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ALAN KENNEDY 1978-86

 

by Chris Wood

 

Date of Birth - 31/08/54

Nationality - English

Position - Left Back

Games - 347 (2)

Goals - 21

Club Hons (Lpool) - European Cup 80/81, 83/84 League Championship 78/79, 79/80, 81/82, 82/83, 83/84 , League Cup 80/81, 81/82, 82/83, 83/84

Intnl Hons - 2 England Caps

Other Clubs - Newcastle, Sunderland, Hartlepool, Beerschot, Wigan, Wrexham

 

Alan had been a 19 year old full-back for Newcastle United on the day that Liverpool destroyed his F.A. cup final hopes in 1974 by outplaying the Geordies 3-0 at Wembley. He didn't know it at the time but although he never would collect a winners' medal in the F.A. cup, he would win more trophies than he could ever have dreamed possible after his transfer from the North-East to Merseyside just before the start of the 1978-79 season.

 

The left-back had been a bit of a 'problem-area' for Liverpool in 1977-78 with Joey Jones, Tommy Smith & Alan Hansen all wearing the No. 3 shirt at some stage of that season. But Alan stepped confidently into their shoes and played 37 League games in each of his first two seasons at Anfield, winning League championship medals on both occasions. Alan missed much of the 1980-81 season through injury but still contributed two priceless goals from full-back to keep the club's run of success going on into the 80's. His extra-time goal narrowly failed to beat West Ham in the League cup final at Wembley but he was a member of the team that beat the Hammers in the Aston Villa replay 18 days later.

 

Then on an unforgettable night in Paris eight weeks after that his blistering cross-shot fizzed past the Real Madrid 'keeper in a blur to bring the European cup to Anfield for the 3rd time in 5 seasons. His astonishing record of scoring in big games continued as he struck a second-half equaliser against Manchester United in the 1983 League cup final and then a year later came the most dramatic moment of all, the decisive penalty-kick in the shoot-out that followed the 1-1 draw with the Italian champions from Rome, who had been given the extremely unfair advantage of playing the European cup final at their own stadium.

 

Kennedy still played in most of the following season's First Division fixtures but by the end of the season his place had been taken by Jim Beglin. He did play in the opening 8 League matches of the 1985-86 season but a comical own-goal in the last of those games (at Oxford) may have been the final straw for the new player-manager, Kenny Dalglish. Alan never played for the club again and Phil Neal, his full-back partner for so long and with whom he had enjoyed so much success, would only last a few more games before he too was replaced (by Steve Nicol).

 

Alan had a brief spell in Belgium and also with Hartlepool and Wrexham in the lower divisions of the Football League before continuing to play non-League football until he had passed his 40th birthday. He was a popular player who made nearly 250 First Division appearances for Liverpool to add to the 150+ he had played at Newcastle and he also reached the remarkable total of exactly 100 cup games for Liverpool, a testimony to the club's domination of the time and the long cup runs which so often ended with success in the final.

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