12 Jan 2013

'I learned lots from him' - Gerrard hails 'fantastic' retired star. Take note, FSG.

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has paid tribute to former Reds midfielder Gary McAllister, and credited the Scot - who spent two successful years at Anfield - with having a major impact on his development.

In an interview today, Gerrard criticised FSG's policy of only bringing young players to the club, and insisted that experienced players are desperately needed at Anfield. He told The Guardian:

"I disagree with the [youth only] policy to be honest.

"I've seen many signings throughout the world who have gone to clubs at the age of 28, 29 or even older and done fantastic jobs.

"Gary McAllister when he came here, is one. I learned bucket loads from Gary Mac"

Gerard Houllier signed 35-year old McAllister on a free in 2000, and the transfer turned out to be an utter masterstroke. At the time, the club was in a period of transition:

* Houllier was overseesing major changes to the club's infrastructure, training facillities, discipline and overall professionalism.

* The team was filled with young players like Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, Michael Owen, David Thompson, Danny Murphy and Emile Heskey.

* At age 28, Markus Babbel and Christian Ziege were the oldest players in the squad.

Houllier recognised that Liverpool needed some real experience in the team; a wise experienced head who could calm things down, and help the young players learn. In came McAllister, and in his two years at Anfield, the club had two of its best seasons in the last twenty years:

* 2000-2001: Won the treble - FA Cup, League Cup and Uefa Cup
* 2001-2002: Finished 2nd in the league.

McAllister wasn't just a bit-part player either; over the two years, he made 87 appearances the for the club (!), and led by example with class, fitness, attitude, commitment and consistency.

In his autobiography, Gerrard admits that when McAllister first signed, he was not convinced it was a good idea. He wrote:

"When Gary McAllister joined Liverpool, I was not alone in the dressing room in wondering what Gerard was doing. He seemed an odd buy. OK, he was once a terrific midfielder for Leeds United and Scotland, but McAllister was now thirty-five, his best days surely behind him.

"I rang my agent, Struan Marshall, who knew McAllister well. 'Stru, what's all this about?' I asked. 'Don't worry, Stevie,' replied Struan, 'Gary Mac will be brilliant for Liverpool, and for you as well. Listen to him. Learn from him.' 'Sod off, Stru' I said. 'McAllister can learn off me!' How wrong I was!"

Gerrard also admitted in his book that he would always try to be among the first to get to the team bus, "so I could sit next to McAllister, absorbing advice".

In 2010, Houllier - who described McAllister as his 'most influential signing' - reflected on the Scot's signing:

"It’s important, when you have kids in the team, to have the right people around them. That's why I brought in Gary McAllister at Liverpool. It is for the same reason that Alex keeps Scholes and Giggs"

FSG and Brendan Rodgers should take note, and act accordingly.

I remain a huge fan of McAllister. He was superb for Liverpool; a real joy to watch during his two years at Anfield, and I'd love to see him return to the club one day in some kind of coaching capacity.

And who can forget his most famous moment in a Liverpool shirt? (Skip to 4:00 for McAllister's winning goal)

Brings a tear to the eye...

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. Was going to mention gary mac in the earlier article about our youth policy, perfect example jamie, had a massive impact, always remember that last minute free kick against the bitter blues & i think he got m.o.m. in eufa final v alaves, top guy.

  2. Totally agree. I was going to include Gerrard's quote in the earlier article but I wanted to have something specifically about Gary Mac. Top class player, and a real gentleman.

  3. I took some stick from the guys at work when he signed: they soon shut up, though.

  4. Agree with the whole article. Top player for us and the reasoning behind having him worked a treat. Absolutely could do with a little bit of that now.

  5. I like the youth policy but its about finding that balance. look at united, RVP will never be financially worth his signing but if he's the reason they win the league and other trophies i think its worth it.
    We could use a gary mac about now

  6. What a signing. Loved McAllister. Most managers pull at least 1 top class signing out of the bag, Houllier - McAllister, Rafa - Alonso, Dalglish - Suarez(maybe not all Kennys doing), what rabbit will Rodgers pull outta the hat?

  7. FSG want to be like Arsenal. The fact is however, when Arsenal had their hey-day about a decade ago, they still had older experienced players such as Bergkamp and Vieira. Is it any wonder why they haven't won a cup for so long with a team of babies?

  8. even hodgson got mereiles (was he top-class? debatable, but did go on fire after kenny returned)

  9. im hoping sturridge will be BR master signing. i hope he scores today against manchester united. 1-2 going for me. Totally psyched about the game, even more after SAF "i didnt know liverpool were doing so badly" comments. lets kick their A$$ES!

  10. I think Scottish players were like Spanish players of today. You gotta have at least 1 or 2 of them in your team to win trophies.

  11. I would like Liverpool to go for Lampard and A.Cole if possible.

  12. Couldn't agree more. Balance is the key. We have a youth in the side but guidance from the senior players will help them learn.

  13. Lampard yes. Cole a big no no. archetype of modern day egoistical greedy players

  14. age dose not matter its about skill and commitment as we have just seen with mr cole you can have the experience but if you don,t give a sh1t,its worthless,i do believe we need a couple of more experienced players but ,importantley they still have to have that hunger,to strive to be the best,