Graeme Souness: I left Rangers too early when Liverpool came calling

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Graeme Souness has admitted he left Rangers too early as he said in an interview that he won’t make a return to football management.

Souness, who managed eight teams in five countries in a 20-year managerial career, was speaking to GQ Magazine to support the release of his new book, Football: My Life, My Passion.

As his new book is released, Graeme Souness has admitted he left Rangers too early. Picture: SNS Group

As his new book is released, Graeme Souness has admitted he left Rangers too early. Picture: SNS Group

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And the former Rangers manager said that, while he still gets a ‘real buzz’ out of going into a stadium, nothing could convince him to make a return to management in the future.

The last club Souness took charge of was Newcastle United, which he described as ‘the hardest job I ever had’. He revealed that he took the job believing he could make things happen at the club.

But Souness also admitted that he left Rangers too early when Liverpool came calling in 1991.

Souness barks instructions from the touchline during his managerial career. Picture: Getty Images

Souness barks instructions from the touchline during his managerial career. Picture: Getty Images

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“You don’t get a job at a football club if everything is rosy in the garden,” he said. “I never made easy choices and following Sir Bobby Robson [at Newcastle] wasn’t easy, just as following Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool wasn’t.

But they were my choices and if I could do it all again, I would... although I shouldn’t have taken the job at Liverpool because I should have stayed at Rangers and been more patient, had a few more years there.”

Souness, who had spells managing Blackburn, Galatasaray and Southampton as well as Benfica and Torino, won five league titles and three European Cups as a manager.

At Ibrox, he became the first manager to sign a high-profile Catholic player in Mo Johnston, and during his time as Galatasaray manager, nearly sparked a riot by displaying a banner in front of supporters of bitter rivals Fenerbahce.

But, he concedes, nothing could tempt him back to management. Souness hasn’t been seen on the touchline for more than a decade, and is more accustomed to appearing as a pundit rather than prowling the technical area.

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“I worked out that the winning didn’t compensate for the losing,” he said. “And I realised that my personality is not suited to modern management, where the power is all with the players and the tail wags the dog.

“If you fall out with one [player] in the dressing room, he and his four or five mates collectively have the power to get rid of you because together they’re worth £200 million.”

Bemoaning the fact that people only seem to remember his aggression when recalling his playing days - “I wouldn’t have won what I won if that was all I could do” - Souness states that no player today reminds him of himself, because no one is allowed to play like he did in the modern game.

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Souness was also asked about the comment made by Archie Gemmill, who famously said: “If [Souness] was a chocolate soldier, he would eat himself.”

“He was dead right,” says Souness. “It means I had a high opinion of myself, and he was 100 per cent correct. Without a shadow of a doubt, [all top players have to be arrogant to some degree]. All top players have an edge to them.”