Kenny Dalglish

Why Do People Hate Kenny Dalglish?

Kenny Dalglish is a Scottish former football player and manager who played for and managed Liverpool Football Club during their most successful periods. Despite his successes, Dalglish has also attracted criticism and dislike from some football fans during his career. Here we explore some of the main reasons why certain groups of fans harbor negativity towards Dalglish.

Reasons for Dislike Towards Dalglish

As both a player and manager for Liverpool during the club’s glory years in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s, Dalglish is strongly associated with the club’s success. For fans of rival clubs such as Everton and Manchester United, this connection to a historically successful rival is reason enough to dislike Dalglish.

Liverpool’s period of dominance in the late 1970s and 1980s under Bob Paisley and later Dalglish as player-manager led to resentment among opposition fans. Liverpool won 11 First Division titles between 1973 and 1990, along with 4 European Cups, cementing their status as England’s top club at the time.

This bred jealousy among rival fans, who disliked Liverpool’s players simply for being part of a successful team. As the club’s star striker and later manager, Dalglish bore the brunt of this dislike from opposition supporters during the 1970s and 80s.

Playing Style

As a quick, agile and prolific goal scorer for Liverpool and Scotland, Dalglish’s playing style could frustrate opposing fans. His skill at holding onto the ball, evading tackles and creating goals epitomized Liverpool’s patient, pass-heavy style under Paisley.

Dalglish was excellent at linking up with teammates and scoring from inside the box. This clever, efficient style lacked the flair and showboating that some fans prefer in a striker, leading to dismissal of Dalglish as boring or overrated from some quarters.

While appreciated by Liverpool fans, Dalglish’s restrained style on the pitch failed to win over more neutral football supporters. As Liverpool’s success mounted during his time there, this led to a growth in dislike towards Dalglish the player.

Personality and Perceived Arrogance

Another source of animosity towards Dalglish has been his relatively reserved off-pitch personality and perceived arrogance or aloofness in interviews.

Unlike more outgoing football personalities, Dalglish has typically avoided controversy and self-promotion during his career. However, his reticence with the media has led some to interpret him as cold or arrogant, fueling a poor public image.

During his time as Liverpool manager in the late 1980s and early 90s, there was a sense that Dalglish carried himself with a degree of arrogance or hubris born of the club’s success. Rivals fans saw his behavior as evidence that Dalglish and Liverpool believed they had a right to win trophies year after year.

Whether justified or not, this perception of Dalglish’s persona stoked resentment from opposition supporters and contributed to his unpopularity among sections of the football world.

Role in Liverpool’s Decline After Hillsborough

After the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 which led to 96 Liverpool fans losing their lives, Dalglish attended many funerals and supported families of the victims. This tragedy took a toll on Dalglish.

In February 1991, soon after a 4-4 FA Cup tie with rivals Everton, Dalglish suddenly resigned as Liverpool manager, citing stress. Many Liverpool fans felt he had abandoned the club at a time when they needed stability.

After Dalglish’s resignation, Liverpool entered a period of decline, failing to win the league title throughout the 1990s and only winning one major trophy that decade. Some blamed Dalglish for ‘jumping ship’ when the going got tough and leaving the club rudderless.

Second Spell as Liverpool Manager

In January 2011, Dalglish returned to Liverpool for a second spell as manager, 20 years after his resignation. His appointment was controversial given the club’s stuttering form since his first stint in charge.

Despite leading Liverpool to their first trophy in 6 years by winning the 2012 League Cup, Dalglish was sacked after finishing 8th in the league. This unsuccessful second spell reinforced the perception of Dalglish as a manager who lived off past successes rather than adapting to the modern game.

For Liverpool fans, his return failed to bring about the success they craved, while for non-Liverpool supporters it was another reason to dislike the overhyped Dalglish.

Do All Football Fans Dislike Dalglish?

No, Kenny Dalglish remains a hugely popular figure among Liverpool fans for his achievements and lasting connection to the club’s successful teams of the 1970s, 80s and early 90s.

He scored 169 goals in 515 appearances and won numerous honors during his time as a player for the club, cementing his status as a Anfield legend.

As player-manager, Dalglish guided Liverpool to three more First Division titles and two FA Cup triumphs after taking over from Joe Fagan in 1985. This extended Liverpool’s period of dominance into the late 80s and earned Dalglish popularity and respect among the club’s supporters.

Many Liverpool fans view Dalglish as an adopted Scouser due to his deep affinity with the club during and after his playing career. His public show of support for families of the Hillsborough victims further strengthened the bond between Dalglish and Liverpool fans.

While disliked by opposition supporters, Dalglish remains a heroic figure for Liverpool fans and many neutral football observers for his achievements in the game.

Has Dalglish Ever Publicly Responded to Criticism from Fans?

Yes, on occasion Dalglish has addressed the animosity directed towards him from some quarters. In 2010, ahead of his return as Liverpool manager, he gave an interview acknowledging he was disliked by fans of rival clubs but stressed he was untouched by it:

“Manchester United fans haven’t been too complimentary about me, but that wouldn’t bother me in the slightest. You know, as Bob Paisley (the former Liverpool manager) said, footballers are privileged people. We’ve had our accolades, made our money out of the game we love.”

This quote sums up Dalglish’s typical response – acknowledging the criticism but ultimately unaffected by opinions that come with being a high-profile football figure like himself.

Friends and colleagues often describe Dalglish as warm in private but shy and defensive in dealing with media attention. This may explain his tendency to brush off negativity from fans and stay focused on his work, rather than engaging directly with his critics.

Could Dalglish Have Done More to Improve His Public Image?

In retrospect, there are perhaps ways Dalglish could have softened the more negative perceptions of him among opposition fans during his career.

He was deeply affected by the Hillsborough tragedy and its aftermath, evidenced by his sudden resignation in 1991. But some felt the stress of the disaster exposed Dalglish’s shortcomings in handling adversity relative to predecessor Bob Paisley.

Restricting access to himself during difficult periods fostered an air of arrogance and preventable hostility from outsiders. While protecting his own privacy, greater openness may have humanized Dalglish more to his critics.

Accepting he was promoted too quickly into management in 1985 and learning under an experienced mentor rather than immediately replacing Joe Fagan may have allowed Dalglish to gain greater overall perspective on connecting with people as a leader.

Nevertheless, the traits leading Dalglish to be disliked by some – such as his reserved persona and intense focus on his work – are likely inherent to who he is. He was never inclined to change his core character to satisfy public perception.


Kenny Dalglish attracted dislike during his career from opposition fans due to his success with Liverpool, his perceived arrogance in handling pressure, and at times failing to meet oversized expectations of him.

Yet he remains universally recognized as a football great, having achieved so much as a player and manager. No figure who reaches the pinnacle of their profession is immune from criticism, and Dalglish has dismissed negativity towards him as an inevitable part of being in the spotlight.

While respectful of opinions, Dalglish stayed true to himself in response to animosity from some quarters. And for the Liverpool faithful, he is still cherished as an undisputed legend whose place in their history is assured.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Related to “Why Do People Hate Kenny Dalglish”

What teams did Kenny Dalglish play for?

Dalglish spent the majority of his playing career with Celtic from 1971-1977, winning 4 Scottish league titles and 4 Scottish Cups. He then played for Liverpool from 1977-1990, winning 6 English league titles, 2 FA Cups, and 3 European Cups.

How many trophies did Dalglish win as Liverpool manager?

As Liverpool manager from 1985-1991, Dalglish won 3 First Division titles, 2 FA Cups, and 4 seasonal trophies (League Cup, FA Charity Shield). He continued Liverpool’s success in the late 80s after becoming player-manager.

What is Dalglish’s connection to Hillsborough and its aftermath?

As Liverpool manager during the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, Dalglish attended many funerals of victims and supported their families. The tragedy deeply affected him and was a factor in his surprise resignation as manager in 1991.

Why did fans dislike Dalglish during his second spell as Liverpool manager?

Dalglish returned as manager in 2011, 20 years after resigning. His appointment was controversial as he had been out of management for a while. Unable to recreate past successes, Dalglish was sacked after one full season, leaving fans disappointed.

How is Dalglish regarded by Liverpool fans today?

He remains a club legend and one of Liverpool’s greatest ever players and managers. While his second managerial spell disappointed, his achievements in the 70s, 80s and early 90s mean he is still adored by the Liverpool faithful.

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