Danny Murphy recalls Gerard Houllier’s ‘touch of class’ after ex-Liverpool midfielder missed 2001 League Cup final as former boss dies aged 73 December 14, 2020 – Posted in: Soccer
Danny Murphy revealed a touching story about Gerard Houllier on talkSPORT as the former Liverpool midfielder paid an emotional tribute to the late Frenchman on Monday.
It was announced earlier in the day that Houllier had passed away at the age of 73 after a long period struggling with ill health.
Tributes have poured in far and wide for the hugely-respected coach, who had undergone heart surgery just three weeks prior to his death.
Murphy had a very close bond with Houllier during a successful stint at his boyhood club and was visibly emotional when discussing his untimely passing on air.
The former Fulham skipper recalled a story displaying Houllier’s unselfish nature after Liverpool edged past Birmingham on penalties at the Millennium Stadium to win the League Cup in February 2001.
Houllier led Liverpool to five major trophies, including the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup in a stunning treble success in the 2000/01 campaign.
The first of those accolades came against the Blues, but Murphy was unavailable to participate in the final due to a knee issue.
Murphy joined in with the celebrations after the game, but wasn’t awarded a medal owing to his absence from the showpiece – until Houllier took matters into his own hands.
He explained: “This sums up Houllier. The first trophy we won, I played every round in the League Cup and scored two in the semi-final at home – and then I did my medial [collateral] ligament.
“I only tweaked it but I couldn’t play in the final. And back then there were only medals for the lads who got stripped. We won on penalties, luckily really.
“We shouldn’t have won but we did and you’re celebrating without really being too involved because you haven’t played.
“I didn’t get a medal and I thought, ‘you know what it’s not the end of the world, I’m not that big on medals anyway’.
“He [Houllier] said, ‘you haven’t got a medal haven’t you?’ And I said, ‘No.’ So he took his off and gave me his. There and then.
“Now he [could have] done that as an afterthought a day or two later, but to actually acknowledge it there and then – he had that touch of class.
“I couldn’t believe it. I said thank you – it didn’t mean much to him but it was more of a case of him wanting me to have a reward for my contributions.”