“I don’t think I…or anyone else involved in the club, will ever forget what he did for us. He meant so much to us all, really.”
Jamie Carragher has paid tribute to his former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier in a heartfelt tribute to Sky Sports News earlier today. Houllier, who managed Liverpool from 1998 to 2004, led Liverpool to the ‘cup treble’ in 2001, winning the League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup that season.
Carragher was speaking after the passing of Gerard Houllier earlier today. While people outside Anfield may have underestimated the Frenchman’s impact, the former Liverpool defender was in no doubt about the legacy Houllier left behind.
Jamie Carragher on Gerard Houllier.
“He was a great man. It wasn’t just the manager, the job he did for Liverpool and other clubs. The influence he had on what the French did in the 1998 World Cup win, but what he did for me, Stevie (Gerrard), Michael Owen, Danny Murphy, when he first came in. I don’t think I…or anyone else involved in the club, will ever forget what he did for us. He meant so much to us all, really.”
“At such a young age you’re like a sponge for information. You really look up to your manager. And, in that spell he had, for those five or six years at Liverpool, I absolutely adore that man and I’m devastated.”
Carragher remembers fondly how he stayed in touch with his former boss. He also revealed there were plans in place for a 20 year reunion with the 2001 treble winning side.
“We always kept in touch. We were arranging something for the summer, to coincide with 20 years since the 2001 treble, when we had that great season which really in some ways put Liverpool back on the map of winning trophies. We’d had a tough 10 years in the 1990s, so it wasn’t easy. He was the man who got us back there winning trophies.”
"I absolutely adore that man and I'm devastated"
Gerard Houllier had a transformative impact on Liverpool, changing the culture at the club and restoring success, says his former player @Carra23
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 14, 2020
Carragher on how hard it was to win trophies in that era.
“Obviously, we know what happened to him on the bench. One day at Anfield he had problems with his heart then and that was down to the absolute work ethic of the man to try to get Liverpool back where he wanted them, to the very top. He was an absolute legend in my eyes.
“Liverpool have just won the league with Jurgen Klopp but there were a lot of trophies won under Gerard Houllier and Rafa Benitez in the 2000s. That was almost the rebirth of the club. Getting the club back on the footing of challenging in Europe and playing in European finals, and winning trophies as well.
“I always feel it was underestimated the job he did at Liverpool. A lot of that team who won the Champions League in 2005 under Rafa Benitez, a lot of those players were the nucleus of Gerard’s team. I think the job he did was testament to where the club is today in terms of that team he created in the early 2000s and the success we had in that decade from 2001 to 2009 under Gerard and Rafa after that.”
Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson.
Carragher spoke about how hard it was to win Premier League titles between 1998-2004 with both Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson at the peak of their powers. Houllier, throughout that era, did bring a lot of success back to Anfield.
“He was so close to bringing the title back. You can’t forget that era. It was Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson at their clubs, absolutely legendary managers. So it was always going to be tough for any manager in that era. But, to actually win what we won in those five or six years, with the competition we were up against and beating both of those sides in cup finals to get silverware. We were really close in the Champions League one season as well.
“I think what he did for the club at that time and getting it back to where it belongs. Competing in Europe and the Champions League and winning trophies again and making us competitive. Obviously Rafa came in and carried that on. I always felt he was massively underestimated outside of the club, but certainly not by the players within it.”
Danny Murphy on Gerard Houllier.
Carragher’s teammate Danny Murphy was on Talksport earlier today when he found out the news. He paid an emotional tribute. When asked how much Houiller meant to the former Liverpool midfielder, Murphy said: “A lot.”
“I would go through a brick wall for him.”
“I’ve got so much to thank him for.”
Danny Murphy was in the studio when he found out Gérard Houllier had sadly died.
This is his beautiful tribute to him ? pic.twitter.com/DiAzzEQhqk
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) December 14, 2020
Murphy continued: “He’d want me to talk, that’s the type of man he was. He always wanted you to be the best you and try and overcome fears. He changed my career. He made me see football differently, the way I looked after myself, the way I conducted myself. He was an intelligent man, warm, charismatic…and for someone who couldn’t kick a ball straight, he knew his football.
“Sometimes he’d join in training and the lads would laugh when he’d try to ping a ball, because he couldn’t. But, in terms of tactics, of captivating a room and inspiring people, he was brilliant. He was a great guy. I’ve spoken to him a lot over the last few months, and the warmth he always gave me as a player, I still felt when I spoke to him. It’s a sad loss. I feel for his family, he’s got a lovely family, and I’ve got so much to thank him for.”
Murphy on Houllier’s resilience.
Murphy continued: “He’d be grateful for the years he’s had since he died the first time, on the operating table.
“We played Leeds and he had a massive heart attack. But, they brought him back and it was remarkable what he went through and what he went on to do and achieve afterwards, considering.
“I remember he was barely able to speak properly, not really with it. He still called me up after we beat Manchester United and I scored, just to say well done and congratulate me. He then called me up a few weeks after that when I had a bad game, to tell me to keep going. He could barely muster a few sentences, but that’s the type of guy he was.”
❌ “I was injured for the final.”
? “You only got a medal if you played.”
? “Gérard took his medal off and gave it straight to me. I couldn’t believe it.”
Danny Murphy tells a brilliant story about Gérard Houllier’s time as Liverpool boss. pic.twitter.com/0HJ1omF25O
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) December 14, 2020
Alex Ferguson tribute.
Alex Ferguson paid his own tribute to his former rival saying: “Gerard became a really good friend during his time at Liverpool. We remained great friends after he left and he was always a great ally to have.”
“It is a sad day for the football world and my thoughts are with his family at this desperately sad time.”