Gary McAllister had raised quite a few eyebrows when he had joined Liverpool at the age of 35. The former Leeds United man had already achieved legendary status at Elland Road. But, many pundits deemed him to be a player past his best.
Nonetheless, Gary proved his critics wrong with a short, but effective spell with the Reds. He was instrumental in leading Liverpool to three cup wins in the 2000-01 season.
This was the perfect conclusion to a career that had spanned no less than 23 years. The passion and spirit he has shown throughout that period were exceptional.
It has truly made him a phenomenon in British football.
Today, we will take a look at the career and life of the gifted Scottish playmaker.
Gary McAllister’s Career
Born in Motherwell, Scotland, McAllister grew up as a fan of the local football club; Motherwell FC. He had the opportunity to start his professional football career with Motherwell.
McAllister spent four years at Motherwell between 1981 and 1985. Back then, he was mostly a striker rather than a creative midfielder. But, his poor goalscoring returns made him contemplate a new position.
An exemplary performance against Celtic in the Scottish Cup earned him quite a few admirers in England. Leicester manager Gordon Mine was one of them, and he was able to poach the 21-year-old.
In fact, it was at Leicester, where he discovered his potential as a midfielder. He had played in a variety of midfield roles. Finally, he found his calling in the playmaker position.
After impressing at Second Division, McAllister received many offers from First Division clubs. He famously refused Nottingham Forest. Nottingham had, of course, won the European Cup a few seasons before.
Later, McAllister revealed why he denied Forest. Apparently, then Forest manager Brian Clough was not convincing enough in breaking down his plans for the Scotsman.
Therefore, he rejected the £1.25m approach and decided to join Leeds United instead.
We will talk about his Leeds career in more detail in the upcoming section. McAllister had also played for Coventry City. He went there after leaving Leeds and before joining Liverpool.
McAllister’s Leeds United Days
Like McAllister, the club had also jumped from Second to First Division that season. At that time, first-tier football in England was known as Division One.
What happened afterward, perhaps even defied McAllister’s expectations. He went on to form a formidable midfield combination with his compatriot Gordon Strachan, David Betty, and Gary Speed.
Eric Cantona and that midfield dominated the league in 1991-92 and crowned Leeds as champions of England. Gary McAllister Gary Speed, in particular, were the standouts of that squad.
But, the Scottman had also seen the other side of the coin, during his six-year stay at Yorkshire. Subsequently, Leeds are yet to replicate their 91-92 success.
On the contrary, McAllister almost faced relegation in the very next season. The defending champions had astonishingly finished 17th in 1992/93.
In the remainder of his Leeds career, McAllister couldn’t inspire the club to finish above 5th. The Peacocks had finished 5th successively in 1993/94 and 1994/95.
Coventry City Player
Leeds garnered a transfer fee of £3m when they allowed Gary McAllister to change allegiance and join Coventry City in 1996. The 31-year-old had scored a hat-trick against them the year before.
McAllister had spent four seasons with the Midlands outfit. He started out under Ron Atkinson. Later, his former Leeds teammate Gordon Strachan became his manager.
Strachan handed the captain’s armband to McAllister upon taking charge. He played a pivotal role in securing late-season victories against Chelsea, Liverpool, and Spurs to avoid relegation.
McAllister left the Sky Blues in 2000 to join Liverpool. However, he returned two years later as a player-manager and played for two more seasons. In 2004, he announced his retirement as a player.
Gary McAllister joined Liverpool in 2000. At the age of 35, he was not in the peak years of his playing career when he came to Anfield. Nonetheless, McAllister was able to make some truly important contributions during his brief time at Merseyside.
In his 87-match Liverpool career, Gary McAllister had scored 9 goals for the club. The Liverpool faithfuls still treasure the memory of some of those to this day.
Therefore, one can not deny the impact McAllister had on Liverpool.
Gary McAllister Vs. Everton
Garry McAllister’s free-kick at Everton is the highlight of the Scotsman’s Liverpool career. In a 2020 interview with Liverpool’s official website, he opened up about that goal.
“It does make me smile, I must admit. I can’t hide from the fact that on occasions people have said that I’ve milked it, but I’m going to keep on milking it and enjoying that goal!”
Let us revisit the 2000/01 season. Liverpool went to play at Goodison Park, the home of their Merseyside rivals Everton.
With the score locked at a 2-2 stalemate, Liverpool got a free kick 44 yards out of the Everton goal post. There were only seconds left in stoppage time. This was the last chance for the visitors to claim all points indeed.
Steven Gerrard was the go-to man for Liverpool in such situations. But, much to the surprise of everyone, Gary McAllister stepped up to take the free kick.
What followed is one of the most unforgettable moments in the history of the Merseyside derby. McAllister’s long-ranger had sneaked past the Everton custodian. Consequently, the away stand erupted in joy.
McAllister revealed what was going on in his mind while taking the kick
“In that game, the game was to-ing and fro-ing. We had a player sent off, Everton equalised late in the game and then that moment just came.
“As I lined up to take the final free-kick, I just had a wee inkling that the ‘keeper was going to try to come and just take the pressure off by coming for the cross. I saw him move and went for it.”
Gary McAllister Vs. Alaves
Gary McAllister believes the culmination of his career came at the UEFA Cup final in 2001. He had scored a goal and set up three more, to spearhead Liverpool’s victory over Alaves.
The Westfalenstadion meeting between the two teams yielded one of the most entertaining European finals of all time. After a four-all draw in regulation time, the match was decided by a golden goal.
McAllister was the driving force of that goal as his freekick got deflected and found its way into the Alaves net.
In the first half, he kept his calm and converted from the spot to make the scoreline 3-1 in Liverpool’s favor.
Michael Owen was fouled inside the box, as he stormed his way into the Alaves territory.
McAllister showed his nerves of steel as he dispatched the penalty to extend Liverpool’s lead.
Gary McAllister Vs. Barcelona
Before the final, McAllister scored another crucial goal in the tournament. After a goalless affair at Nou Camp, Liverpool needed to score and avoid defeat at Anfield against Barcelona to go through.
They ended up winning the game 1-0 and the solitary goal came from Gary McAllister.
The referee penalized Barcelona for a Patrick Kluivert handball inside the box and awarded the hosts a penalty.
McAllister shouldered the responsibility once again and came forward to take the spot kick.
Barcelona shot-stopper Pepe Reina had no chance to stop the penalty, which rattled the top of the net.
Gary McAllister Honours
Gary McAllister had won the Scottish First Division with Motherwell in 1984/85. After moving to England, he had one the Division One title with Leeds United in 1991/92.
In Liverpool, he had won the FA Cup, the League Cup, and the UEFA Cup in the 2000/01 season, completing a cup treble.
The ex-Scotland international won the European Super Cup with the Merseyside giants in the next season.
McAllister had also won the Community Shield twice. Once with Leeds as the league champion (92/93), and the other time with Liverpool as the FA Cup champion (01/02).
Gary McAllister MBE
Gary McAllister was awarded the prestigious Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his remarkable success as a sportsman.
He received the MBE medal in 2001, after a season that saw him winning the FA Cup, UEFA Cup, and the League Cup with Liverpool.
Gary McAllister Wife
Gary McAllister is currently married to Hayley McAllister (41). Hayley is Gary McAllister’s second wife.
Hayley McAllister is the present wife of Gary McAllister. But, she is not his first wife. At first, Gary McAlister had married Denise McAllister, who had passed away in 2006.
Denise, a mother of two children, was fighting breast cancer and finally succumbed to it after a six-year struggle. After receiving the diagnosis, she took part in charity programs raising awareness against breast cancer.
Gary McAllister’s Net Worth
Garry McAllister’s current net worth is estimated to be around $5m. He has earned most of his wealth through football. After retiring as a player, McAllister has served as a manager in his former clubs Coventry City and Leeds United. He has also worked as an assistant manager.
Gary McAllister Song
Gary McAllister made his final appearance for Liverpool on May 11, 2012. He came off the bench as a substitute in Liverpool’s 5-0 win over Ipswich Town.
As he came on, Liverpool fans greeted him with a unique chant. It was an ode to the Scotsman, who had instilled a positive vibe around Anfield in his brief period at the club.
Gary, Gary Mac,
He’s got no hair,
But we don’t care,
Gary, Gary Mac…
What Is Garry McAllister Doing Now?
In 2018, Scottish giants Rangers FC announced a Gary McAllister Steven Gerrard reunion. The former Liverpool colleagues took charge of the Glasgow team with McAllister acting as their assistant of Gerrard.
Scotland National Squad
Gary Mac received his first international call up for the Scotland national team before the 1990 World Cup.
McAllister had played in a friendly against East Germany before the tournament, which was his debut match for Scotland.
He was also part of the World Cup squad. However, the midfielder failed to get any minutes under his belt as Scotland made a group stage exit.
He appeared for Scotland in the 1996 Euros and the 1998 World Cup. In total, Gary McAllister made 57 international appearances. He scored 5 times wearing a Scotland shirt.
Gary McAllister Euro 96
After Scotland failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup, they set their eyes on the European Championships in 1996. They had successfully qualified for it, and went to England under McAllister’s captaincy.
Scotland took on England in a crunch clash at the Wembley Stadium. McAllister agonizingly missed a penalty as England won the game 2-0.
Scotland won the next group match against Switzerland, but it was not enough for their knockout stage progression.
To this day, Gary McAllister remains an adored figure among the fans of all the clubs he had played for. He was a professional devoted to the game till the final days of his playing career. And now, he is trying to make a difference in the world of management.