Liverpool’s 1989-90 title winners: Where are they now?

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Liverpool will finally get their hands on the Premier League on Wednesday night, 30 years after they last lifted the league. But what happened to those players who were crowned top-flight champions in 1989-90?

Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Queens Park Rangers at Anfield on April 28 1990 confirmed the club’s 18th league title, with Kenny Dalglish’s side expected to continue challenging at the top for years to come.

Liverpool's players celebrate with the title in 1990, but where are they all now?
Liverpool’s players celebrate with the title in 1990, but where are they all now?
However, none of the 13 players who featured for Liverpool that day would ever win the title again.

Bruce Grobbelaar

Grobbelaar left Anfield in 1994 and went on to play for Southampton and Plymouth, with nominal appearances for Oxford, Sheffield Wednesday, Oldham, Bury and Lincoln among others.

He was found not guilty of match-fixing claims in 1997 and had a string of coaching jobs in South Africa before becoming goalkeeping coach for the Matabeleland football team in May 2018.

Gary Ablett

Tragically, Gary Ablett died from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2012 aged just 46.

In 1992 Ablett made the short trip across Stanley Park to join Everton, becoming the only player to win the FA Cup with both Merseyside clubs. He also played over 100 matches for Birmingham, returning to coach Everton’s academy, Liverpool’s reserves and Stockport County after retirement.

Steve Staunton

Staunton left Liverpool a year after the title win to enjoy a successful spell at Aston Villa, winning two League Cups, only to return to Anfield for two seasons in 1998 before finishing his playing career at Villa (again), Coventry and Walsall.

Managed Republic of Ireland in a turbulent 21-month period, then took charge of Darlington for 23 matches and his last involvement in football was as a scout for Sunderland, before leaving that role in 2013.

Staunton then launched his own academy based in Staffordshire, only to declare himself bankrupt in April 2016.

David Burrows

Burrows departed in 1993 for West Ham and went on to play for Everton, Coventry, Birmingham and Sheffield Wednesday before injuries forced his retirement and he moved with his family to start a new life renting out properties in southwest France.

Steve Nicol

After 13 years at the club the Scot left in 1994 to be player-assistant coach at Notts County, and then joined Sheffield Wednesday and Doncaster, before moving to America first as a player with Boston Bulldogs and then coach of New England Revolution.

Nicol is now a pundit for ESPN in the US.

Barry Venison

Joined Newcastle in 1992 and brief spells at Galatasaray and Southampton followed. Venison then took up punditry with Sky and ITV, and also had played a cameo role in comedy film ‘Mike Bassett: England manager’ in 2001.

Relocated to the US in 2003, working initially in property development, before becoming technical director and then in 2016 coach at Orange County Blues.

Gary Gillespie

Gillespie moved to Celtic less than 18 months after the club’s last title win, making 69 appearances before joining Coventry, where a knee injury ended his career after three games in as many years.

Now works as summariser on Liverpool games for both BBC Radio Merseyside and LFCTV.

Alan Hansen

Rosenthal, Rush, Whelan, Hansen and Barnes (from left to right) after winning the league in 1990
Rosenthal, Rush, Whelan, Hansen and Barnes (from left to right) after winning the league in 1990

Retired in March 1991 after injury prevented him playing at all in the post-title season. Hansen then enjoyed a hugely successful post-playing career when he was employed as the BBC’s main football pundit for 22 years – and remains famous for his ‘You can’t win anything with kids’ remark about Manchester United, who went on to lift the title and FA Cup in 1995-96.

Hansen retired from Match of the Day in 2014.

Glenn Hysen

Won the title in his first season at the club, but left in 1993 to return to his Swedish homeland with GAIS after falling out of favour with new manager Graeme Souness.

After hanging up his boots in 1994, the Swede became a reality television star, coach, and football commentator.

Steve McMahon

Midfielder McMahon joined Manchester City 18 months on from the title win and then left to become player-manager at Swindon. Promoted from League Two with Blackpool, with whom he twice won the Football League Trophy, before briefly becoming boss at Perth Glory.

After leaving that role, he became a pundit for ESPN Star Sports in Asia as well as joining the Profitable Group, who tried unsuccessfully to buy Newcastle in 2009.

Ray Houghton

Left Liverpool in 1992 after winning another FA Cup and enjoyed a League Cup triumph with Aston Villa, followed by spells at Crystal Palace, Reading and Stevenage, before becoming a media pundit and he still works for the likes of Sky Sports, RTE, talkSPORT and LFCTV.

Ronnie Whelan

Whelan spent two years at Southend after leaving Liverpool in 1994, some as player-manager. Managed in Greece with Panionios, guiding them to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup-Winners’ Cup, and Cyprus with Olympiakos Nicosia and Apollon Limassol.

After leaving Cyprus, the Irishman became an after-dinner speaker, while also working as a pundit for RTE back in his homeland.

Jan Molby

Survived at Anfield longer than most of his contemporaries, leaving in 1996, but with only one FA Cup to show for his extended stay, to become player-manager at Swansea. Molby won promotion to the Football League in his first season as Kidderminster manager and had brief spell as Hull boss.

Now works for Danish television.

Ronny Rosenthal

After leaving Anfield in 1994, the Israeli played for Tottenham and Watford, before retiring in 1999. Rosenthal stayed in England, becoming a football agent and consultant.

John Barnes

Barnes continued to excel for seven years after the title triumph, winning an FA Cup and League Cup. Was reunited with former team-mate and manager Kenny Dalglish at Newcastle and finished his playing career at Charlton.

Barnes then became head coach of Celtic, with Dalglish as his director of football, and later coached Jamaica and Tranmere.

As well as being a contestant on TV shows such as Strictly Come Dancing and Celebrity Big Brother, Barnes is also a pundit for various media outlets – including Sky Sports – and has also become a high-profile anti-racism campaigner.

Peter Beardsley

Barnes and Beardsley (right) celebrate Liverpool's 1989-90 title win
Barnes and Beardsley (right) celebrate Liverpool’s 1989-90 title win

Following the 1990 trophy lift, Beardsley remained at Anfield for one more season before making the switch to Everton and becoming only the second man after David Johnson to score for both sides in a Merseyside derby.

Returned to Newcastle on their promotion to the Premier League and struck up a brilliant partnership with Andy Cole. Spells at Bolton, Fulham and Hartlepool followed.

Had two coaching jobs in Newcastle’s academy, but was suspended from football for eight months in September 2019.

Ian Rush

Another long-term stayer, Rush moved on to Leeds in 1996 and then Newcastle and Wrexham. Had a season as manager of Chester, but resigned on principle after his assistant was sacked without his knowledge.

Has been a club ambassador for Liverpool since returning to the club in 2010.

Kenny Dalglish

Dalglish (centre) with the 1990 league title
Dalglish (centre) with the 1990 league title

Resigned in February the following season after the emotionally draining 4-4 FA Cup draw with Everton. Returned to management in the second tier with Blackburn in October 1991, eventually leading them to the Premier League title in 1995. Also managed Newcastle and Celtic, before a second spell in charge at Liverpool after replacing Roy Hodgson, winning the League Cup in a controversial reign which saw him defend Luis Suarez in his racism row with Patrice Evra. The Scot was then sacked and replaced by Brendan Rodgers in 2012.

Dalglish, who was given a knighthood in 2018, was made a non-executive director at Liverpool in October 2013, while Anfield’s Centenary Stand was renamed after him in May 2017 and he is reportedly set to hand out the winners’ medals to the players on Wednesday night.

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