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Gerard Houllier

Nationality: French
Date of Birth: 03/09/1947


Gerard Houllier came to Anfield to work alongside Roy Evans as joint manager in the summer of 1998. It was a partnership that only lasted four months as Evans left the club in November that year leaving Houllier in sole charge.

His previous managerial experience came in his home country having managed Noeux Les Mines at youth and senior levels from 1976-1982, taking the Third Division side into the Second Division and winning several youth titles. He then managed Lens for three years and helped them qualify for the UEFA Cup before moving to Paris St. Germain in 1985, leading them to the French title the following year.

He worked as Platini's number two in the French national side from 1988 to 1992 and took over from the former midfield star when Platini stepped down. France failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup however and Houllier left the post, returning to the national set up to manage the under-18 side that won the 1996 European Under-18 Championship. He also became Head Coach of the Under-20 French team and was the National Technical Director of the French Football Association from 1990 to 1998.

Born in Therouanne, France, Gerard played for Le Tourquet from 1973 and went on to become Youth Coach for Arras. Prior to becoming a professional coach, Gerard taught at Primary, Secondary and Grammar School level before becoming a lecturer in a high school of commerce.

His next step was a role as head coach and manager for Noeux Les Mines (Youth & Seniors) from 1976 - 1982, winning promotion from Division 3 to Division 2 and also taking them to a number of youth titles. He became manager of Lens between in 1982, earning the French side a UEFA Cup qualification. He was tempted to the French capital when he was appointed manager of Paris St Germain in 1985 and led them to the French title one year later.

Moving into the international scene in 1988, Gerard worked as number two to National French Team Head Coach Michel Platini for the European Championships of 1998 and 1992. He then succeeded Platini in the post but his attempt to qualify for the World cup in 1994 ended in disaster and he returned to manage the French U-18 side that won the European U-18 Championship in 1996.

He then became head coach of the French Team who reached the quarter-finals of the Under-20 World Championships held in Malaysia, 1997. Gerard was also the National Technical Director for the French Football Association from 1990 to 1998.

It was something of a surprise when he accepted an offer from Liverpool in the summer of 1998 to become joint manager of the famous English club alongside Roy Evans, but the problems of having two men in charge culminated with Evans leaving Anfield and Liverpool immediately put Houllier in sole charge, with Phil Thompson appointed as his assistant.

It was an inspired move as Houllier rebuilt the team and instilled renewed belief into the club. Liverpool fans began to think in terms of their team challenging once again for the top honours in domestic and European football and, before long, that was exactly what they did.

Houllier's first season in sole charge saw his team finish in a slightly disappointing 7th place in the Premiership but the following campaign ended with them narrowly missing out on a place in the Champions League having been edged out by Leeds on the final day.

The 2000/2001 season proved to be the signal of Liverpool's re-emergence under the Frenchman as he led his team to triple glory in the Worthington Cup, the FA Cup and the UEFA Cup.

Not only that, but the Champions League place that had eluded The Reds for so long was also claimed, ironically at Leeds' expense, again on the final day of the season.

The outlook for Houllier and Liverpool was promising in 2001/2002 but Gerard was unexpectedly taken ill with a heart condition during Liverpool's game against Leeds in October and underwent an 11-hour operation following a dissection of his aorta.

Thankfully, he was able to make a full recovery and in his absence, assistant manager Phil Thompson took charge of team affairs and has oversaw the Club's passage into the second phase of the Champions League as well as keeping The Reds in contention at the top of the FA Barclaycard Premiership.

Having kept in touch with matters at Anfield by telephone, Gerard returned to the dug-out five months after his operation to see Liverpool secure a place in the Champions League quarter-finals with a 2-0 win over Roma on an emotional night at Anfield.

They were beaten by a late goal by Bayer Leverkusen preventing them from reaching the semi-finals but, nevertheless, it was an excellent first campaign back in Europe's most prestigious competition for the Reds and Houllier was proud of his team's achievement.

They also managed to finish as runners-up in the Barclaycard Premiership, pushing Manchester United into third place, and ensuring automatic qualification for the following season's Champions League first group stage.

After a disappointing two-years, the Liverpool board bowed to public pressure and sacked Houllier in May 2004.


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Previous clubs: Liverpool, Paris Saint Germain, France, Lens, Noux Les Mines

Reproduced under permission from the League Managers Association.
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