How the heroic Kenny Dalglish earned his knighthood

There are times when famous figures who are associated with a club by above and beyond. This could not be more true of someone than Kenny Dalglish.

The Liverpool legend, who presided over one of the Reds’ most successful periods, winning the  First Division in 1985–86, 1987–88, 1989–90, as well as two FA Cups.

But it wasn’t just the trophies he was famous for, it was his actions when he was manager during the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.

For his services, he was awarded a knighthood in the Queen’s birthday honours in 2018.

The citation for the honours read: “He was Liverpool manager at the time of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.

“He selflessly made himself available to the families of the bereaved, attending most of the funerals, organising hospital visits and attending annual memorial services held at Anfield.

“He has been a steadfast supporter of the families in their quest for and throughout the Hillsborough Inquiry and was granted Freedom of the City of Liverpool in recognition of his work. He is the co-founder of The Marina Dalglish Appeal, his family’s cancer charity which opened the £1.5m Centre for Oncology at University Hospital, Aintree in 2007 and which has raised over £10m in total.”

Dalglish was snubbed from the honours list for a long period after the disaster that killed 97 football fans. He had been award an MBE in 1984 but the glossing over him thereafter, in lieu of his great exploits, granted him the title, King Kenny.

For Celtic, the former striker scored 167 goals in 322 appearances. At Liverpool he bagged 172 in 515 games; at Anfield, he’s considered one of the club’s all-time greats. A collective nine league titles was won with three as the boss of the Merseyside club, while he also was there when they won European Cups.

Dalglish and his wife Marina, now Lady Dalglish, had attended in one day four separate funerals of Liverpool fans who were unlawfully killed in 1989.

The fallout then led to his resignation as boss in 1991. The impact of the disaster on the then 38-year-old led to his resignation as Liverpool manager in 1991.

He said: “We are hugely proud to have got this. You start off in life just hoping to be a footballer. You become a footballer and have a bit of success in the football world and that seems to give you a platform to go on to other things. We only set out to do the best we possibly could, even through all the other stuff. The charity or Hillsborough; it was to help people because somebody helped us.

“Marina wanted to show her appreciation – or we did as a family – for the way she was looked after when she was treated [for breast cancer] and ended up starting the charity. I think it’s just what you are supposed to do in life, isn’t it?

“You start off with your parents and they put you on the right road. Marina and I are fortunate that we got good direction from them. Then the football.

“You couldn’t get any better tutors than [former Celtic manager] Jock Stein and Bob Paisley. People might say they didn’t get recognition like this. I wouldn’t get into a discussion about that but I’m not saying I’m any more deserving than those two great men.”

Featured image credit: Getty