Graeme Souness opens up on Liverpool regrets in Monday Night Football appearance

Former Liverpool manager's emotional account about his regrets as manager at Anfield

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Graeme Souness spoke candidly to MNF about his time in charge of Liverpool between 1991 and 1994

Graeme Souness spoke candidly about his Liverpool regrets during his appearance on Monday Night Football.

Souness won five league titles and three European Cups as a player with Liverpool, and then managed them between 1991 and 1994.

Despite winning the FA Cup in 1992, Liverpool's dominance of English football was fading, and the Sky Sports pundit admits he tried to change the culture of the club too fast.

Souness' Liverpool playing honours

  • 5 League titles
  • 3 European Cups
  • 3 League Cups

In a must-read account of his time at Anfield, Souness opens up about his biggest regrets, and why certain perceptions of him still hurt him badly.

"I wish I could turn the clock back, but I can't."

That was a job that I was always going to be offered and I took it at the wrong time. There is no doubt about it.

I got the Liverpool job when I was 38. I had five years at Rangers that had gone really well, I had tremendous support from David Holmes and then David Murray, and I was running the show there and it went very well.

Liverpool manager Graeme Souness (C) with backroom staff Phil Boersma (L) and Ronnie Moran (R) in the Anfield dug out during a match circa 1991
Image: Souness (C) with backroom staff Phil Boersma (L) and Ronnie Moran (R)

I was offered the Liverpool job twice and said no twice, and then ultimately said yes. I thought I would go in there and change it. The one thing I learnt going to Italy was there's no real change in how the game should be played, but how players look after themselves. I was one of the chaps when it came to enjoying myself, and I tried to change that, and it was very easy when I went to Rangers to change that because that was a team that hadn't won the league in nine years.

Also See:

Souness' managerial highlights at Anfield

  • Won the 1992 FA Cup
  • Brought through Steve McManaman
  • Gave professional contract to Robbie Fowler

I was saying 'this is what we are going to do and this is what we will do after the game'. At Rangers they bought into it because they were young boys, so then when I go to Liverpool and say I don't want to see fish and chips after the game and I don't want to see lager under the seats on the bus for the way back, the response you would get would be 'we have always done that'. It was very hard for me to argue that because I had been part of that culture.

I made many mistakes and my biggest crime was trying to make the changes too quickly.

There are things that happened there when I was manager which I deeply regret but I can't turn back the clock, how I wish I could, but I can't, and that hurts me badly, that I am perceived by some people to be something I'm not.
Graeme Souness

One of the biggest mistakes I made was, Peter Robinson, who ran the show at Liverpool and was the chief executive and made all the decisions, said to me 'do you want to do the contracts'? I had done the contracts at Rangers so I said 'yeah, I'll do those'. I felt that was a monster mistake.

I remember one incident where we signed Dean Saunders and Mark Wright and they had gone on to earn slightly more than Rushy [Ian Rush] and Ronnie Whelan. I remember Rushy knocking on the door and saying 'you're going to have to give me more money' and I said' I understand why you are saying that, but the money is sneaking up and sneaking up, they have come on big transfer fees and that's why they are getting paid more than you'. But he said 'everything I done for this club…'

'I don't have a defence'

Souness' relationship with Liverpool's fans soured after he gave an interview to the Sun on the third anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. “I know I made mistakes. I will regret the decision forever. I don’t have a defence,” he would later admit.

That might have been a Wednesday or Thursday and I was saying to Rushy 'sorry I can't, that's the way it is' and then on Saturday at 2.45pm I have to put my arm around him and say 'make sure you give me everything now'.

That was an obvious mistake I made in agreeing to do that.

Graeme Souness (L), Kenny Dalglish (C) and Alan Hansen (R) hold up the European Cup after beating Real Madrid in the 1981 European Cup final.
Image: Souness won three European Cups and five league titles as a player with Liverpool

Liverpool will always be the place I look back in terms of the place where I enjoyed playing, it was just unique. The dressing room - if you are winning every week it's very easy to have a great dressing room - but we went through hiccups and had a real bond. Liverpool will always be a very special place to me.

There are things that happened there when I was manager which I deeply regret but I can't turn back the clock, how I wish I could, but I can't, and that hurts me badly, that I am perceived by some people to be something I'm not.

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