Kenny Dalglish’s knighthood recognises his greatness as a footballer but also as a human being.
Sir Kenny Dalglish already had many titles and honours – ‘King Kenny’, winner of the Ballon d’Or, Scotland’s greatest footballer, league and cup winners’ medals as both a player and a manager, a stand at Anfield named after him – before receiving his knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
If the former Liverpool, Celtic, Cumbernauld United and Scotland player’s legacy had only been about the beautiful game, he would still have been deserving of the title.
But Sir Kenny’s achievements in life have been about much more. His greatest acts took place off the pitch in the comfort he gave to the grieving relatives of the 96 people who died in the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.
At one stage, Sir Kenny and his wife Marina were attending funerals at a rate of four a day. Others in his position would have understandably sought to avoid so much grief. That he did not demonstrated compassion, bravery and loyalty to the fans who adored him. At a time when the Liverpool FC community most needed him, he was there.
In the recent film, Kenny, Margaret Aspinall, who lost her 18-year-old son James at Hillsborough, says: “He’s the king of Anfield but I don’t see him as that. I see a dear man who we’ve adopted in this city. He’s not going back to
Glasgow – we won’t let him.”
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Liverpool’s genuine love for this son of Glasgow is surely the greatest honour of all.
Away from football, Sir Kenny and Marina also set up The Marina Dalglish Appeal with the charity raising millions of pounds to help those with breast cancer.
And, according to Alan Hansen, he is “a funny guy, one of the great, under-appreciated Scottish comedians”.
His humour has perhaps passed most people by because he chooses to live his life in private, rather than in public.
In media interviews, he can be taciturn at times but, every now and then, there’s a flash of a smile and the eyes twinkle.
Scottish Secretary David Mundell could hardly have put it better: “As Scotland’s most capped footballer and joint leading goalscorer, Kenny Dalglish was rightly crowned ‘king’ by his fans around the world. His glittering achievements in football and dedicated service to communities, including through his unwavering support for the families of the Hillsborough victims and the millions of pounds raised by his family’s cancer charity, mean that ‘King Kenny’ now deservedly becomes a Knight.”
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