Liverpool FC’s legendary striker and former manager ‘King’ Kenny Dalglish has been awarded a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Besides a sparkling footballing career for club and country that includes three European Cup final successes, Dalglish was also recognised for his continued support for the victims of the Hillsborough tragedy and his charity work with the Marina Dalglish Appeal.

Great honour for his family

Speaking with local station BBC Radio Merseyside, the proud Scottish sporting maestro quipped that he had initially suspected that it “was a tax bill.” On reflection though, he was “humbled but gratified” by the news and added that “for the family, it's a huge honour."

The 67-year-old Glaswegian has shared both the highs and the lows during an amazing period in his life in and around the Liverpool area, after moving down to Merseyside in the late 1970s after a successful time with Celtic.

He had the unenviable task of stepping into the shoes of another footballing icon in the form of Kevin Keegan. That Dalglish was able to not only match and ultimately surpass Keegan’s achievements was tantamount to his abilities both on and off the field of play.

European Cup success

For his new club, he became an immediate hero after scoring the winning goal against Bruges in the 1978 European Cup final. It was a remarkable start to his playing days with the Reds under the expert tutelage of Bob Paisley and he went on to bag six English league titles, the FA Cup and four League Cups in a lengthy playing career at Anfield.

FA Cup and League double

Not content with steering his club to success on the field, Dalglish stepped into the player-manager role in 1985 after the resignation of club stalwart Joe Fagan in the aftermath of the Heysel Stadium disaster.

Further titles and cup final victories followed – including the English football domestic ‘double’ in 1985-86 - but he was also at the helm during a tragic period in the club’s history.

Tragedy at Hillsborough

With memories of Heysel still vivid in many supporters’ memories, there was to be an even greater tragedy on the horizon on the day of 15 April 1989.

Hillsborough, Sheffield was the venue for that year’s FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, but the game paled into insignificance as 96 fans lost their lives in a human crush inside the ground.

Dalglish’s devotion to the fans was clear for all to see and he attended the funerals of many of the victims to indicate his solidarity with them and to share the burden of their immense feeling of loss.

The people of Liverpool have never forgotten his devotion to them, so much so that during the Hillsborough Memorial Service on 15 April 2011, it was announced by Liverpool MP Steve Rotherham that he was backing a motion to have Dalglish knighted. His justification at the time was to recognise his outstanding playing and managerial career, but also his charity work in aid of breast cancer support and his efforts post-Hillsborough.

Ultimately, Rotherham’s request seems to have been answered as the sporting world will soon be able to rightly introduce one of their all-time great stars as “Sir Kenny Dalglish.”