FORMER Liverpool and France manager Gerard Houllier has died, according to French media.
The 73-year-old, who also managed Aston Villa, Olympique Lyonnais and Paris St Germain, passed away after having a heart operation in Paris, L’Equipe said.
Former England striker Michael Owen, who played under Houllier at Liverpool, wrote on Twitter: “Absolutely heartbroken to hear that my old boss, Gérard Houllier, has sadly passed away. A great manager and a genuinely caring man.”
The Frenchman can be considered one of the most influential figures in Liverpool’s modern history, bringing the club into a new era in terms of facilities and ethics on and off the pitch.
He was hugely successful, too, leading the Reds to six trophies, including an FA Cup, UEFA Cup and League Cup treble in 2000/01, followed by UEFA Super Cup and Charity Shield triumphs later in 2001 and another League Cup in 2003.
Following his departure in 2004, he managed Lyon and Aston Villa, between those spells serving as a director of football for the French Football Federation – holding a similar position with Red Bull until his sad passing.
Houllier’s death was widely reported in his native France on Monday morning, with Liverpool supporters and football figures alike taking to social media to pay tribute to a legend. – Sky / Goal ■