Published on March 21st, 2018 | by Chimdi Ike
Review: Kenny – a fitting tribute to Liverpool’s ‘King’
Kenny is a retrospective look into the career of the Liverpool player, manager and Anfield legend Kenny Dalglish.
Directed by Stewart Sugg, the 86-minute documentary explore the extreme highs of Dalglish’s career, including winning six league titles, and the tragic lows of experiencing three of football’s most devastating tragedies.
The film examines how the Scot has struggled to make peace with the disasters he witnessed between 1971 and 1989 at Ibrox, Heysel and Hillsborough. The last of those claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans, and Dalglish – as the club’s manager – attended most of their funerals.
The film is a well put-together compilation of interviews, clips from Dalglish’s playing days, re-enactments and comments from former team-mates, world football figures and family.
They come together to form an all-round insight into Dalglish as a player, a manager (and a player-manager at one point), family man and leader.
Liverpool’s greatest signing?
Dalglish joined Liverpool from Celtic in 1977 for a then British record fee of £440,000 and helped the team achieve an era of dominance, both as a player as well as manager.
Former team-mates Alan Hansen and John Barnes sit with Dalglish together on a round table to shed light on those glory days. Dalglish also talks with former attacking partner Ian Rush.
‘He could see things before anyone else’ — Ian Rush
“He could see things before anyone else. He made things easy for me,” says Rush, talking about their deadly partnership upfront. “For me, he’s the best player in Liverpool’s history. He’s the king, without a doubt.”
Sir Alex Ferguson – not always the best of friends with his fellow Glaswegian – even makes a cameo, describing how Dalglish asked him for advice before becoming player-manager in 1985.
At 34, Dalglish was given the task of managing the team as well as playing, a task he couldn’t turn down, especially as his club needed uplifting after the 1985 Heysel disaster.
“I thought it was going to be difficult but I thought if they had belief in me, the most I could do is try to see if I had any believe in myself,” he said.
He would then go on the mark an incredible season with Liverpool winning a League and FA Cup double. Hansen said it was “probably his greatest achievement”.
The documentary really puts into perspective the sheer genius Dalglish possessed as a player and a manager.
Sadly, the second part of the narrative shines light on Dalglish’s struggle with the impact of experiencing three colossal football disasters, with Hillsborough being the one that really broke him.
‘He was falling apart after Hillsborough’ – Marina Dalglish
“I don’t want to go back, I don’t want those memories to come back to the forefront of my mind. People might say you are running away from it, if I am, I am.
“But at the end of the day it still won’t get me back,” he says as he parks his car atop a hill in Sheffield and walks over the end of the road which overlooks the ground of Hillsborough.
It’s the closest he can bring himself to going back to the scene of the tragedy.
Marina, his wife, speaks about how the event affected her husband’s well-being. “He was falling apart after Hillsborough,” she says.
These effects lead to the early resignation of Dalglish as manager of Liverpool as his struggles proved too much for him to cope with while also making the right calls and leading his team.
The documentary ends with the same flashback footage it started with of Dalglish sitting at a press conference announcing his resignation as Liverpool manager in 1991.
Kenny is extremely well made and I can say, even as an Arsenal supporter, that it is a great watch for any football fan.