”I’ve been going to see Liverpool since I was seven years old, so mine may not be a totally unprejudiced view, but I think Kenny Dalglish is the best football player I have ever seen.”
(John Peel, 30 April 1979)


Sir Kenneth Mathieson "Kenny" Dalglish MBE (born 4 March 1951) is a Scottish former football player and manager. In a career spanning 22 years, he played for Celtic and Liverpool, winning numerous honours with both. He is Scotland's most capped player of all time with 102 appearances, and also Scotland's joint-leading goal scorer, with 30 goals. Dalglish won the Ballon d'Or Silver Award in 1983, the PFA Player of the Year in 1983, and the FWA Footballer of the Year in 1979 and 1983. In 2009 FourFourTwo named Dalglish as the greatest striker in post-war British football, and in 2006 he topped a Liverpool fans' poll of "100 Players Who Shook the Kop".[1] He has been inducted into both the Scottish and English Football Halls of Fame.

In 1977, Liverpool manager Bob Paisley paid a British transfer record of £440,000 to bring Dalglish to Liverpool from Celtic. His years at Liverpool were among the club's most successful periods, as he won six Football League First Divisions, two FA Cups, four League Cups, seven FA Charity Shields, three European Cups and one UEFA Super Cup. For these achievements and his style of play he was given the name King Kenny by Liverpool supporters. Dalglish became player-manager of Liverpool in 1985 after the resignation of Joe Fagan, winning a further three First Divisions, two FA Cups and four FA Charity Shields, before resigning from Liverpool in 1991.

Dalglish returned to football management with Blackburn Rovers, whom he led from the Second Division to win the Premier League in 1995, followed by spells as manager at Newcastle and director of football at Celtic. In January 2011, he was appointed Liverpool's caretaker manager after the dismissal of Roy Hodgson, becoming the permanent manager in May 2011. Despite winning the League Cup, which earned them a place in the Europa League, and reaching the FA Cup Final, Liverpool could only finish 8th in the Premier League, and Dalglish was sacked in May 2012. In October 2013, Dalglish returned to Anfield as a non-executive director. (Read more at Wikipedia.)

Links to Peel

Peel’s huge admiration for Kenny Dalglish was a recurring theme of his shows, particularly at the height of Liverpool’s success from the late 1970s. Born in 1980, third child Tom Ravenscroft was given the ultimate honour of sharing a middle name with the surname of the Scottish striker.[1]

The DJ was extravagant in his praise of Dalglish, ranking him “among that select group of truly wonderful people on the planet,” alongside such illustrious names as Captain Beefheart and Lee Perry.[2] It was the footballer, though, that was Peel’s gold standard for excellence, with Perry described as "the Kenny Dalglish of reggae"[3] and John Fahey as "the Kenny Dalglish of the guitar."[4]

Perhaps more than any other player, Dalglish appeared to inspire something close to worship in the DJ. In 1994, Peel claimed to have celebrated "Dalglishmas" for many years and said that Sheila had to dissuade him from asking the Liverpool legend to "bless" their children when he first met his hero in person, after the recording of a Radio One programme on Dalglish’s favourite music.[5]

“A very nice man as it turns out,” Peel subsequently told Andy Peebles, while admitting, “it’s always terrifying to meet people you really admire in case they turn out to be complete twerps.”[6] Dalglish apparently gave Peel his home phone number in case the DJ ever needed match tickets, an offer that was taken up for the fateful 1985 European Cup final at Heysel stadium.[7] In 1996, Dalglish was among those who appeared by video link when Peel was the subject of This Is Your Life.

Kenny Dalglish Goal - Liverpool 1 FC Bruges - 1978 European Cup Final (10 5 78)

Kenny Dalglish Goal - Liverpool 1 FC Bruges - 1978 European Cup Final (10 5 78)

In later years, Peel would use a radio commentary of King Kenny scoring Liverpool's goal against Brugge in the 1978 European Cup as part of his live sets,[8] and the same clip also featured on the DJ’s FabricLive.07 mix album, released in 2002. Meanwhile, Peelenium 1987 choice 'Sharp As A Needle' by Adrian Sherwood's Barmy Army project included the winning combination of samples from You'll Never Walk Alone and radio commentary of another goal by Dalglish, who was pictured on the sleeve of the single.

With the team in decline, Peel came to miss the glory days of Liverpool, and Dalglish in particular, commenting on 19 December 2000:

"I tell you what, we could do with getting Kenny Dalglish back again."


John Peel's Scottish Football Song

John Peel's Scottish Football Song

  • 05 September 1979 (& Sandy Jardine with The Firm): Each Saturday (7") DJM (JP: “Tell you what Kenny, three against Coventry on Saturday and I'll not play it's that?”)
  • 05 September 1981 (& Sandy Jardine with The Firm): Each Saturday (7") DJM

Shows Mentioned

  • 13 November 1978: "Now what I wanna know is this. Did you notice the way Kenny drew Phil Parkes out of position so that Johnson could score Liverpool's third goal."
  • 29 November 1978: After playing, 'Who Do You Love?', Peel comments "'Kenny Dalglish' went up the roar from ten million throats."
  • 28 December 1978: 'I was outraged actually upon reading the paper this morning to see that Kenny Dalglish was only voted eighth in the European Footballer Of The Year poll. Ridiculous, perhaps it'll be next year for him anyway.'
  • 09 January 1979: 'Captain Beefheart and Kenny Dalglish are two of the very, very few remarkable people on Earth.' (Later on in the program), 'Actually, you can put Lee Perry right up there with Captain Beefheart and Kenny Dalglish among that select group of truly wonderful people on the planet.'
  • 14 February 1979: Lee Perry - "the Kenny Dalglish of reggae."
  • 25 January 1979: Peel's bemused at the sale of Trevor Francis for £900k. What must Dalglish be worth, he ponders.
  • 30 April 1979: JP: 'I’ve been going to see Liverpool since I was seven years old, so mine may not be a totally unprejudiced view, but I think Kenny Dalglish is the best football player I have ever seen. And to see whether anyone agreed with me I borrowed a BBC tape recorder over the weekend and went out in the fields and lanes and byways around Peel Acres and spoke to one or two people in the area. The first person I spoke to was a young man and I asked him what he thought of Kenny Dalglish.'
    (Child: 'Kenny Dalglish is magic!')
    JP: 'Thank you, William.'
  • 30 July 1979: 'I must confess to being terribly disappointed that Liverpool are going to allow advertising on their shirts this season. It is important I think, and I'm really not going to feel right about going up to Anfield and seeing Kenny Dalglish playing the best football on earth and advertising radios and things while he does it. I suppose the next move is for them to all have to change their names to things like 'Kenny Music Centre' and so forth.'
  • 20 August 1979: Peel equates the uplifting feeling of listening to the Undertones with Dalglish scoring: "An Undertones record makes you feel as good as one of Kenny's goals- and nothing makes you feel better than that."
  • 29 August 1979: JP thanks everybody for the 40th birthday cards, and apologises for "vigorously advertising" the event. Kid Jensen ("Jerkin") got him an autographed Liverpool programme, an autographed picture of Kenny Dalglish, and a bottle of wine.
  • 11 October 1979: Pack: King Of Kings (single) Rough Trade - JP: “Yet another song about Kenny Dalglish, eh?”
  • 29 October 1979: JP: 'Quite clearly a very good weekend indeed. I mean, a good win for Liverpool on Saturday. And William’s verdict on Match of The Day was thus…"
    (William: “Kenny Dalglish is magic!”)
    JP: “Quite right too."
  • 15 November 1979: Larry Bright: One Ugly Child - JP: "Actually the main reason I played that was because my daughter Alexandra pulled it out of a pile of records and I saw this as being an act of Kenny Dalglish and thought I'd better play it."
  • 05 December 1979: JP: "For those of you who missed the football scores tonight, it's Norwich 1, Liverpool 3. That means Johnson 2, Dalglish 1."
    William: "Kenny Dalglish is magic!"
    JP: "Ah, you're right, William."
  • 06 December 1979: JP: "I never knew that Adam had ever met Kenny Dalglish, but apparently this is the case..." (plays Adam and the Ants: Day I Met God (LP - Dirk Wears White Sox) Do It)
  • 13 December 1979: Plays a Jerry Lee Lewis track as he says he always liked the piano solo. Manages successfully to find the part of the record where this kicks in (“Kenny Dalglish is looking over me at all times!”) and plays it again.
  • 08 January 1980: "This next one's for The Pig... currently expecting child 'C' at the end of the month. Very exciting, very tense you know... will it be Dalglish? You'll just have to wait and see."[9]
  • 11 February 1980: Thanks senders of cards to welcome newly arrived son Thomas James Dalglish into the world.
  • 25 February 1980: At the end of the first Cockney Rejects session track, Peel plays a clip of radio interview/commentary of a Kenny Dalglish goal from 1978 European Cup final, followed by the comment, "See you at Anfield next season, lads". The Rejects were big West Ham fans. Peel says he bought the Liverpool record at the weekend - part of the clip would later appear on his FabicLive.07 compilation.
  • 04 March 1980: Begins show by singing Happy Birthday to Kenny Dalglish.
  • 08 April 1980: “Liverpool 3 Derby County nil, that's what you really want to know; Irwin, Johnson and an own goal. And it seems appropriate because Dalglish played a blinder according to our sports desk, that two of the bands featured tonight are from Scotland and the other one comes from Liverpool."
  • 27 October 1980: Peel mentions that he and Sheila had met Dalglish after watching Liverpool v Arsenal at Anfield at the weekend.
  • 29 December 1980: On hearing son Thomas's first word is "Dalglish" - "We fell to our knees at home and stayed there for at least half an hour just to be on the safe side."
  • 04 March 1981: Reference to Dalglishmas.
  • My Top Ten (Transcript) (1984) JP: "I’ve met some of the players. As my wife can tell you, when Dalglish did a programme similar to this one a few years ago, I wanted to bring the children in and have him bless them, but she said he probably wouldn’t understand that. But a very nice man as it turns out, because it is always terrifying to meet people you really admire in case they turn out to be complete twerps."
    Andy Peebles: "Wasn’t there a marvelous story that your producer John Walters once arranged on your birthday to have Kenneth Dalglish phone you in the studio and you were quite convinced that it wasn’t him?"
    JP: "It was one of the engineers actually who was on the programme and he did exactly that, yes. And so it was “It’s Kenny Dalglish on the phone.” I said, “Oh yeah, come on, who’s this? Come on, who’s messing about?” But it was of course. A nice birthday present too."
  • 07 May 1985: Nicaraguan band all claim to be of Scottish descent, as witnessed by their surnames, but Peel doubts this as none of them are called "Dalglish".
  • Peel 066 (BFBS) (07 August 1987) Mother McCollum: 'Jesus Is My Air-O-Plane (Compilation LP-The Rural Blues - Sacred Tradition 1927-1939)' (Herwin) - JP: "Well, Kenny Dalglish is my aeroplane, but to each his own."
  • 30 December 1987: Wedding Present, 'Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft (LP-George Best)' (Reception) - JP: 'And I think the very least they can do is to call the next LP 'Kenny Dalglish', who I played on the radio once or twice.'
  • Peel 101 (BFBS) (07 April 1989): Pixies: 'Monkey Gone To Heaven (12")' (4AD) - JP: 'And Dalglish is eight, the sequence should have continued: I'm not quite sure why they left that out, I suppose it's, you know, Americans. My goodness.'
  • 11 July 1990: Serious Drinking: 'Love On The Terraces (7 inch)' (Upright) (followed by a Kenny Dalglish moment)
  • 15 March 1992 (BFBS): JP: "Kenny Dalglish has it as well, at least it does in my books, still the best footballer I've ever saw in my life"
  • 03 September 1994: JP: "The first coming up now from Zion Train, the first part of what has been styled 'The Dalglish Dub Symphony'... This is 'Rousillon Inna No 7 Style'. I must admit I don't spot the analogy in that one."
    Zion Train: Dalglish Dub Symphony: Rousillon Inna No.7 Style (session)
    JP: "Artist in a number 7 shirt, is that the point of it? I suppose it could be. Anyway, Kenny will be listening this afternoon as he always does I don't doubt."
220px-Barmy Army - Sharp as a Needle
  • 19 December 2000: Barmy Army: Sharp As A Needle - JP: 'I tell you what, we could do with getting Kenny Dalglish back again I think.
  • 06 March 2001: Peel on John Fahey: "The Kenny Dalglish of the guitar... stupid thing to say, but I've said it."
  • 21 June 2001: JP plays clip of Kenny Dalglish scoring Liverpool's goal against Brugge in the final of the European Cup at Wembley, May 1978, as part of live set at Sonar.
  • 22 April 2004: Peel misses the old days of Liverpool FC: "Obviously I would sell my soul to Satan for Steve Gerrard and I have a sneaking sympathy for Emile Heskey as well, but you don't feel nearly as involved as you used to. Obviously somebody like Kenny Dalglish, we adored, didn't we? And Ian Rush and all of those people ..."
  • 29 April 2004. During his chat with Pat Nevin, Peel says that he and The Pig "venerate" Dalglish. JP: "I always liked the fact that he would become - when we were in public places with him and somebody came up and started being kind of tedious and boring, which people often did - he would lapse into being impenetrably Glaswegian."
  • You'll Never Walk Alone: The song's title was also used for a Trevor Dann-produced documentary in which Peel interviewed Kenny Dalglish, Adrian Henri and Peter Hooton. Part of Radio 1's week in Liverpool, it was first broadcast on 12 March 1983.
  • John Peel's Scottish Sessions: Tom Ravenscroft: "My great-grandmother was Scottish, and my father had a great love of football, which stretched to Meadowbank Thistle, Bill Shankly and Kenny Dalglish, who is fortunate enough to share his surname with my middle name."

See Also

  • Liverpool
  • Football
  • Football (Matches Mentioned)
  • This Is Your Life
  • Birthdays: 40th (1979): From Kid Jensen, an autographed Liverpool programme, autographed picture of Kenny Dalglish, and a bottle of wine.
  • Hillsborough: JP: “I was hugely impressed by – and that made me cry as well, you know – the kind of dignity of the people of Liverpool really, and members of the team and Kenny Dalglish and so.”
  • The Ingerland Factor Playlist: Barmy Army: Sharp As A Needle – “Produced by Adrian Sherwood, it doesn’t really get much better than this classic Barmy Army track. Incongruously, there is a West Ham reference – Sherwood is a Hammers fan – but the music relates otherwise to Kenny Dalglish, with a sideways nod to Ian Rush… Years after its release, I still can’t hear it without a lump in my throat.”
  • Peel On Record: Miniatures Vol. 1: 'John Peel Sings The Blues Badly'. Norman Lovett impersonates John, strumming one chord on a guitar to the memorable lyrics, "I gave myself a ring/To make sure I was not in/But I was/Because I answered/Wasn't that a funny thing/Oh yeah." He then announces that he intends to go and buy an inflatable Kenny Dalglish doll.


  1. Thomas James Dalglish Ravenscroft (born 6th Feb 1980) is one of John Peel's two sons. His other children also had names reflecting Peel’s love of the Liverpool team: William Robert Anfield Ravenscroft, Alexandra Mary Anfield Ravenscroft and Florence Victoria Shankly Ravenscroft..
  2. 09 January 1979.
  3. 14 February 1979.
  4. 06 March 2001.
  5. Guardian article, 1994, republished Olivetti Chronicles, hardback, pg. 47-8. Peel didn't seem to rate Dalglish's musical selections, commenting: "As with most footballers, Kenny's musical taste is deeply suspect." Peel’s celebration of “Dalglishmas” apparently ended after Dalglish became Blackburn manager.
  6. My Top Ten (Transcript).
  7. Guardian article, 1994.
  8. 21 June 2001.
  9. Thomas James Dalglish Ravenscroft.