Alan Kennedy


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A great attacking left-back who had the knack of scoring vital goals for Liverpool that brought further glory to the club. He's Liverpool's history in the early 80's embodied. Who can forget when he scored the winning goal in Paris against Real Madrid in the 1981 European Cup final and everyone will remember the look on his face when he celebrated the deciding spot-kick in Rome 1984. Kennedy was a 19-year-old full-back for Newcastle United on the day that Liverpool destroyed his FA 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 FA 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. Kennedy was an England B-international and now the most expensive full-back in England. Bob Paisley was quite pleased with his new signing who he captured two days before the European deadline of 15 August 1978: "He will be a first-class capture. He is fast, likes to move up to attack and should fit into our side very quickly. There would be seven men challenging for the back four positions - Hughes, Thompson, Hansen, Neal, Jones, Kennedy and Irwin. I wanted Kennedy because I wanted more competition for places." Paisley added: 'If this lad doesn‘t play for England I‘ll throw myself in the Mersey...when the tide is out.' 

The left-back position had been a bit of a 'problem-area' for Liverpool in 1977/78 with Joey Jones, Tommy Smith and Alan Hansen all wearing the No. 3 shirt at some stage of that season. Kennedy came across Bill Shankly of all people before his debut as he told "Shankly looked at me: 'Hi ya, son. How you‘re doing?' 'I am alright, Mr. Shankly. I am a little bit nervous.' He went into his pocket and pulled out... and I don‘t know what he had given me, but he gave me a couple of tablets. I thought, 'What has he given me here?', but it‘s Mr. Shankly and whatever he says is right. All of a sudden my mind was going back to the World Cup of ´78 where there was a Scottish player who had taken some kind of drug, Willie Johnston, and so in the end... He might have given me drugs like. I better have a little look. When I brought them out there were two sweets there and that's all they were, just two sweets. I thought if Mr. Shankly had given me them they must do me good so I ate the sweets. I felt great now. I didn't really. It's like somebody telling you to eat a steak before a game, it makes you feel good. It doesn't make you feel good. It makes you feel terrible. It just made me more relaxed." Kennedy's first game was against Queens Park Rangers and even though Liverpool won 2-1 he didn't have an ideal debut. "Early on I miskicked with my right foot - the one I use for standing on - and knocked a policeman's helmet off. I also conceded a couple of corners and made a few errors. I just wanted half-time to come to get some reassurance from the manager but when I got back to the dressing room, Bob said to me, 'I think that they shot the wrong Kennedy!'

Kennedy eventually adapted to the side and played 37 League games in each of his first two seasons at Anfield, winning League Championship medals on both occasions. He missed large parts of the 1980/81 season through injury but still contributed two priceless goals 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. On an unforgettable night in Paris his blistering shot fizzed past the Real Madrid keeper in a blur to bring the European Cup to Anfield for the third time in five 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. This was no doubt the biggest moment of Kennedy's career, one which he was happy to share with "To this day I've got no idea why Fagan gave me the opportunity to take a penalty. He may have panicked. He may have looked at the rest of the team and thought, 'Why not Ronnie Whelan, Michael Robinson' or whoever was still on the pitch at the time?", Kennedy recollects. "And then to say: 'Alan, how are you feeling?' And I said: 'I'm fine', because I hadn't been picked. He said: 'OK' and then he walks off. Then he pointed to Graeme Souness and Ian Rush. Phil Neal was always going to take one. But the two others, Steve Nicol and me. thought 'no chance'. He picked Steve Nicol, the youngest man of the team and all of a sudden... I didn't realise he had picked me at

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