Jamie Carragher and Michael Owen led the tributes for French football manager Gerard Houllier, who has tragically passed away at the age of 73.
The former Liverpool boss, who guided the Reds to the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup treble in 2001, had a long history of medical problems and died three weeks after having aortic aneurysm surgery in Paris.
Ex-Reds centre back Carragher, who played under Houllier for six years, led the waves of tributes, saying: ‘Absolutely devastated by the news about Gerard Houllier, I was in touch with him only last month to arrange him coming to Liverpool. Loved that man to bits, he changed me as a person & as a player & got back winning trophies. RIP Boss.’
Former Liverpool and Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier has sadly died at the age of 73
He led Liverpool to a unique treble in 2000-01, winning the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup
Ex-Liverpool centre back Jamie Carragher was ‘devastated’ by the news of Houllier’s death
Owen, who enjoyed the best years of his career under the Frenchman, said: ‘Absolutely heartbroken to hear that my old boss, Gérard Houllier, has sadly passed away. A great manager and a genuinely caring man. #RIPBoss’
French radio station RMC sport and sports newspaper L’Equipe have reported Houllier died after having a heart operation in Paris.
Liverpool FC tweeted from their account: ‘We are mourning the passing of our treble-winning manager, Gerard Houllier.
‘The thoughts of everyone at Liverpool Football Club are with Gerard’s family and many friends. Rest in peace, Gerard Houllier 1947-2020.’
Michael Owen was ‘heartbroken’ to learn of his former boss at Liverpool Houllier’s death
Houllier arrived at Liverpool in the summer of 1998, initially as joint-manager with Roy Evans before taking sole charge just four months later.
He oversaw a major rebuilding of the squad, signing the likes of Sami Hyypia, Dietmar Hamann and Vladimir Spicer, and bringing through Owen, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher from the youth-system into the first-team.
Aston Villa, whom Houllier managed from September 2010 to June 2011, said: ‘All at Aston Villa are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Gérard Houllier, our manager during the 2010/11 season.
‘Our thoughts are with Gérard’s loved ones at this incredibly difficult time.’
Gary Lineker was among the first people to speak of their sadness at Houllier’s passing
Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker was also among the first to tweet his sympathies, posting: ‘Oh no! Gerard Houllier has passed away. One of football’s smartest, warmest and loveliest people. #RIPGerard’.
Phil Thompson, who was Houllier’s assistant at Liverpool from 1998-2004, said: ‘Absolutely devastated and heartbroken at the sad news of the passing of Gerard. My mate, my colleague, my boss.
‘One of the greatest moments of my life was when we come together in 1998. Just to be in his company was an absolute treat. So loyal, so passionate and extremely fierce.
Phil Thompson was Houllier’s assistant at Liverpool and spoke of his ‘heartbreak’ at the news
‘So many wonderful times, bringing smiles back to peoples faces. 2001 should never be forgotten. Since we finished, at the end of every conversation we had, I told him I loved him and would always be grateful for him giving a wonderful partnership. RIP Boss.
Ex-England striker Darren Bent, who played under Houllier at Villa, also paid his respects: ‘R.I.P Boss. You will be missed.
‘Could not speak highly enough of you, not just as a manager but as a person as well. Taught me to see things differently. Condolences to the Houllier family.’
Darren Bent, who played under Houllier at Aston Villa, also paid his respects on social media