transfer market. IMO, the best forward pairing we could have had was Fowler & Owen, with Litmannen behind the front 2. Anelka would have been an ideal 3rd striker to add to this pairing for rotational purposes, dependent on the opposition. For all the sentiment towards Houllier, I'll never forgive him for selling God. Never.
    Oh yeah, nearly forgot, he signed Heskey as the main striker and it was up to Fowler & Owen to compete for a place along side him, I mean, seriously?

  12. seriously !! GH made some big mistakes at LFC...the biggest one was to sell Robbie Fowler to Leeds UTD...I personally have never forgiven Gh for what he did...choosing Heskey over Fowler my foot...and then choosing Diouf over Anelka...he lost it man...

  13. Houllier after watching Diouf juring the Japan(world cup.I think),reconned he had found another 'jem'. I could'n't believe what I was reading/hearing! Diouf ran around like a headless chicken,getting nowhere! Absolute 'crap'.

  14. Another mistake GH made was that we basically had the Ronaldo deal wrapped up but GH has doubts which slowed the deal and allowed Utd to sign him. Some very big mistakes. Always liked GH as he seemed a decent chap but he made some grave errors.

  15. Anelka, Litmanen Titi Camara and little David Thompson.  Someone should be doing time for treason.

  16. Houlliers biggest mistake was allowing Ginola's world cup mistake to alter his views on how the game should be played.  We got Houllier at precisely the wrong moment in his career when he had lost all hope in flair, creative and maverick type players.  Anyone remember Houlliers first signing £1.5 mill Jean Michel Ferri or as wiki puts it:

    Jean-Michel Ferri (born 7 February 1969 in Lyon) is a retired French footballer who played midfielder. He won the championship with FC Nantes in 1995. He joined Liverpool near the end of his career in 1998, but left after playing just 47 minutes for the club in two appearances as a substitute.

    £1.5million for 47 minutes of footy.  The Anfield transfer bonfire goes so far back its embarrassing.

  17. Rafa paid £20.3m for Torres which made LFC £30m profit when he went apart from the countless millions in success Torres brought in europe and worldwide shirt sales,I reckon Torres costing the club £20.3m actually recouped the club over £100m due to Rafas inspired signing.If your names Arry jealous Redknapp he lies about Torres costing £26m to make himself look good the blagger,dont always believe what you read in the papers.