Why Kenny Dalglish deserves his Lifetime Achievement Award
2 months ago
Kenny Dalglish was awarded the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award 2023.
The word ‘legend’ is thrown about a lot in football. For the most part, you can take it with a pinch of salt.
But Kenny Dalglish is a true legend of the game. Football fans the world over will long remember his achievements as a player and a manager.
The Scottish icon was awarded the BBC‘s Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award on December 19th for his stunning football success and dedication to charitable causes.
Nobody is more deserving of the award than King Kenny. Here’s why.
Being born in 1982, I’m too young to have seen Kenny his pomp. But such is his impact on Liverpool Football Club; I remember some of his goals like I was watching from the stands.
There’s the cheeky dink to win the European Cup against Bruge at Wembley in 1977.
The shimmy and left-footed finish to score his 100th Liverpool goal against Ipswich in 1983.
The chest control and volley to clinch the League title at Stamford Bridge in 1986.
I remember Kenny’s passes, vision, and skill. I remember his contagious smile that would light up Anfield each time he scored. I can picture him using his magnificent backside to turn defenders inside out.
I remember these things because they were drummed into me growing up: “Kenny Dalglish is the greatest Liverpool player of all time.” Watching VHS tapes of the King Kenny play was part of my childhood education.
So, despite growing up seeing the likes of Barnes, Rush, Gerrard, Fowler and Salah grace the Anfield turf, I still see Kenny as the best to ever pull on the famous red shirt.
His record as a player and manager at LFC speaks for itself.
8 League Titles, 3 European Cups, 2 FA Cups, 5 League Cups. 172 goals in 515 games.
Twice winner of the FWA Footballer of the Year and PFA Player of the Year winner. The list goes on.
There’s no question Liverpool’s number 7 was a unique footballer. But it’s not only Kenny’s achievements on the pitch that make him a hero. He’s a world-class person, too.
The city will never forget Dalglish’s dedication and support to grieving families in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster when Kenny attended the funerals of many of the victims and made sure that the club were there for the bereaved.
Kenny Dalglish carried Liverpool after Hillsborough. His heroic efforts would eventually take their toll, contributing to his resignation in 1991. Still, he never showed an ounce of self-pity.
As far as Kenny was concerned, whatever he was going through paled compared to what the families had to bear.
His commitment to helping others didn’t stop there. In 2005, Kenny and his wife founded The Marina Dalglish Appeal to raise money to improve the lives of cancer patients. The charity donated £1.5m towards the opening of The Centre for Oncology at Aintree University Hospital in 2007 and made a £2m donation to the Walton Centre in 2012.
This remarkable man would return to football to manage second-division Blackburn Rovers. Kenny led the Lancashire Club to the Premier League title within four years.
Fittingly, his team clinched the title at Anfield on the last day of the season.
After unsuccessful spells at Newcastle and Celtic, Dalglish returned to manage his beloved Liverpool in 2011. The team he took over was a far cry from the teams of years gone by, but Kenny secured Liverpool’s first trophy in six years, winning the League Cup against Cardiff City.
I was at that game. And as Kenny lifted the cup to chants of “Dalglish, Dalglish” from adoring Reds, I thought about what it must have been like to have seen the king live in his prime.
Instead, I make do with the videos that prove Sir Kenny Dalglish is one of the greatest football players in history.
I think about how lucky we are as Liverpool fans to have such a humble, hardworking and dedicated man represent our great club.
And could he play.