Saturday, March 3, 2007

100 Person Who Shock The Kop - NO 68: Gary Gillespie

At number 68 in our countdown of '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' is towering centre-back of the 1980s Gary Gillespie.
Four years after our ground-breaking '100 Days That Shook The Kop', we are delighted to invite you to enjoy our new '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' series – the definitive countdown of the 100 players who have made the biggest impact at Liverpool.

Over 110,000 supporters have all nominated their own personal Top 10 players in order of impact made and now the definitive top 100 countdown is underway.

Every player who has made the top 100 – and there are some surprises in there - will be honoured on this website via the e-Season ticket console with a specially produced video clip, including archive footage and exclusive interviews.

Since 1892 hundreds of players have represented this club but everyone has their own particular favourites so don't expect this list to be based solely on talent. The greatness of a player can be measured in many ways – obviously, his ability on the pitch is the most important, but 100 PWSTK is much more than that. It's about the impact the individuals chosen have had on this club, be it for a variety of reasons. Maybe it was because of their unique rapport with the crowd, a specific incident that has never been forgotten or anything else that has left a lasting impression.

Name: Gary Gillespie

Years at Liverpool: 1983 to 1991
Position: Defender

Date-of-birth: 5/7/1960
Birthplace: Bonnybridge, Scotland

Signed from: Coventry City (July 1983)

Games: 212
Goals: 16

Honours: First Division Championship (1985/86, 1987/88, 1989/90), Screensport Super Cup (1986), Charity Shield (1988)

Gary Gillespie was an outstanding cultured defender who enjoyed a highly successful Liverpool career despite the presence of fellow centre-halves Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson. A Scotland international, he first achieved fame as a 17-year old at Falkirk when he became the youngest player to ever captain a professional team in world football and a move to Coventry City, then an established top-flight outfit, soon followed. The six-foot plus Scot continued to develop impressively and his progress was noted by a number of leading clubs. During the summer of 1983 new Liverpool boss Joe Fagan won the chase for his signature when he shelled out £325,000 to bring him to Anfield but Gillespie had to bide his time in the reserves. Sporadic first team appearances during the 1984/85 season culminated in him coming on as a substitute in the ill-fated European Cup Final against Juventus but with the distinguished duo of Hansen and Lawrenson in such fine form it was not until the latter part 1985/86 double-winning season that he firmly established himself in the Reds first team. A much-celebrated hat-trick against Birmingham in April that campaign proved crucial in Liverpool's push for the title but Gillespie then suffered the misfortune of falling ill on the eve of the FA Cup Final and had to watch from the sidelines as Everton were defeated at Wembley. He was a vital member of another two championship-winning sides in 1988 and 1990 but suddenly found himself out of favour at Anfield following the appointment of Graeme Souness as manager and was surprisingly shipped out to his boyhood favourites Celtic in August 1991 for a fee of £925,000. Gillespie may have left Liverpool against his will but whenever the glory days of the late-80s are recalled his name is one that will always be fondly remembered.

Sold to: Celtic (August 1991)

Claim to fame: Scoring a hat-trick v Birmingham

Did you know? He was Joe Fagan's first buy as Liverpool manager

Where is he now? Still lives on Merseyside working as a media pundit

Kenny Dalglish on Gary Gillespie: "Excellent for us at right full-back or centre-back and I think if he'd have had a wee bit of luck with injuries his career would have been much more positive. But even at that he had a very successful career at Liverpool."

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