As everyone was winding down after the festive period and the new years celebrations another death of another footballing great occurred. Just over a month after the tragic passing of Gary Speed another Gary lost his life on the 1st day of the new year, generally a happy time for many.
Gary Ablett was just 46 when he lost his battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. His career took him to both sides of the Mersey playing for Liverpool and Everton, starting his career at Anfield in 1985 making over 100 appearances in 7 years with two loan spells at Derby County and Hull in that period. He made his debut for Liverpool in a 0-0 away fixture at Charlton Athletic in 1986 and during the 6 games he played that season he scored his only goal for the Reds in a 3-0 victory over Nottingham Forest at Anfield. He played in consecutive FA Cup Finals in 1988 and 1989 losing the first 1-0 to Wimbledon but winning second time around in a 3-2 win over what was to be his next employers Everton, as well as winning the League in ’88 and ’90.
The defender switched allegiances in 1992 when he joined the Blue side of Liverpool for £750,000. In his four year stint at Everton he played 156 times scoring on 6 occasions. He also won the FA Cup 1995 when the Toffees beat Manchester United 1-0.
After a short loan spell with Sheffield United Ablett joined Birmingham City for £390,000 in 1996. Three years at St Andrews (124 appearances) and a short loan spell with Wycombe saw him move to Blackpool in 2000 where he played only a handful of games for the Seasiders.
His playing days came to an end in 2001 and in 2002 he joined the coaching team at Everton, coaching the Under 17 side until he left to become reserve team manager at Liverpool in 2006. He won the Premier Reserve League in 2008 with the Reds and in 2009 filled the vacant position as Manager of Stockport County during the 2009-10 season. However his season wasn’t to be as successful as his time with Liverpool reserves and Stockport only managed 5 league wins all season in League One and Ablett’s contract was to only last the one year before he was replaced by Paul Simpson.
His last coaching role was to be with Ipswich in 2010 before he was diagnosed with
non-Hodgkins lymphoma and his untimely death this year.
Sorry for the delay of this article but I was trying to find the right things to say about a great man.
Nathaniel Holland- (twitter- @natholland1)