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Alan Phillip Kennedy (born 31 August 1954) is a former footballer who played for Liverpool during their halcyon days in the late 1970s and early 1980s who had a knack of scoring in major cup finals.

Playing career

Born in Sunderlandmarker, England, Kennedy, a full back based on the left flank, somehow slipped through his local club Sunderland's net and ended up coming through the ranks of derby rivals Newcastle United F.C., eventually playing against Liverpool in the 1974 FA Cup final at Wembley Stadiummarker. The 19 year old Kennedy and his team-mates were soundly beaten 3–0. Two years later Kennedy would be a Wembley loser again when Manchester City F.C. beat Newcastle 2–1 in the Football League Cup final.

Kennedy made his Newcastle debut as an 18 year-old at St James' Parkmarker against Stoke City F.C. on the 10 March 1973. He was a fan favourite with his robust style of playing, he endeared himself to the Toon Army even further when, during the 1976/1977 season, he scored the only goal of the derby game against Middlesbrough F.C. at St James's, included in the Boro line-up were future teammates Graeme Souness and Phil Boersma.

After Alec Lindsay left Liverpool, the club had a couple of years with a minor problem in the left back role, as a host of right-footed players were tested in that position, including Phil Neal, Alan Hansen and Joey Jones. Then, after Liverpool won their second European Cup in 1978, manager Bob Paisley decided to cure the problem once and for all and bought Kennedy from Newcastle for £330,000. He made his Reds debut at Anfieldmarker in the 2–1 league victory over Queens Park Rangers F.C., during the game Alan Kennedy nearly scored an own goal and played very poorly. At half time he walked in to the dressing room looking for some support from the legendary manager Bob Paisley, all Bob Paisley said to the Liverpool new boy was "They shot the wrong bloody Kennedy!!". on the 19 August 1978, he scored his first goal a month later at St Andrewsmarker during the 3–0 league victory over Birmingham City F.C. on the 9 September.

He slotted straight into the side which regained the Football League First Division crown in 1979 and then retained it a year later. Confusion initially reigned over Kennedy's arrival as Liverpool already had the unrelated Ray Kennedy in their ranks, and indeed the two combined well down the left flank for three seasons together.

Kennedy suffered an injury which kept him out of much of the 1980/1981 season but returned in time to help Liverpool towards the League Cup final against West Ham United F.C.. Kennedy scored the opening goal of the final in extra-time but West Ham still managed an equaliser to force a replay which Liverpool won 2–1.

The defining moment of Kennedy's time in the Liverpool team came in that season's European Cup final, staged in Parismarker, against Real Madrid. The game was a tight affair with few chances, but in the last ten minutes Kennedy made a surging run down the left flank and fired a vicious shot into the Real net at the near post. Liverpool's third European Cup was sealed.

Kennedy maintained his place in the side as Liverpool regained the League and retained the League Cup, he also continued his happy habit of getting goals in big finals, firing a superb long-range equaliser in the 1983 League Cup final against Manchester United F.C. which Liverpool then went on to win 2–1. In the same year, Kennedy won his fourth League title.

Liverpool's treble of League title, League Cup and European Cup in 1984 all prominently featured Kennedy, who again proved his worth for the big occasion when he scored the deciding penalty in the shoot-out against AS Roma in the European Cup final after the game itself had ended level.

Kennedy played much of the trophy-free season which followed in 1985 but was sold during September 1985 by manager Kenny Dalglish as young Irish full back Jim Beglin emerged to claim the left back role. He joined his home town club, Sunderland,

He was unlucky when it came to the international scene, winning just two caps for England at a time when Arsenal F.C. defender Kenny Sansom had a monopoly on the left back role.

Bobby Robson gave Alan both of his international caps with the first coming on the 4 April 1984 in a Home International fixture against Northern Ireland national football team at Wembley, a Tony Woodcock goal gave Kennedy a winning start with the only goal of the game.

His first start in the red and white stripes of Sunderland came in a Milk Cup second round 1st leg tie at Roker Parkmarker, Swindon Town F.C. were the visitors and were beaten 3–2 on the 24 September 1985. He scored his first goal on the 8 February 1986 in the 2–2 league draw against Carlisle United F.C. at Roker, he also scored the second goal.

Kennedy remained as the first choice left-back for the rest of the 85/86 season. He began the first 5 fixtures of the following campaign as a substitute with Frank Gray being selected ahead of him, he did, however, start the 6th game against Hull City F.C.. Sunderland struggled to find any sort form during the campaign and ended the season in a lowly 20th position having to play in the play-off to keep hold of their 2nd division status. Kennedy and Gray shared the left-back role all season but is was, eventually, handed to Kennedy who kept his place for the important play-off against Gillingham F.C.. Gillingham won the first leg at the Priestfield Stadiummarker 3–2 with Sunderland achieving the same scoreline after 90 minutes at Roker, unfortunately for both Alan and Sunderland, Gillingham scored during extra-time making the Sunderland goal worthless as although Sunderland won the match 4–3 it would be the Gills who would prosper winning on the away goals rule and thus relegating the Black Cats to Division 3.

After two seasons at Sunderland, Kennedy moved to Hartlepool United F.C. before heading to Europe to have spells at Husqvarna in Swedenmarker, K. Beerschot V.A.C. in Belgiummarker and Club 1903 in Denmarkmarker. He then returned to England where he turned out for non-league Northwich Victoria and Grantham. He then had a spell with Wigan Athletic F.C., Alan left Springfield Parkmarker joining Colne Dynamos, from there he headed back into league football joining Welshmarker side Wrexham F.C.. Kennedy then rounded off his career at amateur level playing for Morecambe F.C., Netherfield, Radcliffe Borough and finally Barrow, exiting at age 40.

He has been seen frequently in recent years adding his opinions on the game as a pundit for Sky Sports, amongst other media organisations. He is also a columnist for the official Liverpool website and has represented Liverpool in the veterans' side in both the Sky Sports Masters series, which Liverpool have dominated, and special appearances abroad. Alan is also an after dinner speaker. Additionally, he runs a youth coaching school and hosts the radio talk show The Legends on century fm.

The Liverpool supporters still hold Barney Rubble (Alan's nickname) in high regard and voted him in at No.31 in the poll 100 Players Who Shook The Kop which was compiled by the official Liverpool Football Club website during the summer of 2006.

Alan now enjoys playing 5 a-side football on Thursday evenings with fellow footballers David Morley, and Gareth Sheldon, regular starters for their respective teams.

Honours

Newcastle United



Liverpool




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