Player  -  Gary Gillespie  1983 - 1991

  Gary Thompson Gillespie:  Defender
  Date of Birth:  05.07.1960
  With the Reds:  1983-1991
  Height:  6' 2 (1.88 m)
  Bought from:  Coventry City
  Signed for LFC:  J325,000 - 08.07.1983
  Debut:  07.02.1984 (Aged 23)
  Last match:  04.05.1991
  Debut goal:  20.04.1985
  1st team league games:  156  (4 as sub)
  1st team league goals:  14
  Total 1st team games:  214  (7 as sub)
  Total 1st team goals:  16
  Contract expiry:  15.08.1991, transfered to Celtic for 925,000 pounds
  International caps:  13  Scotland
  International goals: 
  International debut:  14.10.1987 vs. Belgium
  Former clubs:  Falkirk (1975-78), Coventry City (1978-83), Celtic (1991-94), Coventry City (1994-95)
  Birth Place:  Stirling, Scotland
  Honours:  3 Division One Championship 1985-86, 1987-88, 1989-90; 1 FA Cup 1985-86, 1 Screen Sport Super Cup 1985-86, 2 Central League Championships 1983-84, 1984-85

  Runners up: 
  Personal Honours:

  Total LFC games/goals

League FA Cup FL Cup Europe Other Total
Seasons App Gls App Gls App Gls App Gls App Gls App Gls
1983-84 1 1
1984-85 10/2 1 3/1 3 3/1 1 20/4 1
1985-86 14 3 5 2 2/1 23/1 3
1986-87 37 3 9 2 51 4
1987-88 35 4 5 2 42
1988-89 15 1 2 1 1 3 21 2
1989-90 11/2 4 1/1 1 13/3 4
1990-91 30 1 2 3 1 35 1
Total 152/4 14 21/2 22 2 3/1 9 197/7 16

  A more detailed look at the player's appearances

  Total   started/substitutions   Total   Competition
  205   Started   156   League
  28   On the bench   23   FA Cup
  9   Substitute   22   League Cup
  19   Substituted   5   Screen Sport Super Cup
  3   European Cup
  2   Centenary Trophy
  1   Charity Shield
  1   European Super Cup
  1   World Club Championship

  Career Milestones for Gary Gillespie:

  Appearances in all competitions

Date Against Result Venue Competition
1 07.02.1984   Walsall 2-2   Anfield League Cup
50 23.08.1986   Newcastle U 2-0   St James Park League
100 09.05.1987   Chelsea 3-3   Stamford Bridge League
150 24.09.1988   Southampton 3--1   The Dell League
200 26.12.1990   QPR 0-0   Loftus Road League

  Goals in all competitions

Date Min Against Result Venue Competition
1 20.04.1985 69   Newcastle U 3-1   Anfield League


Seasons Player №
- -
  * Note, Since the 1993-94 season players have a fixed number.

   Total LFC games/goals for Reserves

League LS Cup Total
Seasons App Gls App Gls App Gls
1983-84 27 1 27 1
1984-85 15 1 15 1
1985-86 5 5
1986-87 1 1
1988-89 2 2
1989-90 4 4
1990-91 2 1 2 1
Total 56 3 56 3


  - b - on bench


  Gary Gillespie became Falkirk's captain at only 17, the youngest ever skipper in Scottish history.

  He had played six years at Coventry, making around 200 appearances when his contract ran out in 1983. He had already had talks with Arsenal, when he was informed that Liverpool were interested in securing his services.

Joe Fagan's first signing had his work cut out for him to split up the successful Lawrenson and Hansen partnership in the centre of defence.

  Gillespie was a graceful centre-half, who accomplished in his longest run in the side from 1986-1988, to force Dalglish to move a fully-fit Lawrenson to full-back to accomodate the Scotsman alongside compatriot Hansen. However, occasionally, the trio would form a central defensive unit.

  Injuries restricted the number of appearances from 1988-1990, but he played 35 matches in Dalglish's final season in 1990-91.

Gillespie joined his boyhood idols Celtic in 1991 and stayed there for three years until he joined Phil Neal's Coventry and later secured a coaching position at the club.

  © Copyright of Official Site Liverpool FC

  GARY GILLESPIE 2 nd July 1983

  The second in our series of profiles of Liverpool's Summer signings

  Joe Fagan hadn't had a chequebook in his hands for 24 hours when he splashed out 325,000 pounds on Gary Gillespie. The Liverpool manager took office on July 1st, and signed Gary from Coventry City the next day.

  "I hardly had time to be surprised," the Scottish central-defender recalls. "I knew I was leaving Highfield Road, just about everybody was. But a number of clubs like Arsenal, Luton and West Brom seemed to be showing more interest than Liverpool."

  But Gary was soon to learn that it's not the Anfield style to conduct their transfer business in public. On the face of it, they were not short of players in his position — Alan Hansen, Mark Laurenson, Phil Thompson and young John McGregor are all firmly established in the first-team squad.

  "I knew it was up to me to prove that I am good enough, and that I might have to wait for the opportunity. There are established internationals ahead of me in the queue, and I was well aware when I signed that it was going to be difficult to shift any of them."

  "I would have stood a better chance OT first team football at Highbury for instance. But I'm ambitious towin things and Liverpool's record in that respect is proven. They pick up honours every season. Arsenal could finish the campaign with a trophy, but I believe Liverpool stand a much better chance."

  Gary actually had talks with Gunners' manager, Terry Neill and West Brom's Ron Wylie, who was instrumental in taking him to Coventry in the first place. But then the champions arrived on the scene.

  "It came out of the blue. We had just got back from a tour to Zimbabwe and I'd gone out on the golf course after training. But once I'd been told that Liverpool were interested, I was up on Merseyside like a shot."

  Gary's transfer, three days before his 24th birthday, represented another giant step for a player who has become used to getting thrown in at the deep end. He captained his club side in Scotland at the age of 17!

  "I wasn't a particularly outstanding schoolboy player — certainly not international standard. But I played in a good team and Falkirk, my local club, took a chance on me when I was 14. They were full-time then, but things changed soon afterwards, and going to training on a Tuesday and a Thursday night I was mixing with first-teamers."

  "I'd no sooner left school than I was in the Falkirk team myself. Oddly enough my old English teacher Billy Little was the manager who picked me, and after half-a-dozen games he made me captain. It maybe wasn't the honour it seems. I was just about the only player in the side who was at all certain of his place."

Gary only made 15 appearances for Falkirk before the Scottish spy network had English Scouts and managers rolling over the border ready to make their bids.

  "I gather West Brom had an offer rejected before Coventry came up with

  45,000 pounds plus another thirty if I was to play ten games in the First Division. I met Gordon Milne and Ron Wylie in the North British Hotel at Glasgow and agreed to sing."

  That was in March 1978 and within six months City had happily paid their supplementary fee as Gary started to forge a central defensive partnership with former Manchester United hard-man, Jim Holton.

  "We came up against Liverpool quite early that season when they were the league leaders and we were second. Kenny Dalglish had always been my idol, and I told Big Jim how much I admired him, and asked Jim to tell Kenny if he got a chance."

  "After the game I saw them talking together and as soon as we had left, I collared Jim to see if he'd mentioned me to Kenny. He said I told him you thought he was the greatest'. And what did Kenny say to that, I inquired. 'He thinks you're a good judge', came Jim's reply."

  "Playing against Kenny has always been an education. You can't afford to get too close to him because he uses his body so well to turn you, and yet you can't afford to let him have much space either. I hope that marking him is not a problem I ever have to put up with again."

  Gary put up the shutters on Liverpool quite a few times at Highfield Road, although he admits to taking one or two good hidings at Anfield. But it was a lack of ambition rather than a lack of ability which soured his feelings for Coventry.

  "I had seen one good team broken up at Highfield Road. The side I first came into with the likes of Mick Ferguson, Ian Wallace, Tommy Hutchin-son, Terry Yorath, Jim Holton, Bobby McDonald and Jim Blyth might have achieved a little bit more had it stayed together."

  "Last season the same dismantling job started all over again. And when Dave Sexton was forced into selling Garry Thompson when we were 5th in the league, it was the last straw for one or two of us."

  In fact, Mark Hateley, Les Sealey, Danny Thomas, Steve Whitton and Paul Dyson have all joined the exodus in the last six months.

  "It's unfortunate that a lot of players went at the same time, but I think we felt we had achieved about as much as we could with the club, and that perhaps we had been there too long and needed a clean break to better ourselves."

  Gary's move to Anfield has already won him a recall to the international picture. He was chosen, as an over-age player, for the last Scottish Under-21 squad, only to have to with draw through injury.

  He has been living in a Liverpool City centre hotel with his wife Susan and 17-month old son Ryan, and hasn't had his golf clubs out of the cupboard since arriving on Merseyside.

  But the immediate priority is to force his way into a position to show the Kop why Joe Pagan was so keen to sign him.

  "It's a little bit upsetting when you can't get into the first team and do your stuff. But I knew what I was landing myself into when I signed, so I'll just have to roll my sleeves up and got on with it."

  "The boss wouldn't have signed me unless he thought I could be of value to him, and if I'm half as successful as Bob Paisley's fisrt signing, Phil Neal, neigher of us will complain."

  "I stand more chance of being noticed at Liverpool than I did at

  Coventry. After all, Jock Stein regularly visits Anfield to watch the likes of Kenny and Graeme, but I was the only Scotsman at Highfield Road."

  "Nevertheless, I've got to be playing to be noticed too. I haven't had the best of luck with injuries so far. On the pre-season tour I got a first-team chance against Hamburg in Rotterdam and lasted precisely 18 minutes before limping off with a thigh strain."

  "And then no sooner had I received the Under-21 call-up than I was lying on an operating table having my nose straightened after breaking it in two places in the first minute of a reserve team game at Sheffield Wednesday."

  The play-off has at least given Gary the chance to finalise the arrangements for the purchase of a house within a good drive of Royal Birkdale Golf Club, where he intends to spend part of next summer.

  © Copyright of

  Total Gary Gillespie in Scotland games/goals


  1978-82 Scotland U-21  8  (1 goals)

  Update: 06.01.2014
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