Gerard Houllier (middle) with former Red Bulls sporting director Andy Roxbrough in 2014. (Kristian Dyer Photo)
By Michael Lewis
Gerard Houllier, who forged his reputation as a trophy-winning coach at Liverpool and who ran the Red Bull global soccer empire for a few years, has passed away.
He was 73.
Houllier also had say in running the Red Bulls, RB Salzburg and RB Leipzig as the organziation’s head of global football.
He passed away after a heart operation. Houllier had heart problems for several years.
Gérard Houllier was one of the best people I have ever known. He was a dear friend and an incredible supporter of mine, especially in the toughest moments. I will miss you dearly mon ami. Truly special person.
— Jesse Marsch (@jessemarsch) December 14, 2020
The Frenchman earned world-wide fame by directing Liverpool to a 2001 treble in 2001 as the Red captured the FA Cup, English League Cup and UEFA Cup. That highlighted his six-year tenure at the English Premier League club.
Houllier also coach at Aston Villa, Paris St Germain, Lyon and French national team.
“We are mourning the passing of our treble-winning manager, Gerard Houllier,” Liverpool said on Twitter. “The thoughts of everyone at Liverpool Football Club are with Gerard’s family and many friends. Rest in peace, Gerard Houllier 1947-2020.”
#RBLeipzig mourns the loss of Gérard Houllier.
The former manager has passed away at the age of 73. Gerard had been an advisor and friend of RB Leipzig since 2012.
We extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to Gerard's family and friends. pic.twitter.com/cEq3xOdYIv
— RB Leipzig English (@RBLeipzig_EN) December 14, 2020
On the Red Bulls Twitter account, Mark de Grandpre said: “We lost a great soccer mind and even better person with a big heart. We will forever cherish his generosity & the mentorship he provided to our club. RIP, Gérard Houllier. Your #RBNY family will always be grateful for your guidance, support & leadership.”
"We lost a great soccer mind and even better person with a big heart. We will forever cherish his generosity & the mentorship he provided to our club. RIP, Gérard Houllier. Your #RBNY family will always be grateful for your guidance, support & leadership." -Marc de Grandpré pic.twitter.com/z0D6ilT6xY
— Red Bull New York (@NewYorkRedBulls) December 14, 2020
Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson described Houllier as a “great ally” and said his death came as a “total shock.”
One never to hide his thoughts or opinion, Houllier many times told it like it was.
During the summer of 2014, Houllier told Kristian Dyer of BigAppleSoccer.com that he had a sense that Thierry Henry might retire.
“I’ll have a talk with Thierry soon and of course I’ll know. I have an idea, I think he wants to retire,” Houllier told Dyer on July 26, 2014. “I think he wants to retire but we need to check with him. His performance today was good.”
Henry retired after the Red Bulls were eliminated from the MLS Cup Playoffs later that year.