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  Tuesday, 19 February, 2002, 16:49 GMT
Souness leads Blackburn revival
Blackburn boss Graeme Souness
BBC Sport Online's Simon Austin profiles Blackburn boss Graeme Souness.

Graeme Souness has changed as a manager in the last 10 years.

Where once he was hot-headed, abrasive and impatient, he is now measured and thoughtful.

The change is as much due to experience as Souness's triple heart-bypass operation in 1992.

Graeme Souness playing for Liverpool
Souness was a legend as a player at Liverpool but was sacked as manager
He has learned not to let the pressures of football get to him in the way they used to.

Since taking over at Blackburn in March 2000, Souness has assiduously built a side that combines experience with some of the most talented youngsters in the country.

Johnston controversy

He has spent wisely at Ewood Park and the result has been a return to the Premiership and now a major cup final.

Souness started his managerial career at Rangers in 1986 and there can rarely have been a more eventful debut.

Souness broke the hegemony of Glasgow rivals Celtic, delivering three league titles and four Skol Cups to the Ibrox faithful.

But he also caused huge controversy. First he Anglicised the team, bringing England internationals like Chris Woods, Ray Wilkins, Terry Butcher and Trevor Steven north of the border.

Then he created uproar by signing Mo Johnston.

  Souness factfile
1953: Born Edinburgh
1968: Becomes apprentice at Tottenham
1978: Signs for Liverpool for 350,000. Goes on to win three European Cups and five league titles.
1984: Named player-manager of Rangers. Wins three league titles and four Skol Cups.
1991: Joins Liverpool.
1994: Sacked by the Anfield outfit after their worst league finish for 30 years.
2000: Becomes boss of Blackburn following spells at Galatasaray, Torino, Southampton and Benfica.
The Scottish international was the first Catholic to move to Rangers in their 116-year history.

In 1991 Souness left for the only job that could have tempted him away from Ibrox - the manager's seat at Anfield.

Liverpool were the reigning league champions and the powerhouse of English football when Souness took over.

During his testing reign they were overtaken in that capacity by Manchester United.

The side that Souness inherited was ageing, but he has admitted that he tried to turn things round too quickly.

He sold internationals like Peter Beardsley, Steve McMahon and Ray Houghton, who went on to enjoy several more years of success.

In 1992 Souness underwent a triple heart by-pass. He recovered sucessfully, but upset many fans by selling his story to The Sun, a paper boycotted by much of Liverpool because of the way it had reported the Hillsborough tragedy.

The Scot led Liverpool to an FA Cup triumph in 1992, but it was a brief respite.

They were humiliatingly knocked out of the competition at home by First Division Bolton the following season and went on to finish in their lowest league position for 30 years.

Souness was predictably sacked in January 1994 and went on to manage at Galatasaray, Southampton and Benfica.

But he has appeared most at home at Ewood Park, where he has carefully fashioned a side of great promise.


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