Kenny Dalglish & knighthood: Why do Liverpool fans insist on calling him 'King' and not 'Sir'?

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Kenny Dalglish has finally received his knighthood, but to Liverpool fans, the only title he will hold in their eyes is that of a 'king'

Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish was recently knighted by Prince Charles, and for some people, they would have felt that it was an honour that should have been done a long while ago.

To most Liverpool fans, however, they will refuse to view Dalglish as a knight – and prefer to keep calling him 'King Kenny', their own title that they honoured him with.

But why has Dalglish been knighted, and why do Liverpool fans insist on calling him a 'king' and not a 'knight'? Goal takes a look.


Why and when was Kenny Dalglish knighted?


Kenny Dalglish knighthood 2018

Dalglish was knighted on Friday, November 16 at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace by Prince Charles to honour his "services to football, charity and the city of Liverpool".

As a player, Sir Kenny has been remembered as one of the greatest players to have played for Liverpool, and was part of the club's most successful team in history – having won three European Cups in seven years, six league titles and one UEFA Super Cup.

Sir Kenny went on to successfully manage both Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers in his coaching career, leading the Reds to three First Division championships and an FA Cup and guiding Blackburn from the Second Division to Premier League winners in 1995.

Following the aftermath of the Hillsborough tragedy that involved the passing of 96 Liverpool fans, Sir Kenny was commended for his support and dedication for the victims' families, and he and his wife Marina raised more than £10m for charity.

After managerial spells with Newcastle and Celtic, Sir Kenny turned his attention to charitable causes and founded The Marina Dalglish Appeal in 2004 to raise money for cancer care, including a replay of the 1986 FA Cup Final.

The Scotsman returned to manage Liverpool in 2010 following the dismissal of Roy Hodgson, and led the Reds to a Carling Cup title in 2012. A stand at Anfield has since been dedicated and named after him in 2017, and he continues to be a prominent figure of the club to this day.

Speaking of the families following the ceremony, Sir Kenny told reporters: "They were fantastically supportive of the football club and at that instance it was important for us to turn supporter.

"They needed a bit of help, we wanted to help them, and I'm sure they would have done the same for us - I think that's what life is all about."

He continued to add that he was “humbled” to receive a knighthood for his achievements.

"You feel humble. When you start off in your life, what do you want? You just want to play football,” he continued.

"And when you play football, what do you want to do? You want to try and be successful, be a professional footballer, try and win something."


Why is Kenny Dalglish called 'The King'?


Graeme Souness Kenny Dalglish Alan Hanse Liverpool

Sir Kenny's years playing for and coaching Liverpool were among the club's most successful periods, and for his achievements – as well as his 169 club goals in 502 appearances – he was affectionately given the title as 'King Kenny' by Reds supporters to acknowledge his status as royalty when donning the red shirt.

But Liverpool fans will be adamant that as far as they concerned, the only title that Dalglish holds is that of a 'King' and not a 'Knight', as most Scousers have a difficult relationship with the English monarchy.

For the majority of native Merseysiders, it would not feel right for them to refer to their most beloved player as a knight as decreed by an establishment who were so broadly criticised for their response to the Hillsborough disaster.

While the committee that draws up the Honours List is entirely separate from the Government, their assessments are submitted to the Queen through Prime Minister Theresa May, and Liverpool fans would feel that Dalglish is not in need of a stamp of approval from them.

Former Beatle John Lennon famously rejected his knighthood in 1969 as an act of protest against the Vietnam War.


What does 'Scouse not English' mean?


Liverpool fans 2018

Liverpool fans – and natives – have long held a massive degree of apathy and detachment towards the England national team and the rest of England itself.

Scousers have long held a feeling of indifference towards the England national team, despite many of their own players in Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen and more recently Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold featuring prominently for the side.

There has been a distance between Scousers and England that has gone back decades, beginning with Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government in the 1980s. 

Liverpool City Council sour battles with Thatcher's government have been ingrained within the city until this day, when the former Primer Minister had planned to put Liverpool into a period of managed decline following the Toxteth riots in 1981 – with various ministers urging Thatcher not to 'waste' public money on the 'stony ground' of Merseyside.

That's not to mention the abhorrent and controversial manner in which establishments such as the Sun and other UK tabloids had covered the Hillsborough disaster, wrongly smearing Liverpool fans as hooligans in the tragedy and directing all the blame at the victims who passed away.

To this day, Liverpool has been a largely Labour-strong city and natives view themselves as separate to the rest of England due to their political and socialist views, cementing the its status as a socialist stronghold. Additionally, the Museum of Liverpool has one half of a floor dedicated to a wing titled ‘The People’s Republic’ Gallery.

The club and city's working-class status has also prompted rival rans to sing songs about unemployment and benefits, which have pitted the divide between city and nation even further.


Who else from Liverpool has been knighted?


Although Liverpool is the most decorated side in England, there has been a lack of personal honours to have graced Merseyside.

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Sir Kenny is the first former Liverpool player to have been honoured with a knighthood, and so far, there have only been 11 men (including Sir Kenny) knighted for their footballing contributions.

Five of them, excluding Sir Kenny, were former players: Stanley Matthews (the only player to be knighted while still an active professional); Bobby Charlton; Tom Finney; Geoff Hurst and Trevor Brooking, and the other five of them managers: Alf Ramsey; Matt Busby; Walter Winterbottom; Alex Ferguson and Bobby Robson.

The Kop did call Roger Hunt 'Sir Roger', but that title was only reserved for the Anfield pitch and he was never officially honoured.

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