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Former Liverpool star Jim Beglin
"He was a very humble, down-to-earth person"
 real 14k

Former Liverpool striker Paul Walsh
"He was a very well liked man"
 real 14k

BBC News' Colm Harrison
looks back on Fagan's career
 real 56k

Monday, 2 July, 2001, 07:42 GMT 08:42 UK
Liverpool legend Fagan dies
Former Liverpool manager Joe Fagan
Fagan (2nd right) with the European Cup in 1984
Former Liverpool manager Joe Fagan has died following an illness at the age of 80.

Fagan, one of the Anfield's 'bootroom boys', took charge of the first team in 1983 following the retirement of Bob Paisley.

In his first season as manager, he led Liverpool to the unprecedented treble of Championship, League Cup and European Cup.

The former Manchester City defender, who never played for the Reds, announced in 1985 that he would retire after the European Cup final in Brussels.

But what he hoped would be a fitting finale turned into a nightmare as disaster at the Heysel Stadium saw the deaths of 39 football fans.

The events in Belgium clearly affected Fagan, and he rarely made any public appearances after his retirement.

I don't think he ever got the recognition he deserved for that achievement in winning the European Cup, the Championship and the League Cup
  Kenny Dalglish
Fagan, whose laconic style and friendly approach saw him labelled "Uncle Joe", reluctantly succeeded Paisley, but grew into the job.

And his finest hour came in the European Cup Final in May 1984, when Liverpool won the trophy for the fourth time by beating AS Roma in their own Olympic Stadium on penalties.

Current Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier led the tributes to Fagan.

He said: "This is a very sad day in Liverpool Football Club's history. I had the pleasure to meet Joe on several occasions and I found him to be a very quiet, down to earth man.

"Peter Robinson (former Liverpool executive vice chairman) has told me many good things about Joe and the fact that he was the first English treble winner tells you what a great manager he was. He was well respected across Europe."

Alan Hansen has described Fagan as "a great man, a great coach and a great manager."

The former Liverpool captain told BBC Sport Online: "When you look at the all-time greats of Liverpool Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley, you have to have Joe up there.

"The players regarded him as one of the greats and his contribution to the success of Liverpool Football Club was as big as anyone's."

Mark Lawrenson, who played alongside Hansen when Fagan guided Liverpool to a treble, spoke of a special bond the coach and the players.

He did a tremendous job for Liverpool and he was very proud of what he achieved
  Phil Thompson
"The players really liked and respected Joe and were desperate for him to succeed, " he told BBC Sport Online.

Kenny Dalglish, who took over from Fagan as Liverpool manager in 1985, said that Fagan's achievements were never fully acknowledged.

He said: "Joe's contribution to Liverpool was immense. He won three trophies in his first season as manager in 1984. I don't think he ever got the recognition he deserved for that achievement in winning the European Cup, the Championship and the League Cup."

"It was a marvellous achievement. Joe was a very private family man. He didn't seek attention or publicity. In fact, he went on record as saying that he did not want the manager's job.

"He took on the role because it was what the club wanted. He was a different character to Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley, but his impact on the club was immense."

Liverpool assistant manager Phil Thompson added: "Joe was a fantastic person and of course a fantastic manager," he said.

"He did a tremendous job for Liverpool and was very proud of what he achieved.

"He was also a family man and will be sadly missed."

Former Liverpool executive vice chairman Peter Robinson added: "Joe was a lovely man and a great servant to the club."

Paul Walsh, brought to Liverpool from Luton by Fagan, said: "He was a very down to earth guy, there were no airs and graces about him. He was a very well-liked man at the club, around Merseyside and in football."
Paisley - followed by Fagan
Paisley - followed by Fagan

"Taking over from Bob Paisley was a very heavy task, but he was one of those `bootroom boys' that stuck together. To pull off the Treble in his first season is a fantastic achievement.

"It's a real shame for everybody what happened at Heysel. Joe just could not stomach what happened."

Former Liverpool skipper Emlyn Hughes added: "It's a very, very sad day for Liverpool Football Club."

Another of Fagan's signings, Republic of Ireland international Jim Beglin, said: "He was just a very genuine nice man. He was a very humble, down to earth person. He had a lovely way about him and was very gentlemanly.

"Underneath that soft exterior, there was also a hardened professionalism. Joe had authority and when strong words were needed, Joe could produce them."

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02 Jul 01 |  Liverpool
Fagan - the silent success
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