Ex-Liverpool boss Houllier dies aged 73


Gerard Houllier celebrates Liverpool's cup treble in 2001 on an open-top bus parade with Steven Gerrard and Sami Hyypia
Gerard Houllier celebrates Liverpool’s cup treble in 2001 on an open-top bus parade with Steven Gerrard and Sami Hyypia

Former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier has died at the age of 73.

The Frenchman managed the Reds from 1998-2004 and led them to five major trophies, including the FA Cup, League Cup and Uefa Cup treble in 2000-01.

Prior to Liverpool, Houllier managed Lens, Paris St-Germain and the French national team, and after leaving the Reds won two Ligue 1 titles at Lyon.

His last managerial job was at Aston Villa, but he left in 2011 after nine months, following heart problems.

In a statement, Liverpool said they were “deeply saddened” by Houllier’s death.

“We are mourning the passing of our treble-winning manager, Gerard Houllier,” the club said.

“The thoughts of everyone at Liverpool Football Club are with Gerard’s family and many friends.”

Aston Villa said: “All at Aston Villa are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Gerard Houllier, our manager during the 2010-11 season.

“Our thoughts are with Gerard’s loved ones at this incredibly difficult time.”

Houllier made his managerial name with Lens and PSG in the 1980s before taking over the French national side in 1992.

However, after Les Bleus failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup finals – with Houllier blaming a mistake from winger David Ginola for their exit – he resigned from the role.

In 1998, he moved to England and took charge of Liverpool as joint manager alongside Roy Evans.

Evans resigned three months later and Houllier took sole charge, rebuilding the Reds and leading them to the unprecedented treble in the 2000-01 season.

2001: Owen scores two late goals for Liverpool to win FA Cup

In October 2001, he had open heart surgery after suffering from chest pains during a home match against Leeds, but returned to the dugout at Anfield and remained there for another three years before leaving in May 2004.

After leaving Liverpool, he led Lyon to two French titles before joining the French Football Federation in 2007, but he was enticed back into management by Villa in September 2010, signing a three-year deal.

But the following April Houllier was admitted to hospital with chest pains and Gary McAllister stepped in to help steer Villa away from relegation trouble.

He stepped down from the role at the end of the 2010-11 season with concerns that a return to the dugout could cause further health issues.

He has since held the head of football role at Red Bull, and in November became technical director of women’s football clubs Lyon and OL Reign.

Matches 307
Wins 160
Draws 73
Losses 74
Goals scored 516
Goals conceded 298

Football world pays tribute

The world of football was quick to pay tribute to Houllier, with many Premier League teams tweeting their condolences, including Tottenham, West Ham, Manchester United and Liverpool’s Merseyside rivals Everton.

Current and former Liverpool players also paid tribute, with Djibril Cisse, tweeting: “Today I am very sad. Thanks to you, I was able to play in this wonderful @LFC. Many thanks for everything you have done for me.”

Neil Mellor said: “Thank you for believing in me & giving me my professional debut.”

Phil Thompson, Houllier’s assistant manager at Liverpool, said he was “absolutely devastated and heartbroken”.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Houllier’s former co-manager Roy Evans said: “The passing of Gerard Houllier is a real sad day for all Liverpool fans.

On the difficulty of trying to work as joint managers he added: “It was more or less impossible, you have got two people trying to do one job. Football is all about opinions and different things and that is why I walked away at the time.

“But I never held that against Gerard, he came to do a job and he did a good one.

“The last time I saw him was about 12 months ago in Ireland and we had a good chat. It is another Liverpool legend who has passed away.”

Gerard Houllier sits alongside Roy Evans
Houllier’s first game in charge of the Reds came alongside Evans in a 2-1 win at Southampton, although the partnership only lasted a further 17 games before Evans resigned

England women manager Phil Neville said Houllier was an “absolute gentleman”.

“When I became a coach [he] was a great support who came to see me before every game at the 2019 Women’s World Cup to wish me all the best and to talk about the game he loved,” Neville said on Instagramexternal-link

Former England full-back Ashley Young, now at Inter Milan, played under Houllier at Aston Villa.

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