Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Liverpool's 1989 FA Cup Winning Side - Where Are They Now?

The FA Cup Final, May 1989 was contested by Everton and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium. It became one of the most memorable FA Cup Final in terms of excitement, emotions and tension. John Aldridge had put Liverpool 1-0 up after four minutes but Stuart McCall equalised in the 89th minute to force extra time.

In extra time Ian Rush put Liverpool 2-1 ahead but McCall made it 2-2. It was left to Rush again to score the winner in extra-time and give the Red half of Liverpool something to cheer in a very emotional season. With the two goals he scored here, Ian Rush became the record FA Cup Final goalscorer with five goals.

The triumphant Liverpool team list on that day consisted of,
Starting: Bruce Grobbelaar, Gary Ablett, Steve Staunton, Steve Nicol, Ronnie Whelan, Alan Hansen, Peter Beardsley, John Aldridge, Ray Houghton, John Barnes, Steve McMahon
Subs Used: Ian Rush, Barry Venison
Manager: Kenny Dalglish

But where are they now?

Bruce Grobbelaar was the flamboyant goalkeeper of the 80's. He was sometimes known as the "Clown Prince" of football at the peak of his career. Best remembered for his "wobbly knees" routine against Juventus in the European Cup Final, he tried his hand at management without any substantial success. He later became a participant chef in the television programme, Hell's Kitchen. He also does some part-time football punditry and has been seen on ESPN Star Sports recently.
He is voted at no. 17 in the list of "100 Players Who Shook The Kop"

Gary Ablett was a solid defender who performed brilliantly for Liverpool. One of the unsung heroes of the all-conquering Liverpool team of the 80's, he became Everton's youth team coach after his playing career ended. Ablett later moved across Stanley Park to become Liverpool's reserve team coach under Rafa Benitez. As reserve team coach, he proved his worth when Liverpool reserves team were crowned Premier Reserve League North champions and subsequently playoff champions in April 2008. He is now managing Stockport Country in League One.

Steve Staunton was a powerful attacking leftback who was a consistent performer for Liverpool. His quietly effective footballing career seemed to differ drastically from the fiery and turbulent times he had as Republic of Ireland manager. Failure to qualify for Euro2008 brought an end to his reign as Irish boss and the position is now held by Giovanni Trappatoni. Last seen working as a scout under Mick McCarthy for Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Steve Nicol was the ultimate utility player for Liverpool. Back in the days when utility players were in vogue, Stevie Nicol ranks as the best of the lot. Able to play anywhere across defence and midfield, he could also chip in with a few vital goals during those title-winning seasons. He has found sustained success as coach and manager in Major League Soccer. Now in his eighth season at the helm of the New England Revolution, Steve Nicol is the longest-tenured coach in Major League Soccer and is regarded as one of the top tacticians and talent evaluators of soccer talent in the States. His 87 career victories entering the 2009 season have eclipsed the combined win total (73) of the previous four head coaches in Revolution club history. Steve "Chopsy" Nicol is also a guest analyst for ESPN International and ESPN's weekly "Press Pass" show.
His achievements in Liverpool have earned him no. 39 in the list of "100 Players Who Shook The Kop".

Ronnie Whelan was the 80's equivalent of Javi Mascherano. The player who does all the dirty work in midfield, Whelan was a formidable midfielder, able to tackle, set up plays and scoring goals from midfield. He was captain of the 1989 FA Cup Final winning Liverpool side. Whelan went into club management after his playing career ended, managing Sheffield United and in Greece. He plays occassionally in the Liverpool Masters team and now is an after-dinner speaker.
Very well regarded at Liverpool, he is placed at no.30 in the list of "100 Players Who Shook The Kop".

Alan Hansen must have been the one of the role models that Rio Ferdinand have fashioned his playing style upon. Cool, assured and comfortable on the ball, Alan Hansen was the epitome of the term "ball-playing centrebacks". A great player, Hansen blew us away with his football analytical views as a BBC pundit. His quote "You will never win anything with kids" will forever be etched in punditry history. He has gone on to forge a great career as a football presenter, columnist and analyst.
This stylish former centreback was voted in at no.12 in the list of "100 Players Who Shook The Kop".

Peter Beardsley was the perfect replacement when King Kenny decided to go into management full-time. A scorer and creator of many goals during the time when the trio of Barnes, Aldridge and Beardsley easily caused all opposition defences nightmares. He is now a coach at the Newcastle academy, training the young strikers there.
Ranked no.19 in the list of "100 Players Who Shook The Kop".

John Aldridge looked a bit like Ian Rush but that's not where the similarities end. It was pleasing that when the supreme goalscorer left for Juventus, Aldo came in and the goals kept coming. When Ian Rush returned for a second stint with Liverpool, Aldridge broke new ground at Real Sociedad, becoming one of the first few successful foreigners in the La Liga. He continued to score goals in Spain, earning a lot of fans in the process. Homesickness brought him back to Liverpool and Tranmere benefitted from his expert poaching skills. Aldridge now works as a pundit with Radio City 96.7FM and is a regular columnist with the Liverpool Echo.
This master blaster is placed at no.26 in the list of "100 Players Who Shook The Kop".

Ray Houghton was another hardworking midfielder for Liverpool during that great period. A very attack-minded midfielder, he would make late runs into the box and score. He is now an ambassador for Irish football. Houghton is now in demand as a pundit on the game, working for outlets such as RTÉ in Ireland, talkSPORT, Sky Sports and Sportsxchange in the UK. Houghton was once asked why he went into punditry. It was something that just fell into place rather than planned, Houghton explains. But he also expresses a deep wish to coach/manage if the right job comes around.
Ray Houghton is at no.52 in the list of "100 Players Who Shook The Kop"

John Barnes was quite simply a breathtaking player during his playing days. Words simply do not do justice to the ability and talent that Digger Barnes displayed for Liverpool. After a bad start at Celtic, Barnes achieved managerial success while at Jamaica, winning the Carribean Cup. He is now back as manager of Tranmere Rovers. His coaching methods have been labelled unconventional and his ideas have yet to bear fruit in the clubs that he has managed.
His memorable displays were what more than 110,000 fans remember when they voted Barnes at no.5 in the list of "100 Players Who Shook The Kop"

Steve McMahon was the one of the best hardmen in the game during the 80's. A hard-tackling, intelligent midfield player, his equivalent today would be Steven Gerrard. His goals are typically long range screamers which give goalkeepers no chance. He is currently now in Singapore working as ESPN Star Sports pundit and football analyst. He is also a director for sporting investment within the Profitable Group who were behind failed bids for Newcastle recently.
The Kop fans think McMahon should be placed at no.42 in the list of "100 Players Who Shook The Kop".

Barry Venison was at best a reserve team player within the all-conquering Liverpool team of the 80's. Nevertheless, his solid performances meant that he could always be counted upon to deliver when needed. He got involved in TV punditry after his career ended and was valued for his knowledgeable and insightful views on the game. No one can forget this outrageous and daring dresser. Venison is also a master of quirky quotes.
Came in at no.26 in the list of "100 Players Who Shook The Kop".

Ian Rush is the current highest Liverpool goals record holder. One of the best players in the world never to play in a World Cup, he went on to manage Chester City but failed to achieve anything significant. Since 2005, he is involved in media work as analyst and pundit for Sky Sports, ESPN and LFCTV. He still represents Liverpool in Masters Football UK Tournament.
His goalscoring exploits and match winning qualities warrant his placement at no.3 in the list of "100 Players Who Shook The Kop".

Kenny Dalglish needs no introduction. King Kenny as he is affectionately known, cannot do wrong in the eyes of the Kop faithful. Magnificient player for Liverpool, he won every honour possible in club football. In July 2009, after almost 10 years away from management, Rafa Benitez approached Dalglish to come back and join the staff in Anfield. Dalglish now acts also as the ambassador for the different events and overseas trips. He is also responsible for youth development and to unearth the next Kop star for Liverpool.
Dalglish is quite clearly no.1 in the list of "100 Players Who Shook The Kop".

After initially dabbling with football management, seven of the victorious 14 players have carved out successful media careers as pundits and football analysts. Highly opinionated and driven individuals, this mindset must have formed the bedrock of a successful period of Liverpool dominance in the 1980s.

This is the second post of a "Where Are They Now?" series. If you like this, then you may also like these.
Chelsea's 1997 FA Cup Winning Side

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