A midfielder , Souness was the captain of the successful Liverpool team of the early s, player-manager of Rangers in the late s and captain of the Scotland national team.
He also played for Tottenham Hotspur , Middlesbrough and Sampdoria. Souness' managerial career began when he joined Rangers, leading them to three Scottish titles and four league cups, before joining Liverpool as manager. Souness was brought up in the Saughton Mains area of Edinburgh , and supported local side Hearts  and Rangers. Souness' career began as an apprentice at Tottenham Hotspur under Bill Nicholson.
He signed professional forms as a year-old in Frustrated at a lack of first-team opportunities, the teenage Souness reputedly informed Nicholson he was the best player at the club. He appeared in 10 of his team's 14 matches and was named in the league's All-Star team for that season. He made his first appearance for Middlesbrough on 6 January in a 2—1 league defeat to Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Souness' tenacious style began to garner acclaim during his time at Middlesbrough. His first season saw Middlesbrough finish fourth, two places and 14 points short of promotion. Jack Charlton was appointed Middlesbrough manager, his first managerial post, in May One of Charlton's first signings was experienced former Celtic midfielder Bobby Murdoch , a fellow Scot whom Souness later cited as an important influence in the development of his playing style.
Souness' influence was demonstrated when he scored a hat-trick in the season's final fixture, an 8—0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday. Souness' playing career is best remembered for his seven seasons at Liverpool , where he won five League Championships , three European Cups and four League Cups.
Souness' time at Anfield began in January as a replacement for veteran Ian Callaghan.
After winning his first European Cup in , Liverpool manager Bob Paisley sought reinforcements by signing three Scottish players, all of whom were to contribute substantially to further success.
His first goal — a volley from just inside the penalty box, eventually awarded fans' goal of the season — came in a 3—1 win over bitter rivals Manchester United at Anfield on 25 February Souness played a critical role in Liverpool's retention of the European Cup against FC Bruges in at Wembley Stadium , providing the pass for Kenny Dalglish to score the match's only goal.
Sustained success followed. Souness's first League title medals were won in seasons —79 and — This burst of success prompted Paisley to award Souness the club captaincy for season —82 , to the chagrin of the incumbent Phil Thompson who had made some errors that season and with whom Paisley had a vicious row during one match at Aston Villa.
This was the start of several long-running feuds between the two robust characters, and over the coming years, they would confront each other in various circumstances. Under Souness' captaincy, two trophies followed as Liverpool regained the League championship and retained the League Cup, trophies that were successfully defended in season — For the trophy award presentation after the 2—1 win over Manchester United in , Souness stepped back and insisted that Paisley collect the trophy, it being the manager's retirement season.
In —84 , Souness lifted three trophies. He scored the winning goal in the League Cup final replay at Maine Road against Merseyside rivals Everton , the first all-Merseyside cup final.
Souness and England international Trevor Francis — a player at the Genoa -based club since — added experience to an emerging group of future Italian internationals , including Roberto Mancini , Pietro Vierchowod and Gianluca Vialli. In his first season, Sampdoria won the Coppa Italia with a 3—1 victory over Serie A rivals Milan , securing the trophy for the first time in club history.
Souness' career in Italy ended in as he took up the position of player-manager at Rangers. His competitive debut — in the opening match of the —87 season, against Hibernian in his hometown of Edinburgh — saw him sent off after two yellow cards in the first 34 minutes.
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Disciplinary problems — something that had recurred periodically throughout Souness's career — resurfaced on a number of occasions during his time as a player at Rangers, and the spell was also blighted by injury.
He made 73 appearances in total for Rangers 50 in the league , scoring three goals  before retiring as a player in at age His final appearance as a player was at Ibrox in a 2—0 victory over Dunfermline Athletic in Rangers' last home match of the —90 season , when he brought himself on for the final 20 minutes. While a Middlesbrough player, Souness received his first international cap for Scotland on 30 October in a 3—0 friendly victory over East Germany at Hampden Park.
His move to Liverpool increased his profile. Souness missed Scotland's firs two matches, a defeat to Peru and a draw with Iran , due to injury. He was selected for the final group match against the Netherlands. Souness contributed to a 3—2 victory that nevertheless saw Scotland eliminated from the tournament on goal difference.
Souness played in two further World Cups. The first, in in Spain, saw Souness play all three group stage matches.
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He later said he had performed poorly in those matches, having struggled with the high altitude and losing a significant amount of weight and power. Souness' appointment as Rangers' manager garnered most attention, but his arrival as a player was also of significance.
Souness arrived at Ibrox with a reputation as one of Europe's leading midfielders, a view evidenced by his success at Liverpool and, to a lesser extent, with Sampdoria.
His signing was unusual in that Scottish clubs had rarely been able to sign top-quality internationals, including Scots, from other leagues. What came popularly to be termed the "Souness Revolution" began with a slew of major signings from English clubs. Significantly, this reversed the historic pattern of Scotland's most able footballers playing in England. Souness' first season saw the arrival of players such as Terry Butcher , captain of Ipswich Town and an established England international , and Chris Woods of Norwich City , England's second-choice goalkeeper.
Souness was able to offer the lure of European club competition, at a time — — — when English clubs were banned from Europe in the wake of the Heysel Stadium disaster. Rangers profited from this by embarking upon a signing policy which drew on their relative wealth to compete, for the first time, directly with England's most powerful clubs.
Souness' revitalised Rangers quickly began to dominate Scottish football. In his first season, —87 , they won the Championship and the League Cup, defeating Celtic 2—1 in the final. They retained the League Cup in , defeating Aberdeen on penalties after extra-time.
He was replaced by his assistant Walter Smith four matches prior to the end of what was to become another championship-winning season. Souness' time at Ibrox had been marked by persistent controversy.
His most noteworthy act was the controversial signing of Mo Johnston in Rangers, historically a team supported by Protestants , had for most of the 20th century a policy of refusing to sign Roman Catholics.
Although there had been many Rangers players of Catholic faith, particularly before the sectarian divisions hardened after World War I, none of them were as high-profile as Johnston. A succession of confrontational after-match comments pitched Souness regularly at loggerheads with both organisations, prompting touchline bans which Souness circumvented in characteristically provocative fashion by naming himself as a substitute, allowing access as a player to the dugout.
In , Souness said of his time as Rangers' manager, "When I look back on my actions and antics at Ibrox I bordered on being out of order.
I was obnoxious and difficult to deal with. Kenny Dalglish, who had played alongside Souness at Liverpool, resigned as Liverpool manager in February Souness' appointment came just before Liverpool finished second to Arsenal in the race for the —91 league title. He also gave a regular place in the team to year-old midfielder Steve McManaman , whose debut had come under Dalglish in December , and near the end of that campaign, he gave a professional contract to youth team striker Robbie Fowler.
During the early stages of the —92 season , Liverpool were looking like serious title contenders, but it soon became an effective two-horse race between Manchester United and Leeds United. Leeds eventually took the title, while Liverpool came sixth.
They returned to European competition that season after six years of isolation following the Heysel disaster of , and reached the UEFA Cup quarter-finals, where they were eliminated by Genoa. Souness had major heart surgery in April A controversy arose after the FA Cup semi-final against Portsmouth , which Liverpool needed a replay and penalties to win. In the event of a victory for Liverpool, an interview was due to be published in the Sun , a British tabloid, with Souness celebrating the win and his own successful surgery.
Just after the start of the season, he sold Dean Saunders to Aston Villa. While Saunders was a key player in Villa's near-successful title challenge, his successor Paul Stewart proved to be perhaps the biggest flop to play under Souness at Liverpool, scoring just 1 league goal from 32 appearances over the next two seasons and missing many games through injury.
Top scorer Ian Rush was having a difficult time getting goals, and Liverpool spent most of the season in the bottom half of the table. They entered March still only in 15th place, but an excellent final quarter of the season, in which Rush scored 11 Premier League goals, saw them finish sixth.
The fans were running out of patience with Souness, but he made one last attempt at revitalising Liverpool by signing defender Julian Dicks and striker Nigel Clough for the —94 season.
The season began well enough, but a dismal run of form in early winter effectively ended hopes of the Premier League title and Souness resigned as Liverpool manager at the end of January when Liverpool had suffered a shock FA Cup exit at the hands of Bristol City. He was succeeded by coach Roy Evans.
Souness' reign as Liverpool manager was not remembered with fondness by the club's fans, though there were some positive events.
Apart from guiding them to FA Cup success in , he also oversaw the breakthrough of three young players who would go on to be a key part in Liverpool's better performances over the next five years — Steve McManaman, Robbie Fowler and Jamie Redknapp , allowing them to play and develop in the first team where they went on to become highly successful club players for Liverpool, though their international careers were largely disappointing.
In , Souness had also brought in David James as an eventual successor to Bruce Grobbelaar who finally left in , and although James' fortunes at Anfield were mixed, he later went on to enjoy better fortunes elsewhere and was still keeping goal for England at the end of the following decade as he approached his 40th birthday.
Souness later claimed in his autobiography The Management Years that he faced an uphill struggle from day one for a number of reasons. He knew they had eventually to be replaced and he doubted some of their desire. He claims in his book the senior players also appeared not to want to listen to him and may have resented his disciplinarian approach to their behaviour, and also claimed a number of players — including Beardsley and McMahon — asked for improved terms in their contracts or they would move elsewhere.
Souness claimed Ian Rush and Ray Houghton had also demanded to know why new signings like Mark Wright were earning more money than them, despite not yet having won any trophies.
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Souness also claims Liverpool chief executive Peter Robinson at the time had warned him this was a Liverpool team in decline and that they only had one player who was still "great", John Barnes. Souness was left disappointed by Barnes as he was at this time frequently suffering from injuries, and in particular suffered a ruptured achilles tendon which was to eventually affect his acceleration therefore affecting his playing style, and not giving Souness what he wanted from a vintage Barnes at his peak, which was what he saw as a "devastating winger with pace and goalscoring touch".
He had also claimed Barnes was once the "best player in Britain" but unfortunately only saw flashes of his brilliance. Souness also fell out with former Liverpool teammates Tommy Smith and Phil Thompson during his time in charge at Anfield. In his autobiography, Souness said that Thompson, the reserve team manager, was overheard angrily criticising his tactics and purchases behind his back.
This was overheard by Manchester United assistant manager Brian Kidd and relayed to Walter Smith , who was so alarmed by Thompson's behaviour that he drove from Scotland to Liverpool to tell Souness what had been said.
Souness dismissed Thompson as a result and the two have remained bitter towards each other since, with Thompson claiming in his own book he would never speak to Souness again as a result. Souness said he had a number of spats as a Liverpool player with Thompson, including in , when Thompson initially refused to speak to Souness for a while after he lost the captaincy to him; Thompson had accused Souness to his face and in front of the other Liverpool players of "stealing the captaincy behind his back".
They also had an argument and physical fight which took place after Thompson had accused Souness of marrying his first wife Danielle only because she was wealthy. Souness believed these incidents may have contributed to Thompson's hostility and disrespect of him. Souness banned Smith from the club areas, and said that in his last phone call with Tommy Smith, instructing him not to hang around the official club areas, he was certain he had "made an enemy for life".
After leaving Liverpool, Souness was out of work for over a year, despite reports at the end of the —94 season linking him with a return to Middlesbrough, this time as a manager, a job which went to Bryan Robson instead.
Souness then returned to England to manage Southampton , but after one season he resigned, citing differences with chairman Rupert Lowe.
Souness did not check any of Dia's credentials as a good player, which proved to be a hoax instigated by Dia's agent who had made the initial call. When Dia made his sole appearance in the Premier League, as a substitute for Matt Le Tissier , he performed amazingly poorly and was substituted.