Sunday, May 20, 2007

100 Person Who Shock The Kop - NO 32: Gary McCallister


At number 32 in our '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' countdown is the veteran midfieler who inspired Liverpool's unprecedented cup treble success of 2001, Gary McAllister.
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 McAllister

Years at Liverpool: 2000 to 2002
Position: Midfield

Date-of-birth: 25/12/1964
Birthplace: Motherwell

Signed from: Coventry City (July 2000)

Games: 87
Goals: 10

Honours: FA Cup (2001), UEFA Cup (2001), League Cup (2001), Super Cup (2001), Charity Shield (2001)

Undoubtedly one of the most inspirational signings former boss Gerard Houllier made during his time in the Anfield hot-seat, Gary McAllister may have only been a Liverpool player for two years but in that short space of time he did more enough to earn his now legendary status. Eyebrows were initially raised when Houllier captured the veteran midfield schemer on a free transfer during the summer of 2000. The experienced Scottish international, who began his career with Motherwell, had originally been a transfer target of the Reds during the managerial reign of Kenny Dalglish but when McAllister left his native Scotland it was to join Leicester City. Successful spells at Leeds and Coventry then followed before he was deemed surplus to requirements at Highfield Road and allowed to leave on a Bosman. He was 35 at the time but Liverpool shrewdly stepped in. McAllister quickly won the affection of the Kop and proved the doubters wrong when he turned in a virtuoso performance in a pre-season friendly win over Italian outfit Parma. On his full competitive debut a few weeks later he was controversially sent-off against Arsenal at Highbury but that failed to cloud judgement of a player who was hell-bent on making the most of his final shot at the big time. His intelligent midfield play was quite simply a joy to watch, while his ability to get forward and score goals proved an added bonus. In February 2001 he was rewarded with a one-year extension to his contract and during an unforgettable climax to the season McAllister achieved cult-hero status among Liverpudlians with a succession of vital goals as an unprecedented cup treble and much-coveted place in the Champions League were secured. The moment for which he will always be remembered in the red half of Merseyside occurred on Easter Monday 2001. 94 minutes were on the clock, Liverpool had a free-kick and from 44-yards out he struck a superb free-kick into the net to clinch a crucial victory. Three days later McAllister was the hero again when his cool penalty secured a 1-0 win over Barcelona that clinched a place in the final of the UEFA Cup. He then went on to make vital contributions in both the FA and UEFA Cup Finals; coming off the bench in Cardiff to set up the equalising goal against Arsenal and producing a man-of-the-match display as Alaves were sensationally beaten in Dortmund, scoring a penalty, setting-up three other goals and delivering the free-kick that led to the golden goal winner. His medal collection was boosted further before the year was out as he helped Liverpool to success in the Charity Shield and Super Cup, while his services to football were recognised on a national scale in December 2001 when he was awarded the MBE. The following season saw McAllister's role in the first team reduced but he continued to exert a positive influence around the club and acted as an exemplary role model for the younger players. His Liverpool career drew to an emotional conclusion on the final day of the 2001/2002 season when he came off the bench to a rapturous reception in the 5-0 win over Ipswich. At the end of the game the players embarked on their usual lap of honour but the biggest cheers were reserved for Gary Mac – a true Kop hero who will never be forgotten.

Sold to: Coventry City (as player/manager 2002)

Claim to fame: Scoring THAT free-kick at Goodison

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