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Steve Cooper ‘ Gerard Houllier was amazing to me ‘
Monday, 14th Dec 2020 16:35

You come to expect that a manager such as Steve Cooper would have met and had dealings with Gerard Houllier, the ex Liverpool manager died today aged 73, and left a huge impact on the Swansea boss.

It was when Steve Cooper was working his way thought the managerial leagues and doing his pro licences when he first met Houllier at Lyon.

“Very sad. I did come across him actually, and he was very good to me, when I was doing my pro licence," said the Swans head coach. "I ended up spending a week at Lyon when he was manager. It was an outstanding visit. The key to them visits is having as much access as you can. He was amazing with me and a couple of colleagues who went out as well. We were camped out in his office all day. We got to see every aspect of training and the match preparation. He set up meetings with all the key people there, he was just brilliant with us. He took us out for dinner a few times, and I think he paid for our hotel if I remember. He was a lovely man and was obviously brilliant at the technical and coaching side of the game. At the time I was focusing on the academy at Lyon. It is sad. I’ve been seeing the tributes made to him by former players and colleagues, and I guess that tells you everything about him."It’s a sad loss to football, particularly the coaching world."

The former school teacher was credited with dragging Liverpool into the 21st century with regards to their approach to training and preparation, bringing in more modern techniques that moved the Reds to the cutting edge of the game. Houllier's best year with the Reds came in the 2000-2001 campaign when he guided them to League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup successes before sealing a place in the Champions League for the following season.

The coach also had a profound impact on the development of a young Steven Gerrard at Anfield, handing him the captain's armband from Sami Hyypia in 2003 at the age of 23. Houllier underwent heart surgery in October 2001 after being rushed to hospital midway through a game against Leeds United at Anfield. He did return and left again in 2004 where he was ranked as one of the top three favourites to manage Wales.

Sadly Houllier died after a further operation today and the football world has responded with resounding sympathy and respect for the ex Liverpool manager who brought so much success to the Anfield club.

We here at Swansea Independent recognise greatness and pay our respects to the close friends and family of Mr Houllier.

Photo: Action Images

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