Kenny Dalglish dedicated his knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours to Jock Stein, Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley, three iconic British football managers who died without receiving such recognition.
In typically self-effacing style, Scotland’s most capped player sought to give the credit to those who helped him during his remarkable career.
Dalglish, 67, admitted it “doesn’t feel right” receiving the personal accolade and is keen for the work which brought the recognition – rather than the recognition itself – to be the focus of attention.
And what a body of work it is. From honours on the pitch – including winning three European Cups as a player – and lifting league titles with two different clubs as manager to off-field heroics in the wake of the Hillsborough Disaster and his charity work with wife Marina which has raised more than £10 million for cancer care.
Dalglish said he was “hugely grateful” for the award and immediately dedicated it to Stein, Shankly and Paisley.
“Obviously it was for others with more education and knowledge than myself to decide whether or not I deserved a knighthood and it goes without saying that I am hugely grateful to them for the decision that they have made,” Dalglish said.
“All I can say is that from my own point of view I am definitely no more deserving of an accolade like this than Jock Stein, Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley were. I am just fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time and I would like to dedicate this honour to them because without the standards that they set at Glasgow Celtic and Liverpool, individuals like myself would not have been able to thrive as much as we did.”
Dalglish played under Stein and Paisley at Celtic and Liverpool, respectively, becoming the most decorated Scottish player and going on to play at three World Cups. Fellow Scot Shankly is credited with building the modern Liverpool where Dalglish became a revered figure as player and manager.
“The most important thing to stress is that this honour is not a reflection of myself,” Dalglish added. “It is a reflection of everyone who has played a part in my life and my career.
“Nobody achieves anything alone, especially in football, and in my case any success I have enjoyed has been due to the contributions made by my family, the players, coaches and managers that I was fortunate enough to work with and the supporters who backed me. At Milton Bank Primary, High Possil Secondary, Glasgow Boys, Cumbernauld United, Celtic, Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United I was fortunate to be supported and accompanied by individuals who gave me a chance to do my job to the best of my ability, whether as a player or a manager.”