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Famous Like Me > Footballer > W > Ronnie Whelan

Profile of Ronnie Whelan on Famous Like Me

Name: Ronnie Whelan  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 25th September 1961
Place of Birth: Dublin
Profession: Footballer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Ronnie Whelan (born 25th September, 1961 in Dublin) was a footballer who was an integral part of the dominant Liverpool side of the 1980s.

Whelan was born into a family of footballers; his father, Ronnie Whelan Senior, was an Irish international and a key member of the successful St Patrick's Athletic side of the late 1950's and early 1960's. Ronnie Junior was a skilful and industrious midfield player, signed for Liverpool from Dublin club Home Farm (a regular source for talented Irish footballers used by Liverpool) in 1979 and made his debut in 1981, scoring a goal in a win over Stoke City.

The following season Whelan took residence on the left side of the Liverpool midfield, ending the Anfield career of Ray Kennedy and also taking over his No.5 shirt. It was a stunning season for Whelan, as he settled effortlessly into first team football and helped Liverpool to another League championship. They also retained the League Cup with victory over Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley - Whelan scoring twice in the 3-1 win. He ended a glorious first full campaign by winning the Young Player Of The Year award, voted for by his fellow professionals.

In 1983, Liverpool retained these two trophies and Whelan again scored in the League Cup final, curling a superb long-range shot into the Manchester United net in extra-time to seal a 2-1 win. Whelan then played a major role in Liverpool's excellent treble of League title, League Cup and European Cup of 1984, although he was hampered by injury for a portion of this season.

Liverpool's trophyless season, culminating in the disaster at Heysel, in 1985 was quickly followed by another memorable campaign for Whelan and Liverpool. Now under the management of Kenny Dalglish, Liverpool clinched another League title and then added the FA Cup, with Whelan setting up two of the goals in a 3-1 victory over Merseyside rivals Everton. It was only the third League and FA Cup "double" of the 20th century.

As if to counter this huge success, Liverpool ended the 1987 trophyless, losing the League Cup final to Arsenal. The following year, Whelan switched to a central role following the arrival of England winger John Barnes at Anfield. The season saw Liverpool play some of the best football ever seen as they coasted to the title and FA Cup final, but Whelan missed out. He suffered an injury early in the season and though he recovered, replacement Nigel Spackman played so well in his place that Dalglish kept him in the team on Whelan's return to fitness. Whelan's name and profile was even left out of the official match programme at Wembley for the FA Cup final against Wimbledon, which Liverpool surprisingly lost 1-0.

By now, Whelan was a regular for the Republic of Ireland side and was part of the side which qualified for the European Championships. He was in the team which memorably beat England 1-0, and he then scored a spectacular long-range goal in a draw with the USSR. Defeat in the final group game against eventual champions the Netherlands in the final group game eliminated Ireland from the competition.

An injury to club captain Alan Hansen meant that Whelan spent much of the following season as captain of Liverpool, a role he relished as the club progressed to another challenge for a "double". Then the Hillsborough disaster happened, and Whelan found that his leadership qualities and strength were needed for an entirely different reason.

When Hansen recovered, Whelan was allowed to maintain the captaincy for continuity purposes and it was he who lifted the FA Cup after a 3-2 win over Everton. However, he missed the chance to do the same with the League title, with Arsenal taking the championship thanks to a last-minute goal from Michael Thomas.

Liverpool won the League again in 1990 but Whelan's role in the side was diminishing, mainly through a spate of injuries. He stayed at Liverpool until 1994 but an example of his bad luck came in 1992 when he scored the crucial equaliser against Portsmouth in the FA Cup semi-final, forcing a replay which Liverpool won on penalties, but missed the final against Sunderland, in which Liverpool triumphed 2-0, because of injury.

On his departure from Anfield, Whelan became manager of Southend United and also worked with clubs in Greece and Cyprus. He now works on the after-dinner circuit and does a spot of punditry.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Ronnie Whelan