Motherwell-born football legend Gary McAllister has been reminiscing about his incredible trophy laden spell as a veteran player for Liverpool between 2000 and 2002, writes Craig Goldthorp.
Current Rangers assistant manager McAllister (54) was speaking on Monday, when he was inducted into the North Lanarkshire Sporting Hall of Fame at Motherwell’s Ravenscraig Sports Facility.
In what seems unbelievable now, the 57-times capped ex-Scotland midfielder landed five trophies with the Merseyside giants in the supposed twilight of his career, after joining on a shock Bosman free transfer in July 2000 after leaving Coventry City.
McAllister told the Times and Speaker: “In my last season at Coventry as a player I scored 13 or 14 goals. My agent was Steven Gerrard’s agent, Jamie Carragher’s agent, Emile Heskey’s agent, Nick Barmby’s agent (all Liverpool players at that time).
“So I had a little bit of an ‘in’ at Liverpool!
“But it was still a surprise when Gerard Houllier (then Liverpool manager) came calling.
“But he was looking for a specific type of player, a player with a different type of profile to what he would normally look for.
“He was looking for an experienced player who had been there, seen it and done it.
“And when Liverpool come calling I was willing to go there for nothing.
“But it turned out better than your wildest dreams. I couldn’t believe it.
“It’s fairytale stuff to win five trophies and to win a treble, League Cup, FA Cup, UEFA Cup, Super Cup, Charity Shield.
“And then at the end of it I went to Buckingham Palace and got an MBE so it was actually quite a good year!”
McAllister said he had a fantastic grounding at Motherwell FC (his first professional club between 1981 and ’85) and also owed a lot to Keir Hardie and Braidhurst Schools and Fir Park Boys Club.
He added: “There was always somebody along the way that was willing to help.
“When I turned pro I had Davie Hay, Jock Wallace and Tommy McLean at Motherwell.
“So I had some fantastic managers when I was a young player. And each and every one of them gave me things to remember which stayed with me until I finished at close to 40.
“I’m very proud of my roots. I’m from literally just around the corner.
“My dad worked here at Ravenscraig; the strip mill’s just there.
“I’m very aware that a lot of Scottish international footballers come from Lanarkshire.
“And I don’t see a reason why we shouldn’t keep producing quality sportspeople.”
Boxer Walter McGowan, bowler Caroline Brown and swimmer Nancy Anderson Long Riach were also inducted – we’ll feature them in the coming weeks.