Tributes pour in as former Liverpool, Villa boss Gerard Houllier dies

Date published: Monday 14th December 2020 10:45 - Samuel Bannister

Former Liverpool and Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier has died at the age of 73.

The news was announced by RMC Sport on Monday morning. Houllier passed away in Paris overnight.

The Frenchman spent six years in charge of Liverpool, between 1998 and 2004. Initially, he worked alongside Roy Evans, before becoming the sole manager of the club.

During his time in charge, he won six trophies with the club.

Houllier masterminded Liverpool’s treble in 2001, which saw them win the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup. They then went on to win the UEFA Super Cup and FA Charity Shield in the same year.

He fell ill later in 2001, being rushed to hospital at half-time of a Premier League game against Leeds United, where it was discovered he had a heart condition.

However, Houllier wasable to return to management five months later. Unfortunately, Liverpool struggled to replicate their previous success under him.

Houllier left his role as Liverpool manager in 2004, being replaced by Rafael Benitez. The Spaniard went on to win the Champions League with a squad featuring many players that had worked under his predecessor, including Sami Hyypia, John Arne Riise, Dietmar Hamann and Vladimir Smicer, as well as Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher.

Houllier went on to spend two seasons in charge of Lyon back in his native France. He then returned to the Premier League to manage Aston Villa in the 2010-11 season, leading them to a ninth-placed finish.

Once again, he had to step aside from the role due to health problems. However, he had made a significant impact at Villa Park as well.

Houllier was awarded an honorary OBE in 2003 for his services to British football.

He also had spells in charge of Paris Saint-Germain and France earlier in his career, among other jobs in management. He was in charge when PSG won their first league title in 1986.

Tributes pour in for Houllier

Many players and pundits have paid tribute to Houllier since the news of his passing.

Carragher wrote on Twitter: “Absolutely devastated by the news about Gerard Houllier, I was in touch with him only last month to arrange him coming to Liverpool. Loved that man to bits, he changed me as a person & as a player & got Liverpool back winning trophies. RIP Boss.

Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen tweeted: “Absolutely heartbroken to hear that my old boss, Gérard Houllier, has sadly passed away. A great manager and a genuinely caring man. #RIPBoss.”

Ex-Reds midfielder Danny Murphy told talkSPORT: “He put in place what was needed for Liverpool to be where they are now.

“I can’t even put into words the impact he made on my career. I’m the person I am now because of him.”

Ian Rush, who left Liverpool two years before Houllier’s appointment, tweeted: Devastated at the passing of Gérard Houllier. A true gentleman of the game, always put others first.”

Current Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson said: “A great man and a great manager. Liverpool will be forever grateful. Gerard Houllier – Repose en paix.”

Gary Lineker wrote: “Oh no! Gerard Houllier has passed away. One of football’s smartest, warmest and loveliest people. #RIPGerard.”

Former Aston Villa player Ashley Young tweeted: “RIP Gerard, thank you for improving me. Condolences to your family. Great man, not just manager.”

Other Premier League clubs also shared their sympathies with those close to Houllier.

 

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