GRAEME Souness took up his position as Team Manager at Newcastle United on 13 September 2004, a week after resigning as Manager of Blackburn Rovers.
The Edinburgh-born midfielder began his career in London with Tottenham Hotspur, signing professional terms as a 15-year-old in 1968 but he struggled to make any progress at White Hart Lane and eventually, after receiving advice from Spurs legend Jimmy Greaves, decided to move on. A move to Middlesbrough was mooted and Graeme moved to Teesside in 1972. A year later he finally made his Football League debut at Fulham, quickly establishing himself as a hero at Ayresome Park. Souness also made the first of his 54 Scotland appearances in 1975, beginning an international career that would take in three World Cup Final tournaments.
Graeme's most successful spell as a player though came with a £350,000 transfer to Liverpool in 1978 where he became part of the Liverpool side that was dominant throughout the eighties, winning the championship five times, three European Cups medals and four League Cup medals. Souness was the archetypal dominant midfielder, fearsome in the tackle, great passer, a leader of men and scorer of some terrific goals. He was one of Bob Paisley's majestic trio of Scottish captures, with Kenny Dalglish and Alan Hansen and when only five months into his Anfield career, he supplied the pass at Wembley for his room-mate Dalglish to score the goal that beat Bruges to retain the European Cup. In general during his Anfield career the Scotland captain responded brilliantly to Paisley's demand to curb his explosive temperament and he became a midfielder of immense stature.
After six years on Merseyside, culminating in the 1984 European Cup triumph, Souness moved to Italy for £650,000 to spend two years with Sampdoria, before returning home to Scotland when Rangers paid £300,000 to make him their player/manager in April 1986. Once in Glasgow Souness soon got to grips with the job in hand, wrestling control of Scottish football back from the hands of Celtic to make Ibrox the home of the SPL title once more.Souness signed Maurice Johnston to make him the first Catholic to ever play for the protestant club and such is the level of sectarianism between the old firm clubs, Souness actually received death threats whilst at Ibrox despite winning the SPL title on four occasions as well as winning the League Cup four times.
In April 1991, Liverpool began looking for a replacement for Kenny Dalglish and Souness was linked with the role immediately. With the club's policy of appointment from the 'bootroom' high on the agenda, Graeme soon made the switch to Anfield where after two decades of unparalled success, he faced a transitional period on Merseyside. Sadly, early in 1992, he suffered a heart attack, which required a life-saving triple bypass operation and though many believed he would never return to management, remarkably, he was back in the dugout for the FA Cup final just weeks later to witness his side beat Sunderland and lift the trophy, his only real success of his time with Liverpool. The Reds only finished sixth in his first two seasons at the helm after years of challenging for the title and after the club endured their worst start to a season for 30 years in 1993/94, Souness resigned in January.
Souness then spent a period of time out of the game to recuperate and re-charge his batteries before choosing the unlikely but intimidating surroundings of the Ali Sami Yen stadium and Galatasaray. He failed to win the Turkish title in his first season at the helm, which inevitably led to the sack, but he certainly left his mark. Galatasaray won the Turkish FA Cup that season, but in the second leg of the final against arch-rivals Fenerbahce, at their Sukru Saracoglu ground, Souness, following the final whistle, marched into the centre circle and planted a huge Galatasaray flag into the turf almost causing a full scale riot. Souness was dismissed at the end of the season - you simply cannot afford to finish second in the table in Turkey - but he soon resurfaced back in England with Southampton.
The Saints had been perennial strugglers in the Premiership for some time and after finishing two places above the drop zone, a disillusioned Souness resigned at the end of the season in June 1997. Another move abroad followed and Graeme returned to Italy in 1997 with Torino, but it was a disastrous move and he was sacked after just six games at the helm. The next port of call would be Portugal and Benfica just a few weeks later, but again failure to mount a serious challenge for the title would cost him his job after just two seasons and a third place finish.
A return to England beckoned in March 2000 when he was appointed as manager of First Division club Blackburn Rovers in succession to Tony Parkes. Souness' influence on the club was almost immediate, and the 1995 Premiership Champions returned to the top flight in 2001 - the manager's first full season in charge - after finishing as runners-up to Fulham. By bringing through some exciting young talent in David Dunn, Damien Duff and Matt Jansen, Souness had developed an exciting young squad capable of holding its own in the top flight and a winning one too, they earned a return to European action after victory in the Worthington Cup final at the Millennium Stadium after Rovers beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1, with goals from Jansen and Andy Cole. The 2002/03 season would prove to be equally successful for the Ewood Park club. Rovers pipped Everton to sixth place on the final day of the season to take the final place in the UEFA Cup. 2003/04 was more traumatic for Souness, and after a winless start to the 2004/05 campaign, he resigned from his post at Ewood Park on 6 September as United came knocking in search of a replacement for Sir Bobby Robson.
Graeme guided Newcastle to the semi final of the FA Cup and the quarter final of the UEFA Cup, but after 18 months at St. James' Park, he left the club following a 3-0 defeat at Manchester City in February 2006.
BORN: Edinburgh, Scotland, 6 May 1953
PLAYING CAREER: Tottenham Hotspur (May 1970 - December 1972), Middlesbrough (December 1972 - January 1978), Liverpool (January 1978 - June 1984), Sampdoria (June 1984 June 1986), Rangers (June 1986 - April 1991) (player/manager then manager).
MANAGEMENT CAREER:Rangers (June 1986 - April 1991), Liverpool (April 1991 - January 1994), Galatasaray (June 1995 - June 1996), Southampton (July 1996 - August 1997), Torino (August 1997 - September 1997), Benfica (November 1997 - June 1999), Blackburn Rovers (March 2000 - September 2004)
As player: First Division Championship 1978/79, 1979/80, 1981/82, 1982/83 & 1983/84, League Cup 1981, 1982, 1983 & 1984, European Cup 1978, 1981 & 1984, Charity Shield 1979, 1980 & 1982, Italian Cup 1985
As manager: FA Cup: 1992; League Cup: 2002; Scottish Premier League: 1990, 1989, 1987; 1991 Scottish League Cup: 1991, 1989, 1988, 1987; Turkish FA Cup: 1996