Graeme Souness...Love Or Hate Him
Full Name Graeme James Souness
Date of Birth 6th May 1953
Pace of Birth Glasgow
Clubs (Player) Tottenham Hotspur, Montreal Olympique, Middlesbrough, Liverpool, Sampdoria & Glasgow Rangers
Clubs (Manager) Glasgow Rangers, Liverpool, Galatasaray, Southampton, Torino, Benfica, Blackburn Rovers (2000-2004) & Newcastle United
Honours As Blackburn Manager 2000-2001 Division One Runners up (Now Championship) Gained Promotion, 2001-2002 League Cup Winners, 2002-2003 League Cup Runner up
We all know that Mark Hughes has done quite a fine job since taking the reigns as Rovers boss. But reflecting on the job that he has done got me thinking about past managers, one in particular as you will probably have guessed by the title…Graeme Souness.
Don't get me wrong, back in his playing days he was a fine footballer, but as a manager, I can't say that I have ever really rated him. Back in his footballing prime he achieved far more than many players ever will, playing in England, Italy and Scotland. He is best known for his achievements as a player at Liverpool, winning pretty much everything, some trophies more than once.
As for his managerial career to date, this has not really mirrored his success as a player. Okay, he won many titles in Scotland and a couple in Turkey, but as of managing in England he is not quite as successful. He has achieved more than some managers, but I don't think this makes him a class one, baring in mind the fact that his managerial career has spanned two decades.
He won eight titles in Scotland with Glasgow Rangers, but I along with the many people including Scottish think it is fair to say that he was managing one of the best, if not the best Scottish teams and there are not many teams that have provided regular competition for them over the years.
With Liverpool he won the 1991-1992 FA Cup and got us promoted in his first season as runners up from the First Division to Premier League in 2000-2001. Some feel that Rovers should have been promoted as champions, not content with being runners up. He also won the League Cup with us in 2001-2002 which is a fair enough achievement as we had never won it.
I guess you could say his time with us was fairly good until the end as he achieved this and finished a fair 10th in the Premier League in our first year back in 2001-2002. The following season saw us runners up in the League Cup Final to Tottenham and 2002-2003 would also see us finish in 6th place and getting into Europe.
Things would change in 2003-2004 as Souness would guide us to only 15th place and his slide at Rovers saw his job becoming strained and maybe on his way out until 2004 saw him depart in a surprise move to Newcastle United.
His reign at Newcastle taking into account the standards expected would prove to be a flop, seeing him voted by their fans as the worst manager they had ever had. His time at St James' Park from 2004-2006 saw him spend roughly £50 million, yet as a return when he finally got sacked in February of 2006, he left Newcastle sitting poorly in 15th place, turning a team that was pushing for a place in the Champions League into relegation battlers.
The problem I had with Souness the most was his relationship with the players. No doubt some people liked him and his methods, but it is known that if you get on the wrong side of him, you will either be warming the bench or heading out the door. This was the case at Newcastle as well as Blackburn. Laurent Robert would eventually leave Newcastle for a short, yet unsuccessful loan spell at Portsmouth with Craig Bellamy doing the same and going to Celtic.
This obviously worked in our favour as after a successful spell at Celtic, we captured Bellamy who brought us success firing the goals that got us into Europe and when sold to Liverpool netted us a profit.
We had the same problem with key players such as Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole and David Dunn. They got on his wrong side and they were soon shipped out. Yorke and Cole had continued their successful partnership at Ewood, which they had at Manchester United and their goals were to be missed when they departed. David Dunn, who Hughes is rumoured to want to bring back again once the transfer window re-opens, was also missed as he provided a lot of creativity in midfield. Dunn himself has virtually confessed that he wants to return.
It would be Dunn's rumoured return and also the thoughts about the job that Hughes has performed at Rovers that would get me to thinking about Graeme Souness in the first place.
What does the future hold for Graeme Souness? Earlier in the summer he was linked with the vacant job at Crystal Palace, but would be unsuccessful in landing the post. Whether or not he will be offered another managerial job remains to be seen; maybe he will just be content with his work on Sky Sports.
Overall you could argue as a manager he was not all bad, especially for us, but he never won me over. As for what you think, why not have your say...
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