Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
He started his career as an apprentice at Tottenham Hotspur under Bill Nicholson but grew impatient at his lack of first team chances even though he was only a teenager, famously telling Nicholson that he thought he was the best player at the club and should be in the first team.
Souness had played just once for Spurs prior to a move to Middlesbrough in 1973 and he became a much-admired and feared, hard-as-nails midfielder who led a strong side over five seasons. In 1974, he won his first cap for Scotland in a 3-0 victory over East Germany.
After winning their first European Cup in 1977, Liverpool decided to seek reinforcements for defending their crown, not to mention the League title they'd also just won, and three Scottish players in their 20s were all purchased by manager Bob Paisley over the next six months. First came Alan Hansen, then Kenny Dalglish, and then finally Souness, who cost 350,000 pounds in January 1978. These three would supply a superb spine in the side for seven glory-filled campaigns to come.
Souness settled in at Anfield quickly as Liverpool stoutly defender their European crown. He didn't feature in their European campaign until the semi-final, but was instrumental in the final at Wembley when his delicate pass set up Dalglish for the only goal of the game against FC Bruges.
That summer, Souness was selected by Ally McLeod for Scotland's squad for the World Cup in Argentina. He had only won six caps by this stage and injury robbed of him of a place in Scotland's first two group games against Peru and Iran. With a defeat and a draw in his absence, his return was crucial as Scotland chased a victory by two goals or more in their final group match against the Netherlands but a 3-2 victory turned out not to be enough.
The following year Souness picked up his first League title medal as Liverpool coasted to victory and then retained it with equal aplomb in 1980. In 1981, Liverpool lost their League title to Aston Villa but won their first League Cup and their third European Cup with victory over Real Madrid; Souness scored a hat-trick in the quarter-final against CSKA Sofia.
Paisley decided to move the captaincy that summer and, much to incumbent Phil Thompson's disappointment, he lost the armband to Souness, who duly lifted two trophies the following summer as Liverpool got the League championship back and regained the League Cup. Souness went to the 1982 World Cup in Spain with Scotland and played in all three group games - versus New Zealand, Brazil and the USSR. He scored his first international goal in the game against the USSR but again Scotland failed to progress.
The following year Liverpool again won the League championship and League Cup but Souness relinquished his right as captain to lift the League Cup at Wembley after the 2-1 win over Manchester United, instead insisting that Paisley collected the trophy in his retirement season.
In 1984, Souness lifted three trophies as Liverpool retained the League title and won the League Cup against fierce Merseyside rivals Everton. A goalless first game was followed by a 1-0 win in the replay, with Souness hitting the only goal with a fabulous long-range strike. The European Cup was regained after a penalty shoot-out win over AS Roma before Souness, who had publicly expressed his wish to play abroad, was sold to Sampdoria for 650,000 pounds. His Liverpool career ended after 358 appearances and 56 goals.
Souness stayed in Italy for two seasons and wound down his international career at the same time as his flirtation with continental football. Caretaker manager Alex Ferguson put Souness in his squad for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico and Souness played in two of the group games against Denmark and West Germany, both of which Scotland lost, again resulting in an early exit. Souness had crucially been unfit for the game against Uruguay, a team whose tactics relied almost entirely on kicking the opposition as much as the ball - many feel that Souness' own reputation as a hard player may have helped Scotland's cause. That said, others felt his absence was a good thing as his temperament may have got the better of him in such volatile circumstances.
Souness had scored the only goal of the game in a tremendous Scotland win over England just before that World Cup - two caps later and his international career was over after 54 appearances and four goals in almost 12 years.
He joined Rangers as player-manager for the 1987 season and the occasional bad challenge on opponents - something which Paisley had managed to restrict from him during his Liverpool days - immediately began to surface. He was sent off on his debut after two crude challenges and received a handful more red cards in what turned out to be his last season as a player.
His other memorable activity at Rangers was his opening of the floodgates with signing non-Scottish players. He bought many Englishmen on the grounds that good players were the first requirement of a team wishing to succeed, irrespective of nationality. Scottish players had long decamped south of the border to ply their trade but English players had rarely gone north until Souness arrived at Rangers.
Souness bought defender Terry Butcher from Ipswich Town to skipper the side and added goalkeeper Chris Woods and other English players. His most controversial signing was, however, a Scot - Mo Johnston was a skilful and admired striker but also a Catholic. Johnston was also a Celtic fan and ex-player of Rangers' Catholic-connected rivals, but settled in at Rangers, despite hostility from supporters of Celtic and scored plenty of goals.
The four years which followed were eventful for Souness. There was some success on the field, with victory in the 1992 FA Cup final over Sunderland, but also some ill-judged tactics and transfer dealings and personal crises.
Souness had major heart surgery in 1992 and led his players out at Wembley for the FA Cup final just days after leaving hospital. But there had been controversy over the semi-final against Portsmouth.
The game itself went to a replay and then a penalty shoot-out, and in the event of a victory, an interview was due to be published in a newspaper with Souness celebrating the win and his own successful surgery. The photograph which accompanied the interview was of Souness, in his hospital ward, kissing his girlfriend with joy at his own recovery and his team's win.
The interview was due to go in alongside the match report on April 14 1992 but the late end to the game meant that the deadline for publication was missed and the report, with interview and photograph, went in on the April 15 instead - the third anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. Liverpool fans reacted with fury after seeing a picture of their ecstatic manager kissing his girlfriend and smiling on the day that they were remembering the 96 supporters who had died at Hillsborough. They were also angry that the interview was conducted with The Sun - a newspaper which had been so vengeful towards Liverpool supporters after the disaster had occurred in 1989 and had been boycotted on Merseyside since. Souness, who apologised profusely at the time, has since said he should have resigned.
He made a full recovery from his heart operation and stayed at Liverpool until 1994. He quit after an FA Cup defeat against Bristol City and was replaced by Roy Evans. He went to manage Galatasaray in Turkey and again managed to court controversy with local issues and politics - placing a Galatasary flag into the centre circle of the pitch of hated rivals Fenerbahce after Galatasaray had beaten them in the Turkish Cup final.
Souness then returned to England to manage Southampton but resigned, citing differences with chairman Rupert Lowe. He went back to Italy to become the coach at Torino but lasted just four months; then he went to Portugal to manage Benfica , which also didn't last.
He then became manager of Blackburn Rovers, earning promotion back to the Premiership in his first season and winning the League Cup in 2002. Souness left Blackburn in 2004 to become manager of Newcastle United and he remains in this job. He also frequently appears on Sky Sports as a pundit.
In 1985, Souness wrote an autobiography called No Half Measures. In 1999 he wrote another book chronicling his post-playing career up to and including his spell at Southampton, entitled Souness: The Management Years.
Souness has a daughter, Lauren.
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